Nature Noted

Notes on a changing Nature

Location: Bellville, Texas, United States

I never would have predicted this one

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Great Goose Easement

There's a big swath of undeveloped land in southern Oregon that is being considered for a National Refuge status. The area is usually home to cattle and sheep, but a few times a year, it becomes a rest stop for Aleutian Geese. The problem? According to an article in the Ashland Mail Tribune "The New River Bottoms area is considered a critical layover location, possibly the last place the geese stop before returning to the Aleutians in the spring. The geese enjoy grazing among sheep, but they can cause damage to ranchlands and gobble huge swaths of grass meant for sheep and cattle. Ranchers can haze them out, but currently they just run the geese from one property to another. The easements essentially would pay landowners for temporarily housing these geese."This would provide habitat where they’re welcomed," Lowe says.
Rancher Rick McKenzie says he encourages such discussions.
"We have 50,000 geese during the spring these past few years, and they’ve cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars," McKenzie says. "It would be good to come up with some agreement where the geese can live with us, and we can live with the geese.
"I’m all ears," he says."

What's good for the Goose.....etc, etc.
The area sounds beautiful, and it's nice to hear the government wants to work with the landowners to create an area where nature and ranching can co-exist.
National refuge officials are taking comment on the proposed study through July 8. The agency plans to issue documents in October for public review and comment. A decision is expected in January. If created, the refuge boundaries would identify private lands on which the refuge service can negotiate either land sales or conservation easements. In these easements, landowners would get a one-time payment to keep their land available to wildlife. They are the most common agreement for private lands within the coastal refuge system, Lowe says. Each easement is settled individually with willing landowners only, and they remain forever tied to the property. Easements would be purchased as money becomes available, Lowe says. The proposal has generated concern among residents who believe there’s more to this than meets the eye. Lowe says he expects landowners to become more comfortable with the proposal when they look closer into it. "It can be kind of scary to some of them to see the federal government put a line around their property and say, ‘Don’t worry,’ " Lowe says.A national refuge in the New River area would guarantee usable habitat for dozens of species, including federally protected birds such as threatened snowy plovers and endangered California brown pelicans.
Here's a a link to Google's Satellite Map of the area


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