Working lands have the richest biodiversity, per acre, found across the Western landscape, and are typically where the majority of fresh water is found. Working lands are also equally critical for sustaining prosperous rural businesses and long-term economic vitality.
The stewardship of these landscapes is both a privilege and a tremendous responsibility. Western Landowners Alliance was founded by landowners to share knowledge with one another, to make science more accessible and relevant, and to provide the resources and information needed to make sound management decisions.
Contacting Your Elected Officials
Contact Federal Elected Officials
Contact State Elected Officials
The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2008 (Farm Bill)
Agricultural Conservation – A Guide to Funding
Conservation Gateway for online applications and account access for Natural Resource Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency and Rural Development programs.
Farm Service Agency Conservation Resources
USDA Forest Legacy Program
USDA Report on Ecosystem Services
Partners for Fish and Wildlife
US Fish and Wildlife agency program providing funding and technical assistance to landowners. http://www.fws.gov/partners/
The Endangered Species Act (ESA)
Candidate Conservation Agreements:
Safe Harbor Agreements:
Working Lands for Wildlife:
On April 13, 2016, the Western Landowners Alliance teamed with NRCS’ Working Lands for Wildlife(WLFW) program to bring landowners and managers in the West a conversation around how federal funding and wildlife conservation programs can benefit working land operations and conserve declining species. Here is the slideshow presentation and a recording of the webinar.
Here is a link to the national WLFW website with species-specific information and pages for all WLFW priorities discussed during the webinar. Additionally, here are the websites for the Sage Grouse Initiative and Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative that are maintained by the broader partnerships. Here you will find the latest news and information, relevant science products, rancher and partner profiles and much, much more. Be sure to read the LPCI 2015 Progress Report and SGI Success on the Rangepublications to get a great summary of these collaborative efforts.
You may also be interested in the WLFW Science to Solutions series discussed one the webinar. The new conifer Science to Solutions for Lesser Prairie Chicken is located here and the Sage Grouse Songbird Science to Solutions can be viewed here. Additional Science to Solutions are available on the SGI website.
Tools for Helping Imperiled Wildlife on Private Lands brochure:
Conservation Profiles: Landowners Help Imperiled Wildlife
BLM Sage Grouse Information
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq.) Requires environmental impact statements (EISs) for all major federal agency actions significantly affecting the human environment.
Clean Water Act (CWA) (33 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq.) – http://www.epa.gov/regulations/laws/cwa.html
Clean Air Act (CAA) (42 U.S.C. § 7401 et seq.) – http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2008-title42/pdf/USCODE-2008-title42-chap85.pdf
Programs in which the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) may enter into long-term contracts (up to 10 years) to meet land-management objectives
Sustainable Northwest’s Stewardship Contacting and Collaboration: Best Practices Guidebook is designed to provide information to USFS and non-agency representatives involved in or anticipating involvement in stewardship contracting collaborative groups. It includes information on opportunities for collaboration throughout the stewardship contracting process, offers suggestions of best practices for each step, and includes links to a wealth of additional resources.
Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 (TGA): P.L. 73-482 (June 28, 1934): Regulates grazing on public lands to improve rangeland conditions. http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/field_offices/Casper/range/taylor.1.html
From BLM Technical Reference Library
Access to entire technical reference library. http://www.blm.gov/library
Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health: An interagency technical reference which describes attributes of rangeland health and provides instructions for using the Rangeland Health Assessment Protocol. http://www.blm.gov/nstc/library/pdf/1734-6rev05.pdf
Rangeland inventory and monitoring supplemental studies: Contains the rangeland inventory and monitoring techniques historically used by the Bureau of Land Management since the formation of the Grazing Service. http://www.blm.gov/nstc/library/pdf/TR4400-05.pdf
Monitoring Manual for Grassland, Shrubland and Savanna Ecosystems: Describes how to monitor three rangeland attributes: soil and site stability, watershed function and biotic integrity. Volume I includes basic methods and instructions for establishing photo points and completing four basic measurements. Volume II provides more detailed guidance on monitoring program design, data analysis and interpretation. Volume I. http://jornada.nmsu.edu/files/Quick_Start.pdf. Volume II. http://jornada.nmsu.edu/files/Volume_II.pdf
Ecological Site Inventory: Identifies the procedures for completing an ecological site inventory and describes the technique used by the NRCS to document and describe ecological sites. http://www.blm.gov/nstc/library/pdf/1734-7.pdf
Grazing Management Processes and Strategies for Riparian-Wetland Areas: Provides information to assist livestock operators and land managers in developing successful riparian-wetland grazing management strategies across a wide array of land types. http://www.blm.gov/nstc/library/pdf/TR%201737-20.pdf
Riparian Area Management: Grazing management for riparian-wetland areas: http://www.blm.gov/nstc/library/pdf/Final%20TR%201737-14.pdf
Riparian Restoration: Provides the basic principles and background information needed to carry out a restoration project. Objectives are to create an awareness of riparian values and ecosystems and how they function, show common impacts from recreation, provide examples of planning, design, and restoration techniques, and foster an understanding of adapted management and of monitoring concepts. http://www.blm.gov/nstc/library/pdf/Final%20TR%201737-22.pdf
A Guide to Managing, Restoring, and Conserving Springs in the Western United States: Provides information on the characteristics of springs in the Western U.S. and identifies techniques for managing spring habitats that will allow use, maintain biological integrity, and rehabilitate or restore degraded habitats. http://www.blm.gov/nstc/library/pdf/TR_1737-17-copyright_free_version-updated.pdf
Transfer Act of 1905: Establishes the U.S. Forest Service and transfers management of the national forests from the Department of the Interior to the Department of Agriculture. The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.
Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act of 1960: Authorizes and directs that the national forests be managed under principles of multiple use and to produce a sustained yield of products and services, and for other purposes
Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974: Requires that a renewable resource assessment and a Forest Service plan be prepared every ten and five years, respectively, to plan and prepare for the future of natural resources.
National Forest Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA): The Federal Land Policy Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA)governs Bureau of Land Management (BLM) management of public lands for multiple use and sustained yield.
The Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003: Addresses forest health issues, provides for fuels restoration projects, promotes use of biomass, provides for technical assistance for private landowners.
The General Mining Act of 1872: Mineral management on federal lands.
Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 (30 U.S.C. § 181 et seq.): Oil and gas operations on federal land.
Mineral Leasing Act for Acquired Lands of 1947 (30 U.S.C. § 351 et seq.): Extends the provisions of the Mineral Leasing Act and the authority of the Secretary of the Interior over oil and gas operations to federal “acquired lands.”
Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970 (30 U.S.C. § 21 et seq.): Federal policy regarding mineral resources in the United States.
Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. §1701 et seq.) – FLPMA: Outlines BLM authority, congressional policy concerning federal control over lands and mineral resources, establishes principles of multiple use, sustained yield and environmental protection on public lands.
Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act of 1982 (30 U.S.C. § 1701 et seq.): Affirms authority of the Secretary of the Interior to administer and enforce all rules and regulations governing oil and gas leases on Federal or Indian Land, establishes policy regarding federal royalties.
Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act of 1987 (FOOGLRA) (30 U.S.C. § 181}: Establishes USDA Forest Service authority in the leasing of federal minerals on National Forest System lands containing oil and gas. Establishes competitive leasing process for federal minerals.
Bureau of Land Management, Title 43, Part 3100 of the Code of Federal Regulations
43 C.F.R. § 3101 – Issuance of Leases
43 C.F.R. § 3101.1-3 – Stipulations and Information Notices
43 C.F.R. § 3101.1-4 – Modification or Waiver of Lease Terms and Stipulations
43 C.F.R. § 3102.5 – Compliance, Certification of Compliance and Evidence
43 C.F.R. § 3104.1 – Bond Obligations
43 C.F.R. § 3104.5 – Increased Amount of Bond
43 C.F.R. § 3108.3 – Cancellation
43 C.F.R. § 3150 – Onshore Oil and Gas Geophysical Exploration
43 C.F.R. § 3160 – BLM (DOI), Onshore Oil and Gas Operations
43 C.F.R. § 3161 – Jurisdiction and Responsibility
43 C.F.R. § 3162.3 – Conduct of Operations
43 C.F.R. § 3162.5 – Environment and Safety
43 C.F.R. § 3164.1 – Onshore Oil and Gas Order Number 1, Approval of Operations
USFS, Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulation, Part 228
36 C.F.R. § 228 – USFS (Dept. of Ag.), Oil and Gas Resources
36 C.F.R. § 228.8 – Requirements for Environmental Protection
The Gold Book: Concerns compliance with BLM regulations, policies, and guidelines for oil and gas development. Includes Best Management Practices (BMPs).
