Arizona Public Radio | Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Agreement Reached To Protect Some Southwestern Waterways From Livestock Grazing

Center for Biological Diversity

The Center for Biological Diversity, along with the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have reached an agreement to protect waterways in parts of Arizona and New Mexico from grazing cattle. Today’s announcement comes 20 years after the agencies first promised to keep cows out of riparian habitats to protect endangered plants and animals. Rivers and streams in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico are home to many rare and threatened species, including Chiricahua leopard frogs, southwestern willow flycatchers and narrow-headed garter snakes. The three-year agreement requires the Forest Service to ensure more than 150 miles of streamside habitats in the Apache-Sitgreaves and Gila National Forests will be protected from cattle grazing. A series of surveys conducted in 2017 by the Center for Biological Diversity found widespread, severe damage from livestock on all major waterways in both national forests. In 2020. The Center sued the Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service for violating the Endangered Species Act by allowing cattle to trample rivers and streams.