There are a number of parties to the Bundy Standoff, all of them at least somewhat wrong. I'm going to
start with the hidden party, the wealthy friends and campaign donors of Harry Reid. They are hiding
behind the Realty Groups and / or Development Corporations and / or Investment Syndicates that are
buying out the ranches bankrupted by the Bureau Of Land Mismanagement.
(I have no proof of the facts I will allege, simply the knowledge that this is the way these things happen
in America. The proof could probably be found in Clark County Deed Records.)
What Harry Reid's Campaign Donors Want.
The geography of the land surrounding Bundy Ranch tells the tale. East of nearby Bunkerville is the
Mojave Desert and the Virgin Mountains. Desert areas with cloudless sunny days are perfect for solar
energy installations. Desert mountain tops catch high winds and many have no trees to cause the
turbulence that wears out wind turbines. They are perfect for wind energy installations.
Bundy Ranch is in the Virgin River Valley just west of Bunkerville. I viewed the area on Weather Channel
Radar Maps that show colors. Green squares in the Virgin River Valley are farms that irrigate. One of the
green squares must be Bundy Ranch because they have goats and grow melons. Melons in Nevada's
climate would require fairly continuous Irrigation, while pastures and hay fields for goats and cows
would require at least some irrigation. Downriver the Virgin River feeds Lake Mead, so there is a lot of
water for Bunkerville.
West of the Virgin River Valley is Interstate 15, which winds down to Las Vegas about 80 miles away.
Beyond Interstate 15 there are more mountains. It is easy to believe claims that there are many green
energy projects planned for the Bunkerville area.
But green energy projects are planned for desert and mountain areas. They are not what is planned for
the Virgin River Valley. The green energy projects planned for the Bunkerville area will bring in high
end jobs. People with high end jobs and those who want second homes a slight distance from Las
Vegas but with easy access to shows and gambling are natural purchasers for high end homes in the
Virgin River Valley.
High end homes have irrigated landscaping and swimming pools. They must have access to a lot of
water. High end home owners have zero tolerance for cow chewed shrubbery, hoof prints on manicured
lawns or cow calling cards on driveways. Bundy Ranch's free range cows must be eliminated. Hence, the
Bureau of Land Mismanagement's roundup of Bundy's cows with intent to auction them off. Hence Harry
Reid's claim that those who oppose the roundup are domestic terrorists and his oath that this isn't over.
Cows And Tortoises.
""1989: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists the desert tortoise as an endangered species. A year
later, its designation was changed to "threatened."
""March 1993: The Washington Post publishes a story about the federal government's efforts to protect
the desert tortoise in Nevada. Near Las Vegas, the Bureau of Land Management designated hundreds
of thousands of acres of federal land for strict conservation efforts. "Among the conservation measures
required," according to the Post's coverage, "are the elimination of livestock grazing and strict limits on
off-road vehicle use in the protected tortoise habitat...''
""Many people were not impressed by the new conservation plan. "Cliven Bundy, whose family
homesteaded his ranch in 1877 and who accuses the government of a 'land grab,' are digging in for a
fight and say they will not willingly sell their grazing privileges to create another preserve..."
""Bundy has repeatedly been fined for grazing his cattle on the protected land, fines he has not paid
since 1993. The Bureau of Land Management, which oversees about 800 grazing areas in Nevada,
responded by revoking his permit." (Jaime Fuller, "Everything you need to know about the long fight
between Cliven Bundy and the federal government," Washington Post, April 15, 2014).
In defense of Bundy's cows, Bundy's herd does not compete directly with the desert tortoise. Cows are
tied to water sources, they tend to graze near a water source, then move to graze near another water
Desert tortoises do not travel to a water source. They have a bladder that can contain 40% of their body
weight in water. They replenish their built-in water source from the grass, herbs, wildflowers and new
growth on cacti that they eat. They also drink copious amounts of rain water. To escape the desert heat,
desert tortoises spend most of their time in underground burrows which retain moisture and stay cool
in summer and warm in winter. They can live anywhere in arid lands where there is vegetation for them
to eat and good soil for burrowing. (See Wikipedia, "Desert Tortoise").
Harry Reid became a Congressman in 1983, then a Senator in 1987. He was in a position to influence the
1993 decision to remove the cows from the lands where Bundy's herd grazed giving as a reason the
protection of the desert tortoise. Likely this was also done on behalf of his campaign donors.
Wind and solar energy projects were talked about in the 1970s and developed in California in the 1980s.
It must have been obvious in 1993 that the desert and mountains of Nevada would be ideal for solar and
wind energy projects. Harry Reid is certainly seems determined to get rid of Bundy's free range herd.
The Bureau Of Land Mismanagement.
