Livestock will be removed from drought-stricken portions of national forest land in northern Utah in the next few weeks, according to Forest Service regional forester Stan Tixier.

He said this will mean removing livestock two to three weeks earlier than normal. "A decision to remove animals will be made on an allotment by allotment basis, rather than forest-wide," he said."The drought has reduced vegetative production and water availability in some areas to critical levels." Of particular concern, he said, are areas associated with water where plants have remained green and water is still available.

"Livestock concentrate in these areas during a drought, often over-using the vegetation."

Resource damage which can occur from excess grazing of these areas during a drought can contribute to reduced water quality and long-term reduction in the value of these areas for other users, Tixier said.