The Center for Biological Diversity plans to sue the U.S. Forest Service for failing to keep livestock out of cottonwood-willow forests along the Verde River watershed.
The environmental group says cows are leaving authorized pastures for the riverside, causing “significant” damage to more than 50 miles of river corridor, according to the Sedona Red Rock News. The Verde is one of only two rivers in Arizona designated as Wild and Scenic under the 1968 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. It gives protections to rivers determined to have “outstanding natural, cultural and recreational values in a freeflowing condition.” A limited number of livestock can legally roam most national forests, but are supposed to be fenced out of riparian areas. In a written response to the Center for Biological Diversity in May, the U.S. Forest Service’s Southwestern Region acknowledged the problem and promised to “continue to conduct periodic checks for livestock in the riparian corridor.”