Within the Klamath Mountains and throughout the West one can find large, one-half acre and larger dense stands of willows along streams and over wetlands. Large, dense willow stands shade streams, protect the wetlands beneath and provide breeding habitat for Willow flycatchers, Lazuli buntings, Yellow warblers and other birds. Unfortunately, cattle, elk and deer all find willows delicious food, particularly after the first frosts in the fall. Elk and deer only browse on the edges; but when cattle are allowed unfettered access to these stands they not only browse them from the borders but also push into the stands to get at the wetland grasses and sedges growing under the willows and along streams. Destruction of breeding habitat by grazing cattle is the #1 reason Willow flycatchers are listed as “endangered” pursuant to the California Endangered Species Act.
This 14-page photo-illustrated document reports on the water quality and habitat degradation Project volunteers found in 28 days spent monitoring cattle grazing on 3 national forests during 2015.
Hydrologist Jonathan Rhodes visited the Big Meadows Allotment in the Marble Mountain Wilderness during October 2015. His photo-illustrated report discusses what he found.