Cattle Trespass Impacts
Cliven Bundy has no legal authority to graze cattle on federal lands in the Gold Butte area, including Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The U.S. District Court of Nevada has permanently enjoined Cliven Bundy's trespass grazing, ordered him to remove his trespass cattle from public lands inside and outside the former Bunkerville Allotment (including from the Lake Mead NRA) before December 2013, and stated the U.S. is entitled to seize and impound any cattle that have not been removed by the judicially imposed off-date and that remain in trespass. A large number of the trespass cattle on the federal lands are feral cattle that can pose a threat to members of the public recreating or traveling over the federal lands. The trespass cattle have also caused damage to private property, as well as to the federal lands and natural resources.
Examples of Recent Incidents of Private Property Damage Caused by Bundy's Trespass Cattle
- One feral cow was hit by an automobile within Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Cattle are frequently seen on public roads, including State Route 170 and pose a danger to vehicles and to members of the public traveling on public roads.
- Overton Wildlife Refuge (State of Nevada) employee attacked by a Bundy bull.
- Crop destroyed by Bundy cattle on private land.
- Mesquite Heritage Community Garden damaged by trespass cattle.
- Mesquite golf course damaged by trespass cattle.
Examples of Restoration Funding and Viability Impacted
- A $400,000 matching grant to restore Southwest Willow Flycatcher habitat along the Virgin River from the Walton Family Foundation was withdrawn until the trespass cattle have been removed.
- A $160,000 Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act project to restore Southwestern Willow Flycatcher has been delayed until trespass cattle are removed.
- Non-Governmental Organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle.
- The Nevada State Department of Wildlife has built extensive fences to protect state and federal lands protected as the Overton Wildlife Refuge from the trespass cattle.
Examples of Public Concerns
- Residents of the communities of Bunkerville and Mesquite have complained about the impact of cattle on city facilities.
- Within the last month, letters requesting action have also been received from several individuals, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, Friends of Gold Butte and Friends of Joshua Tree Forest.
- The Center for Biological Diversity has demanded action to resolve trespass in designated critical desert tortoise habitat in several letters.
- Western Watersheds has requested a verbal status update and later filed a Freedom of Information Act request.
Examples of Natural and Cultural Resource Damage
- Cattle have crushed artifacts at the "Red Racer" and St. Thomas cultural sites.
- Damage to springs, including fecal contamination, trampling soils and vegetation and impacts to wildlife. Wildlife will avoid springs with large numbers of cattle.
- Damage to springs with sensitive amphibians, including the rare relict leopard frog.
- Multiple instances of vegetation damage to rare plants, including on monitoring plots after extensive wildfires within critical habitat for Desert Tortoise.
- Unauthorized reservoir constructed with bulldozer twice.