How do we best manage Great Basin rangelands? Ranchers, recreationalists and resource managers may differ on the answer, but each wants the same outcome: a healthy, vibrant and resilient ecosystem. In Nevada, a group of ranchers, resource managers and biologists are showing that through collaboration, trust-building and partnership, they can be ideal allies in tackling one of the biggest land conservation challenges in the West.
Two years ago, Gregg Simonds of Squaw Valley Ranch gathered neighboring ranchers and staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Nevada Department of Wildlife to form a conservation think tank. The think tank focused on “results-oriented grazing for ecological resiliency,” or ROGER for short. The group is committed to protecting “Mother Sage,” and they are beginning to see benefits of working closely together. Agency representatives gain ranching expertise that helps refine habitat management plans for plants and wildlife on the range and in turn the ranchers seek flexibility in their federal livestock grazing permits. Meeting at each other’s homes, offices and out in the field, the diverse group continues to build trust and find common ground.
A recent article published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service charts the history of this group and their plans to experiment and learn from each other along the way. The group will monitor on the ground efforts to assess which approaches work best.
“The management of sagebrush on public lands isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach,” said Raul Morales Deputy State Director for Resources, Lands and Planning and Great Basin LCC Steering Committee member, “It’s about identifying flexible solutions on both sides.”
Read the full article from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service