Riparian areas not only store water for future use, but also dissipate and attenuate the energy of floodwaters, which reduces peak flows in streams and rivers. Riparian lands are rapidly disappearing with domestic livestock grazing having the greatest impact. The following discussion analyzes the impacts of grazing on water flows to determine whether current grazing practices violate the Organic Act. This discussion first reviews the legislative history of the Organic Act. The discussion then focuses on the interpretation of the Organic Act and relevant property law by the federal courts. After this legal analysis, the latest scientific evidence is analyzed to determine whether water flows are indeed compromised by grazing practices. The final part of the discussion juxtaposes the available science and law to establish whether or not the purpose of the Organic Act is violated by modem grazing in the national forest. The discussion concludes that cattle grazing in the national forest impacts riparian areas in a manner that undermines the purposes of the Organic Act.
University of New Mexico School of Law
Lowry, Marc. "Grazing on National Forest Riparian Lands: Illegal Disruption of Water Flows?." (1999). http://digitalrepository.unm.edu/law_studentscholarship/64