Livestock Water Quality Group Helps Ranchers Assess Riparian Areas

Livestock Water Quality Group Helps Ranchers Assess Riparian Areas

There have been accusing form letters sent out to some ranchers in eastern Washington from the Department of Ecology stating that the ranchers' cattle may be or have the potential to pollute riparian areas.

Executive Director of the Washington Agriculture Legal Fund, private attorney and a member of the Livestock Water Quality group Toni Pierson explains what ranchers should do if they receive one of these letters.

Pierson: "When producers receive these letters, we need to have an expert that comes in, looks at the ground and actually makes a scientific determination if there is pollution or if there is a substantial potential to pollute and then takes steps from there forward. That is what we believe is the proper response to the Department of Ecology actions because they have based their letters and their lists off of a very subjective criteria, versus an objective criteria and they've not based them on science."

The Livestock Water Quality is a newly formed organization that can be found on Facebook. They have hired former Oregon State University riparian area expert, John Buckhouse, to help assess riparian areas and to help determine what needs to be done to address any issues.

Pierson says it is important for ranchers not to ignore these DOE form letters.

Pierson: "You need to take action, do not ignore these letters. Ignoring them would be the worse thing you could do.That action needs to be whatever you feel comfortable with."

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