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Land Board Gets Environmentalist’s Goat Rejects Token Grazing Proposal In Favor Of More Traditional Usage

The state Land Board has decided that a proposal to put just one goat for one day a year on a state parcel of land near Pocatello is not a valid grazing plan.

With that, the Land Board voted unanimously on Wednesday to reject a lease proposal from Jon Marvel and his Idaho Watersheds Project in favor of ranchers who plan to put the state land to more traditional grazing use.

It was another in a long series of setbacks for Marvel, a Hailey architect, and his environmental group that claims state land and water quality would be improved if the land were not dedicated exclusively to livestock.

Idaho Watersheds Project also lost on another front. Attorney General Alan Lance distributed copies of a ruling on Tuesday by 4th District Judge D. Duff McKee rejecting the group’s appeal on 14 other leases.

McKee said the Idaho Constitution and state law give the Land Board “vast management powers” and the actions fit within that framework of broad discretion.

Idaho Watersheds Project won leases in two other auctions in that case.

The board voted unanimously to reject Marvel’s bid of $1,000 for a 320-acre state parcel just southwest of Hailey and granted Alan Posey a 10-year lease for a premium of $320 per year plus grazing fees. It also favored the lease application of James Katsilometes for a state parcel six miles east of Pocatello in Black Canyon.

Katsilometes bid $501 to the environmentalists’ $525 bid.

In both cases, Marvel’s group was asked to submit a grazing plan and in each case said he would put one to five goats on the parcels for one day per year.

The Land Department staff called that a “token” response to the request for a management plan.

Land Board members said allowing 400 head of sheep in Katsilometes case and 1,000 sheep on the Posey parcel will cut down weeds far more than one goat grazing for one day.

Tags: land use