Ranchers Feel Fenced In - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Ranchers Feel Fenced In

YAKIMA, Wash. - Yakima Valley ranchers feel fenced in after Thursday night's public hearing.

The county's planning commission is about to make an important decision that would take away a part of their land. A group of ranchers at the public forum said the county could force them to make a big separation between their pastures and creeks.

It's a buffer zone which the county said would protect fish and other wildlife, along with shorelines.

County planner John Marvin said the changes should help the county stay within state requirements.

But area ranchers want to find common ground.

David Taylor, a rancher from Moxee, disagreed with the county and said the buffer zones will disrupt their work.

"Yakima County has two major employers, that's government and ag," he said. "Unfortunately ag's the only producer of the two. Let's let the producers go ahead and have a little more control of what's being said."

Taylor, who also represents a group of farmers in Yakima, said he would be in favor of a rewarding system, that would give ranchers a tax break or an environmental credit for protecting shorelines.

Friday is the last day the county will take written comments on the changes to shorelines.

After reading over the comments, the planning commission will make a recommendation to county commissioners on the proposals.

But a final decision isn't expected until early next year.