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October 20, 2014

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Feds prepare to round up cattle amid feud with rancher

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Courtesy of the BLM

Bureau of Land Management workers restore plants that had been damaged by the prohibited practice of cattle grazing in Nevada’s Gold Butte area.

A decades-long feud between a local rancher and federal land managers will culminate today as government officials begin rounding up free-roaming cattle from parts of northeastern Clark County.

Cliven Bundy, whose family of organic melon farmers and cattle ranchers has been grazing herds on federal lands since the 1800s, has been fighting for 21 years to keep the animals grazing freely — a right that was terminated by the Bureau of Land Management in 1993 in an effort to preserve feeding grounds for the burrowing desert tortoise.

Over the years, Bundy has accumulated thousands of dollars in unpaid fines for not removing the livestock.

Parts of the county within the Gold Butte, Mormon Mesa and Bunkerville Flats areas will shut down at intervals Thursday through early May while the animals are confiscated, the BLM announced this week.

BLM officials counted 568 cattle by helicopter on the federal lands in December; the agency counted 51 animals in 1999.

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