Cattle or Trout | High Sierra Topix  

Cattle or Trout

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
User avatar

Cattle or Trout

Postby quentinc » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:17 pm

Easiest choice ever....




User avatar
quentinc
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 890
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:28 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Cattle or Trout

Postby mokelumnekid » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:42 pm

Agreed. No Brainer.
User avatar
mokelumnekid
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 446
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:45 pm
Location: Seattle
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Cattle or Trout

Postby rlown » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:46 pm

Wait.. Cant we introduce a Lahontan Hereford?
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5331
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Cattle or Trout

Postby markskor » Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:32 am

Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia sp. are recognized as severe pathogens capable of producing life threatening disease in animals and humans. Both parasites produce resistant stages that are passed with the feces of infected hosts. Transmission occurs either by the direct fecal–oral route or through ingestion of contaminated food or water.

Giardiosis is the most frequently diagnosed waterborne human disease in the USA. This fact, coupled with large-scale outbreaks of infections with waterborne Cryptosporidium sp., has focused attention on the identification of sources of contamination for these parasites in the environment.

Giardia duodenalis is a ubiquitous protozoan parasite that has emerged as a significant opportunistic human pathogen.
The estimated overall point prevalence of G. duodenalis was 19.1% in cattle... http://www.biomedcentral.com/1746-6148/5/37
This study suggests one out of five cattle (including those who range free in Sierra) host some form of Giardia. This coincides with lower but similar Giardia percentages found in other stock livestock – mules – 7 – 10%.

Deer are also suspect carriers with findings showing 3 - 7.1% of the deer population acting as Giardia hosts but still nothing compared to the high percentages another study found Giardia in cattle (approximately 6–82%) in North America. http://vdi.sagepub.com/content/11/1/65.full.pdf
Beaver are also known Giardia hosts but even though Beaver are water creatures, their numbers are small in most lower Sierra environments visited.

Conclusions: Giardia cannot survive freezing temperatures.
“Evidence shows that freezing destroys cysts. Like cryptosporidia oocysts, Giardia cysts cannot maintain their shell integrity through freeze/thaw cycles” http://www.atticacows.com/documentView.asp?docID=1542. As our Sierra reaches below 0º for months on end, either the Giardia scare is a myth or something man induced is assisting in spreading the disease. Cattle and mules (and their affinity to drop their biscuits near water) seem the most likely suspects.
Mountainman who swims with trout
User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2047
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Cattle or Trout

Postby oldranger » Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:12 am

Markskor included this in his otherwise very informative post:

As our Sierra reaches below 0º for months on end, either the Giardia scare is a myth or something man induced is assisting in spreading the disease.


Even assumming we are talking celsius this assumption ignores the facts that 1, the snow pack provides significant insulation and 2. Many giardia spores are waterborn and may entirely avoid freezing or subfreezing temps.

Mitigating my above obsevations and not included in Mark's is that giardia is heavier than water so in lakes there is a tendancy for the giardia to settle to the bottom.

However the risk is real. During my tenure as a BC ranger two other BC rangers acquired giardiasis in the Back Country of SEKI. Since I am older than dirt and expect that my ability to fight such an internal infestation is somewhat diminished I have become much more conservative in my treatment of water sources. There are times where I do not filter but I am now to the point where I filter my water about 60 to 70% of the time.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
User avatar
oldranger
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2166
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:18 pm
Location: Bend, Oregon
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Cattle or Trout

Postby rlown » Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:15 pm

I find Markskor's post somewhat amusing as I know he doesn't filter. He must be immune.

Doesn't really matter. Cattle v. trout.. Trout will win. Somebody better tell me what is native. Lot's of places we find trout could never have been native, regardless of being a "state fish."
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5331
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Cattle or Trout

Postby markskor » Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:58 pm

rlown wrote:I find Markskor's post somewhat amusing as I know he doesn't filter. He must be immune. "

True enough, do not filter, at least not in the last 20+ years...do get out some too.
Amusing or not, as this topic weighed in originally as "trout vs. cattle", just adding my 2¢ here - a few more reasons against letting cattle graze in the alpine Sierra meadows.
I do seriously wonder though, with their short life spans, freezing conditions, and massive water run offs recently, where are all these infected protozoa coming from if not spread by cattle and mules?
Seems to me there are not that many other hosts in the higher elevations.
Mountainman who swims with trout
User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2047
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Cattle or Trout

Postby oldranger » Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:36 am

Markskor wrote:

I do seriously wonder though, with their short life spans, freezing conditions, and massive water run offs recently, where are all these infected protozoa coming from if not spread by cattle and mules?
Seems to me there are not that many other hosts in the higher elevations.


