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US cattle grazing plan for Idaho national monument approved

Craters of the Moon National Monument in eastern Idaho.

Craters of the Moon National Monument in eastern Idaho.

Federal officials say cattle grazing will continue at a south-central Idaho national monument known for its ancient lava flows following a challenge by an environmental group.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced this week that grazing on BLM-administered portions of Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve not covered by lava flows will stay at about 99 percent of current levels.

Western Watersheds Project challenged grazing in the monument contending it harmed sage grouse, leading to a 2012 federal court order requiring federal agencies to complete an environmental review analyzing reduced grazing or no grazing.

Federal officials say the latest plan allows them to manage sagebrush landscapes and habitat with a small adjustment to grazing levels without harming the local economy.

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