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Judge approves agreement to protect endangered species from livestock on Verde River

A federal judge has approved an agreement between the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maricopa Audubon Society to protect the Verde River from cattle grazing. The agreement comes more than 20 years after federal agencies first promised to keep cows out of riparian habitats, tributaries and streambanks. It was meant to help protect rare plants and animals along the Verde River corridor. This week’s ruling follows another agreement reached between the agencies in August that will protect more than 150 miles of rivers and streams in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico’s upper Gila River watershed from cattle grazing. The waterways are home to numerous endangered and threatened species.