Some time in the past, in another thread, I noted and gdurkee confirmed that reasearch indicated that about 20% of the human population carry giardia and are non symtomatic. I always thought that might be the reason that I never became symptomatic. I have also considered that the introduction of 151 rum might have some medicinal properties.

Any how Mark I think people may be as import as cattle, especially in NPs, and you over estimate the cold in much of the Sierra, especially w. side. I never even had a full beer can expand over 6 winters that I left beer at Roaring River (albeit only 7300 ft.).

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
User avatar
oldranger
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2166
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:18 pm
Location: Bend, Oregon
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Cattle or Trout

Postby markskor » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:57 pm

oldranger wrote:Markskor wrote:

I do seriously wonder though, with their short life spans, freezing conditions, and massive water run offs recently, where are all these infected protozoa coming from if not spread by cattle and mules?
Seems to me there are not that many other hosts in the higher elevations.


Some time in the past, in another thread, I noted and gdurkee confirmed that reasearch indicated that about 20% of the human population carry giardia and are non-symptomatic.
Any how Mark I think people may be as import as cattle, especially in NPs,

Mike


As Giardia is ubiquitous, found everywhere, research indeed confirms ~20% of the human population carries the protozoa (many sub-species found world-wide) non-symptomatically. Moreover, Federal water standards in most major cities, legally allow high but "acceptable" concentrations of this parasite in your pipes on a daily basis. (FYI, numbers found near San Diego for example, far exceed any High Sierra water supply ever measured, with the possible exception of Trail Camp.)

Everyone reading this is probably in contact with Giardia as we speak, but the concentrations from your water supply are far too small to infect anyone. BTW, I recall a quote about the water at Trail Camp, having to drink 100 gallons a day to have a 50% chance if getting it...whatever.

Seems the only way to become infected with Giardia is by drinking water with high cyst concentrations from somewhere, or through bad hygiene practices...usually the culprit.
You argue that BP's are possibly to blame? Yes they are, usually through their own poor personal hygiene...Maybe naive but doubtful that many backpackers intentionally defecate in the water; cows and mules do regularly. Seen a lot of mule scat on the trails this season. If 10% of those trail pucks at/in Illilouette Creek contain the cysts, if the Tuolumne and Valley mules have the same concentrations...well, you get my drift.

Cows also seem unable to keep their droppings out of the creeks.

Bottom line: Wash your hands well.
Nothing we can do about the mules in our Sierra;
Cows are another story.

Cattle or Trout? I vote Trout.
Mountainman who swims with trout
User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2047
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Cattle or Trout

Postby mokelumnekid » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:25 pm

Recall that Stanislaus Nat'l. Forest, one of the heaviest- if not THE heaviest impacted cattle grazing admins south of Tahoe anyway (with Toyiabe running right in there), actually acknowledges this fact, but then argues that since it is common knowledge that cattle likely contribute to the problem, and that BP's know this- they will filter their water so that it isn't an issue to be considered in the assessment of impacts from grazing. :crybaby:

NOW...I'm not saying that grazing shouldn't be allowed (despite my personal prefs) as it is in the laws that allowed the Wilderness Act to be implemented. BUT the kicker was that grazing had to be managed as dictated by the impacts. In my experience Stanislaus, willfully ignores the recommendations of their own staff scientists as well as manifest documented violations of grazing impacts by others.

BUT..I do not want to demonize the families who have the cows, most of the ones I talk to are good law-abiding people who also struggle to get things right. Problem is that cows are stupid beasts, that love to wallow and will trample wet lands at every opportunity. Stanislaus is strung with an *amazing* amount of barbed wire even in the middle of nowhere, like the western front in WW I and still the cattle are "free range". If the grazing families could stop this behavior- they would. But they can't.

