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2017 Water Rights

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Water Rights in the West

What every landowner needs to know

Few things are as crucial to ranch operations as water. Getting a handle on your water rights may seem akin to drinking from a fire hose, but it is wildly important. Western water is complex, contentious, and rooted in rich history. For anyone who owns or operates a working landscape, making the investment to become an expert on your water rights can give you an amazing window into the history of both your property and region, and prove invaluable when the inevitable conflict arises. This must-read article will help get you started.

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Aspen Next Generation

Aspen trees and forests are especially important in the Rocky Mountains. Aspens add beauty to landscapes, foster high diversity and productivity of understory plants, provide for the habitat needs of many species of animals, and moderate fire behavior. There is a perception that aspen trees and stands are not regenerating well in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico; cohorts of trees younger than a few decades are scarce, at least in some areas. The next generation of aspen in the southern Rockies will be influenced by land use decisions, including harvesting, fire policy and management, and browsing by livestock and wildlife.

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Paying for Stewardship

This guide presents some ways landowners can earn compensation for their stewardship efforts directly or indirectly—schemes sometimes referred to as payments for ecosystem services, ecosystem services markets, or conservation finance. It goes beyond description to provide illustrative case studies of these strategies at work.

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Collaborative Wildlife Migration Corridor Workshops

This report provides an overview of the latest efforts towards migration corridor management in each of the three states, and reports findings from the workshops. The report summarizes the discussion by workshop participants about what is working in their state, as well as opportunities to improve migration corridor management and conservation.

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Securing Your Legacy on the Land, Part 3: Alternate Ownership Structures

What factors should you consider when selecting an ownership structure for your ranch? What questions should you be sure to answer before deciding? What are differences between an LLC, a C Corporation, and an S Corporation? What are the benefits to partnership, cooperative or shared ownership structures, and what are the drawbacks? Why or when would someone choose a less common ownership structure?

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Habitat Conservation Strategies for Migrating Wildlife

Landowner perspectives gained through one-on-one interviews and focus groups throughout the Upper Rio Grande region provide the foundation for the recommendations contained within this toolkit. These perspectives are shared side-by-side with concise strategies for policymakers, funders, and organizations looking to improve wildlife habitat in this dynamic trans-boundary region of Colorado and New Mexico.

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Securing Your Legacy on the Land, Part 2: Family Governance

What defines “family governance” and what key factors drive the type of governance structure a family puts into place? How does one effectively integrate family members into its governing structure? What are some governance issues one encounters when creating and administering trusts?

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Conservation Economics on Western Working Lands

Conservation is a form of economics What policy conditions would empower landowners to allocate time, talent and resources to biodiversity and connectivity? This question is the center of this paper,…

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Securing Your Legacy on the Land, Part 1

When should a succession plan be put in place? Who should be involved? What are the basic components of a farm or ranch business succession plan? Who can help put it in place?

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Reducing Conflict with Grizzly Bears, Wolves and Elk

In this guide, WLA offers the collective knowledge and hands-on experience of over 30 land, livestock and resource managers constructively engaged in one of the greatest conservation challenges of our time: how to share and manage a wild, working landscape that sustains both people and wildlife.

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Frontline Perspectives

Landowners speak from experience on forestry The American West is home to some of our nation’s most iconic forests. WLA staff interviewed landowners throughout the West to gain their perspective…

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