"This new retirement zone of nearly three-quarters of a million acres represents a tremendous potential for expanded conservation in central Idaho," said Travis Bruner, executive director of Western Watersheds Project. "Permanently removing livestock and fences from public lands improves wildlife habitat, increases watershed health, protects soils, and enhances recreational and aesthetic enjoyment of these wild places. We're grateful to Representative Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) for recognizing this win-win solution to ending grazing conflict and enabling such a huge opportunity."
Private foundations including the Sagebrush Habitat Conservation Fund are willing to pay grazing permittees in exchange for their voluntary donation of grazing permits to the land management agencies. This type of payment incentivizes the protection of resources that is achieved by permanent retirement of livestock grazing and can provide a substantial payout for ranchers who desire to give up their public land grazing permits.
"Permanent retirement provides a great benefit to wildlife and critically threatened anadromous fish runs," said Bruner. "Every acre protected from livestock is another acre where wolves don't risk lethal retribution for being carnivores, where native fish can flourish in healthy streams and where elk and deer won't have to compete with cows and sheep for the best forage."
The recent reintroduction of the Rural Economic Vitalization Act (REVA), H.R. 3410, by Reps. Adam Smith (D-WA) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) provides the opportunity to expand voluntary grazing permit retirement across the west.
Read the final Idaho legislation here.
Learn more about REVA here.