So the past meets the present- with better science and the population pressure along all the Sierra corridors, especially the northern trans-Sierra one Hwy 50 to Hwy 108, something will have to give. I'm kinda surprised that any of this is economic from the standpoint of grazing- even if you give the land away- which the Gubbermint is doing- I'm surprised that it is a break-even proposition. ](*,)
User avatar
mokelumnekid
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 446
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:45 pm
Location: Seattle
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Cattle or Trout

Postby oldranger » Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:39 am

What MK says!

1. Grazing is permitted by law.

2. In places more grazing is permitted than is consistent with protecting the resource.

3. The true economic benefits of running cow/calf pairs is pretty limited if grazing is actually permitted at levels consistent with protecting the resource.

4. Grazing is a cultural thing. It is as important to the families who have run cattle in the Mountains for generations as backpacking is to most of us. In Ranger Districts where grazing has been reduced to levels where grazing is limited to levels consistent with protecting the resource families I have talked to indicate they are not making a lot of money but nevertheless they continue to run their cattle. It is a lifestyle they want to live.

Over my 50 plus years of backpacking the amount of stock (cattle, horses, sheep, and mules) is a fraction of what it was in the late 50s. In portions of many Wilderness Areas grazing has been virtually if not completely eliminated. Clearly there are some areas that still need significant improvement and some areas could benefit from a reduction in AUMs (animal unit months). Some careful research could identify those areas. Then presenting the District Ranger with the facts (including evaluations by his/her "ologists" could result in a modification of grazing permits.

A couple of weeks ago I traveled from Leavitt meadows to Hetch Hetchy. The area managed by the FS had an active sheep allotment in 2010. This year it did not. Piute Meadow, the focus of the allotment was in beautiful shape. I bet it did not look quite as nice last year in september. But I am always amazed that a meadow that looks beaten down one year can look pristeen the next. We need to give mother nature a little credit and we need to help her out, too.

While grazing is not my cup of tea I am convinced that if done properly it can be consistent with protecting our wilderness resources. And if we are not willing to "share the resource" do we have the numbers to ensure that wilderness will not be taken away from us by a future congress?

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
User avatar
oldranger
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2166
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:18 pm
Location: Bend, Oregon
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Cattle or Trout

Postby mokelumnekid » Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:57 am

I agree with oldranger- get along to go along. But also stay involved to be sure that balance is achieved.

One reason the Hwy 50- Hwy 108 corridor is so impacted by grazing is geological. Much of the higher altitude areas are covered by various flavors of volcanic rock, some of it rich in original sediments. The slope wash and valley fill from this stuff is much more fertile than granitic soils, and so this section of the Sierra is typically greener year round- hence better grazing. It also tends to generate topography that has more benches and big meadows.

But maybe the most important consequence of the geology is that it has more water late into the Summer than southern areas (south of Bridgeport say) with no volcanic cover. When precip hits the volcanic cover it percolates down and the runs into the less permeable granite which acts as a partial aquitard. Hence the volcanic piles- on the topographic high ground- hold water that then gets released by jillions of little seeps and springs gradually. It helps to maintain the forage. And also the storm tracks coming in the Carquinez Straits across the Central Valley smack into the Tahoe-to-Sonora Pass area, bringing some of the deepest west side snows. So there is often more moisture to start with. Another expression of this is that the granites near the passes, especially evident on Hwy 4. (Ebbetts Pass) are deeply weathered, more so than simple surface exposure would produce. This is because until they were (geologicaly recently) exposed by removal of the overlying volcanic cover, they sat there stewing in groundwater that sometimes also included hydrothermal events and alteration.

Those same volcanic soils also wash down into the Central Valley and produce local domains in the floodplain that make for outstandingly productive agriculture. Wine and table grapes come to mind (I'm from Lodi originally :unibrow: ).
User avatar
mokelumnekid
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 446
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:45 pm
Location: Seattle
Experience: N/A

Next

Return to The Campfire



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: phoenix2000 and 10 guests