Beneficiary of “Lop and Scatter?”

A BLM news release dated November 15 describes the hand-thinning of pinyon pine and juniper trees on 539 acres of the public lands in the Kern Mountains, about 50 miles northeast of Ely, NV.

Workers lop the targeted trees and scatter the debris across the treatment area.

Non-targeted species, brush, grasses and forbs are not impacted, according to the announcement.

The effort is part of the Kern Mountains Landscape Restoration Project that will treat up to 12,580 acres of a 15,725-acre project area over several years.

A news release dated December 14 said the trees displace shrubs, grasses and forbs important for wildlife and removing them, combined with seed application, increases food for such animals while reducing the potential for hazardous crown fires.

Kern Mountains Lop and Scatter 11-17-22

The Western Watersheds map shows the area is covered by grazing allotments.

The remarks about wildlife may be a cover story for a concerted effort to boost forage production and further enrich the public-lands ranchers, with taxpayers footing the bill.

The ranchers pay five cents on the dollar for the resource, compared to market rates, and fifty percent of grazing receipts, or $10 million, whichever is greater, is plowed back into the program every year in the form of range improvements.  But it’s not enough.

The nearest HMAs are Triple B, Antelope and Confusion.

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