Created in 1946, the Bureau of Land Mismanagement has systematically ignored the problem of
desertification in the Southwestern United States for most of it's 68 year history. It has blamed
overgrazing and global warming for desertification, but done nothing but remove the cattle. As I will
explain, this merely worsens the problem.
Desertification results in loss of edible plants. It results in disease from malnutrition and death from
starvation for herbivores and as the herbivores are lost, the carnivores that eat them are also lost.
By various accounts, the Bureau of Land Mismanagement controls about 80% of the American
Southwest. The presence of large numbers of arid land animals of the southwestern United States on
the endangered species list is directly attributable to the Bureau of Land Mismanagement. However
much they blame desertification on farmers and ranchers, the Bureau of Land Mismanagement is
I refer in this section to the work of internationally renown environmentalist Allan Savory who pioneered
the use of cattle to reverse desertification. "(Clifford) Allan Redin Savory (born 15 September 1935) is a
Zimbabwean biologist, farmer, soldier, exile, environmentalist, and winner of the 2003 Banksia
International Award and the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge." (Wikipedia, "Allan Savory"). "The
annual Banksia Awards are seen to be one of the most prestigious environmental awards in Australia."
(Wikipedia, "Banksia Environmental Foundation"). "The Buckminster Fuller Challenge is an annual
international design competition that awards $100,000 to the most comprehensive solution to a pressing
global problem." (Wikipedia, "Buckminster Fuller Challenge").
International luminaries have lauded Allan Savory's theories and results: Here is a quote from Prince
Charles: ""I have been particularly fascinated, for example, by the work of a remarkable man called Allan
Savory, in Zimbabwe and other semiarid areas, who has argued for years against the prevailing expert
view that it is the simple numbers of cattle that drive overgrazing and cause fertile land to become
desert. On the contrary, as he has since shown so graphically, the land needs the presence of feeding
animals and their droppings for the cycle to be complete, so that soils and grassland areas stay
productive. Such that, if you take grazers off the land and lock them away in vast feedlots, the land
dies." (Wikipedia, "Allan Savory").
While Allan Savory has his critics, particularly in America, ranchers have proved his system works.
"Bill McGibbon raises Hereford and Barzona cattle and ranch horses on one hundred sections of desert
grassland in the Santa Rita foothills... Bill McGibbon talks:
""Cattle are a useful management tool that can be used to improve the condition and biodiversity of the
range. What we use on this rangeland now is a technique developed by the Holistic Resource
Management Foundation. It was developed by Alan Savory, a Zimbabwean wildlife biologist who grew up
in the South African rangelands. He transplanted the idea of native migrations -- the migrating herds of
elephants and wildebeest and so on -- here to our rangelands. Here we are."
"The pickup stops at last in a cloud of dust by a new metal corral. Bucky jumps out. Bill finds a stick and
starts to draw in the dust. What he draws is a wheel. The center, the hub (this is where we are, here,
now), is a corral with water supply, weighing scale, sorting alley, squeeze chute, loading chute. Around
this hub are a series of eight to sixteen paddocks, each one between six hundred and a thousand acres
in size. The whole "cell" worth of cattle grazes one paddock at a time; about every three days they're
moved (through the hub) into the next paddock, mimicking as they go the wildebeest (or buffalo, for that
matter) impact: a short period of heavy grazing and trampling hooves followed by a time of long
"The system is expensive to set up, but once it is in place the land is more productive, the cattle
healthier and easier to manage -- they're handled more often and so become less skittish -- and Bill
finds he can get along now with one less employee. The Holistic Resource Management concept is still
in the experimental stage, it hasn't caught on widely yet, because it's new and because of its expense,
but here it is: arid lands ecology, applied. Bill has two cells working now, and three on the drawing
board..." (Diana Kappel-Smith, "Desert Time -- A Journey Through The American Southwest, Univ of
Arizona Press, 1994).
Instead of working with Allan Savory to address the problems of arid land desertification and fine tune a
solution for each area, the American government has disputed his work. They continue to blame
overgrazing by cows for desertification.
Allan Savory is included on this website in No. 179, "Quotable Notables 2013," and his TED talk is at:
d2013. I believe the man is a visionary, but I urge you to judge him for yourselves.
Coming back to Bundy Ranch's herd, a herd of about 900 cows can not overgraze 600,000 acres. That is
almost 700 acres per cow. Even in really dry land, that's 10 to 100 times the acreage a cow needs.
In a nation not governed by the very rich, there would be plenty of room for cows and development
alike. In America, federal thugs shoot cows and break watering systems. But the areas around the
broken watering systems will show less desertification than the area where there is no water for some
years. This beneficial effect of cows will eventually be lost.
Cliven Bundy And The Bundy Family.