Split Estate Management – Bureau of Land Management
Colorado Master Leasing Plans: Land use planning process for areas containing high-level potential resource concerns
Collaboration / Community Involvement
Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA): Provides opportunity for non-government groups and individual citizens to provide input into federal lands management.
USFS Partnership Resource Center: A joint project of the US Forest Service and National Forest Foundation.
USFS Partnership Portal for the Rocky Mountain West
BLM Collaboration and Dispute Resolution
U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution: Charged to work on environmental conflicts where federal agencies are involved.
American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012: Jan 20, 2013 – The federal estate tax exclusion now is set permanently at $5 million and is indexed for inflation, making the 2013 amount $5,250,000.
IRS Audit Guide:
State Conservation Initiatives
Western Governors Association Wildlife Corridors Oil and Gas Working Group
COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY: The Center for Collaborative Conservation
The Center is a place where stakeholders can come together to collaboratively discuss, define, study and implement conservation practices to sustain both the earth’s ecosystems and the people who depend upon them. The CCC is active in collaborative conservation efforts across Colorado, the US West and around the world. The most important boundary-spanning role of the CCC is bridging the activities and interests of Colorado State University with people who do conservation in communities and local landscapes around the world.
Goal 1: Bring diverse people together to support conservation action. We bring stakeholders together through think tanks, dialogues, conferences and workshops to define, discuss, study, and make plans to act on emerging critical issues.
Goal 2: Learn with and teach students. Current and future practitioners (scientists, students, policy-makers, and other stakeholders) co-learn about collaborative conservation and sustainable human communities, exchange and improve knowledge, and bridge scales of place and time.
Goal 3: Understand and support action in collaborative conservation through research-for-action. We promote basic understanding of human-ecological systems to support collaborative conservation efforts, evaluate and analyze existing projects and initiatives, and create new links between research and action on the ground.
Goal 4: Link efforts in collaborative conservation around the world.
We are creating the Collaborative Conservation Learning Network to exchange innovations, studies, tools, processes, metrics and adaptive management models to help worldwide collaborative conservation efforts become more effective, resilient and sustainable.
WESTERN ASPEN ALLIANCE: Utah State University, Department of Wildland Resources
The Western Aspen Alliance (WAA) is a multi-agency, multi-entity, non-profit organization housed at Utah State University. Our mission is to facilitate resilient management of aspen ecosystems in Western North America through coordinated scientific efforts, shared information, and on-the-ground projects. We are not an advocacy group; our aim is to transfer current aspen science to those who desire it. Quaking aspen forests are among the most biodiverse systems in the West. The WAA is focused on connecting experts and issues across disciplinary lines; we address water, wildlife, livestock, forests, fire ecology, climate change, ecosystem monitoring, biological indicators of stress, restoration techniques, and adaptive management.
Our aim is to deliver the following services throughout Aspen’s North American range, although we have focused many efforts specifically around the American and Canadian West. Here’s what we do:
Outreach: The WAA hosts field workshops, conferences, and webinars which match leading researchers with landowners and managers. We provide consultation, customized literature searches, and maintain an expertise database for land and wildlife stewards.
Facilitation: Our experience in bringing science to diverse audiences to address difficult aspen-related issues originates with the WAA’s 2008 inception. In particular, we specialize in multi-owner, cross-boundary, aspen-related problem solving and educational colloquiums.
Research: Our website hosts the world’s largest digital aspen citation database in the world, assisting scientists of all backgrounds in finding desired materials. We are scientists ourselves! In 2013, a workshop hosted at WLA-member High Lonesome Ranch in Colorado, resulted in a state-of-the-science compendium of 10 topical review papers published in the international journal Forest Ecology and Management (vol. 299).
Communication: Effective communication means using a variety of methods for getting accurate sciences messages to our users. Interactive presentation is the cornerstone of the WAA’s modus operandi. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll get it to you or put you in contact with appropriate experts. We put materials in your hands, present current science orally, use social media, and make recorded presentations available for those unable to attend events in person.
The Western Aspen Alliance is committed to creating the most accessible aspen resources anywhere; we do this, ultimately, to promote sustainable aspen ecosystems. If you value resilient, biodiverse, aspen communities we invite you to find the WAA: attend or host a workshop, get your issues addressed, become a member, or just give us a call.
Resources First Foundation
Resources First Foundation is an entrepreneurial 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2000. Since its beginning, RFF has built web-based tools and resources designed specifically for the multi-faceted needs of private landowners, land & energy conservation professionals and business to advance their goals and objectives. We serve as the U.S. Foundation for Wilderness Wildlife Trust.
The Center For Conservation Incentives
The CCI was established to help landowners and their partners practice voluntary environmental stewardship as they continue normal business operations on their farmlands, ranchlands and forestlands. CCI works to expand and improve existing incentive-based programs and to develop new incentives. The Center pursues a mix of:
- place-based conservation projects,
- policy development pertaining to conservation incentives,
- and partnerships with landowners and other organizations pursuing similar goals.
Because over 70% of land in the lower 48 states is privately owned, the decisions that American landowners make on their land will have the greatest impact on wildlife and water quality.
Given the right incentives, private landowners can play a pivotal role in achieving many of the nation’s conservation goals, including
- restoring degraded habitats
- recovering rare species
- improving the quality of water in our rivers and streams
The Center for Conservation Incentives is partnering with private landowners and state and federal government agencies to help expand and target government incentive programs and to help landowners access them to serve their conservation needs.
CCI has played a key role in the development and implementation of the Safe Harbor program for endangered species, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Programs and many other conservation incentive programs.
The Western Native Trout Initiative
Recognizing the geographic scale of, and limited financial resources and human capital available to address the challenges facing 21 and western native trout and char species and sub-species, the Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) was formed in July 2006 to provide a new perspective and impetus to improve the return on investment of the time, money and manpower dedicated to native trout conservation. The mission of WNTI is to serve as a key catalyst for the implementation of conservation or management actions, through partnerships and cooperative efforts that result in improved species status, improved aquatic habitats, and improved recreational opportunities for native trout anglers.
WNTI is a Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) supported effort to develop collaborative approaches to doing things more efficiently through dedicated efforts and secured increases in aquatic and fisheries habitat funding. WNTI is reaching out to traditional and new partners such as the Western Landowners Alliance to accomplish our Mission and expand the efforts to protect, conserve and enhance the status of western native trout.
Solutions & Actions
In collaboration with project partners, the following are specific solutions and strategies WNTI either fund directly, or seek other funding at the local level to help improve the status of western native trout.
- Restoration (bank stabilization, riparian fencing, planting, addressing hydrological issues)
- Reconnecting fragmented habitat by removing barriers to fish passage
- Constructing barriers to protect genetically important populations
- Population assessments to help guide future management and restoration
- In-Stream Flows
- Ecosystem services assessment
- Providing information on multiple federal and state aquatic habitat project funding sources and opportunities
The Initiative has partnered with 12 western states, 5 federal fishery management agencies, and multiple public and private entities in a planning and project implementation effort that funds on-the-ground data collection and habitat improvement projects to conserve and enhance native trout populations. Since 2006, the Western Native Trout Initiative has directed over $4.4 million toward the protection and recovery of 21 western native trout species. By supporting community-driven initiatives and local partnerships, we’ve helped to complete 82 on-the-ground projects that removed 47 barriers to fish passage and restored or enhanced over 466 stream miles.
Lincoln Land Institute
Sustainable Northwest works with communities, landowners and policy makers to find innovative solutions to critical natural resource challenges. They offer Forest Stewardship Council certification and sponsor Rural Voices for Conservation, among other programs. They also offer resources of interest to landowners, including a catalog of ecosystem services markets at the following link: http://www.sustainablenorthwest.org/uploads/resources/FS11_Resource_examples.pdf.
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