I have to call Cliven Bundy somewhat wrong because he used federally controlled land without
permission. That said, I want to thank him for standing up to corrupt laws and practices that were meant
to steal his livelihood and his land. A number of important issues have been aired because the Bundy
family made a stand. God bless every one of you.
The Bundy Ranch Defenders.
The hard truth is that your courage in drawing down on federal thugs will cost you. Welcome to the
government's enemies list. My experience suggests that once the federal thugs put the jackboots on,
they don't take them off until they stomp someone. Be aware that you are in danger of accident or
mugging, never give anyone cause to think you are suicidal, be very skeptical of new people who want
to be your best buddy, and read my article No. 103, "Surviving Poison."
There is actually an upside to this for a believing Christian. Probably most of you would not normally be
reborn into God's Kingdom because you aren't saints. BUT there is also a door for martyrs. Say your
prayers everyday and try to be a Christian Soldier. God bless every one of you.
A Suggested Solution.
To the developers who used the government to bankrupt ranchers: Your greed has caused a lot of
honest hardworking people their livelihood and their homes. Stop putting pressure on Harry Reid to get
rid of the cows and build developments with walls and gates or fences and cattle guards.
To Harry Reid: Put a sock in your whining mouth.
To the Bureau of Land Mismanagement: Get out of the way and let people who really care about
endangered species fix the loss of habitat your negligence has caused.
To the Bundy family and their defenders: Hang tough!
To the environmentalists: Put some sweat equity into preserving habitat. A sample program to quickly
restore habitat follows:
Farmers around the world have had good results with Allan Savory's grazing methods. The USDA had
mixed results with one USDA researcher asserting that Savory's systems had not actually been tested.
(See Wikipedia, "Allan Savory," subsection Criticism).
In Zimbabwe, Allan Savory's methods were very successful, but also labor intensive. His workers
corralled the cows at night in a portable brush krall to protect them from lions. The krall areas were
heavily fertilized with dung and urination in one night.
I believe reproducing that practice with portable corrals would jump start the growth of arid land forage
plants, particularly if the seeds of local forage plants were broadcast in the corrals just before the cows
were herded into them or planted through each cow patty using a seed stick planter after the cows
Start with the desert tortoise. A biologist should first determine which locations have good soil for
burrowing and growing forage plants. Sites chosen should be away from areas where cows graze, in
other words, not too close to permanent water sources. After the biologist records dozens of potential
corral areas on GPS, a plan to move the cows to good grazing areas for the day and back to the corral
for the night should be created with locations determined.
To implement the plan, you would need to buy or borrow a big truck to move the corrals, and a tank
truck to water the cows at their corrals, evening and morning. A pickup with a camper cap could be your
chuckwagon. Another pickup with a camper cap could carry bedrolls and personal items.
Corrals should be made of metal in interlocking segments with anchor stakes to hold the segments
together. Anchor stakes would be pounded into the ground for stability. Portable water troughs should
be stackable for easy transport.
Horses would produce the lowest environmental impact and should be used to herd cows.
Personnel should include truck drivers, corral assemblers and movers, at least three cowboys with
herding experience, volunteers who can ride as trail helpers or work as photographers and record
keepers and a good cook or cooks. Volunteers could work for one or two weeks and the program could
be run in two week blocks with time off between.
Before pictures from East, West, North and South should be taken at each corral site a set distance from
the GPS coordinates for that site. After pictures should be taken at one year intervals each year of the
project. Analysis of these pictures will determine if the preliminary plan must be modified and measure
its success, so records for each GPS location must be complete, detailed and backed up at several
locations. PHD candidates would be the ideal volunteers for keeping these records, but one
responsible person, perhaps from the Bundy family, should coordinate and oversee the record keeping
for the entire length of the project.
Preliminary deals would have to be made. The BLM would agree to extend Bundy grazing rights for five
years, so that his cows will be available for five years of attempts at habitat restoration. They would also
have to agree to drop all fines.
In all fairness Bundy Ranch does own the BLM back grazing fees, however all costs for dead cattle and
broken watering systems should be deducted from Bundy Ranch's debt.
Funding for the whole project should be sought from environmental groups, friends of Bundy Ranch,
etc. A PR campaign on the BLM's role in the desertification and loss of species habitat in the
southwestern states may be required. Various environmental groups may be willing to help with this PR
campaign or provide volunteers.
This kind of plan could also be used in other places for other threatened species. If the federal
government is adamant in opposing any compromise, the best hope is to get the land out of their hands.
That can be accomplished by 3/4th of the states calling for a constitutional convention and amending
the constitution to return federally administered public lands (with the exception of National Parks) to
the control of the states.
Almost 3/4ths of the states are already committed to a constitutional convention in an attempt to control
the federal government. The Bundy Standoff is yet another illustration that such control is needed.
Amo Paul Bishop Roden