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Policy

New Mexico Wildlife Corridors Act: public meetings and comment

The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) in partnership with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) has begun developing the Wildlife Corridors Action Plan (Plan) in accordance with New Mexico Senate Bill 228, the Wildlife Corridors Act (Act). Public meetings will be held state wide and public comments will be accepted through April 18, 2020.

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Utah legislation proposes predator hunting to achieve deer and elk objectives

Utah House Bill 125, which expands the use of hunting predators to manage ungulate herds such as elk and deer, is one of the predator wildlife management bills moving through this year’s legislative agenda.

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Jaguars, snakes derail Arizona copper mine

A federal judge yesterday ruled that the Fish and Wildlife Service must redo an endangered species analysis that allowed other agencies to approve the Rosemont Copper project in the Coronado National Forest. The site lies within the range of America’s only jaguars, northern Mexican gartersnakes and other endangered species in the Santa Rita Mountains outside Tucson.

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Administration proposes deep energy, environmental cuts

President Trump’s $4.8 trillion fiscal 2021 budget request released today proposes major cuts to energy and environmental programs to help shore up national security spending.

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Emergency water rights bill heads to Idaho governor’s desk

Legislation granting an emergency water right when crews are trying to clean up spills in Idaho waterways passed the House on Tuesday and is headed to the governor’s desk. The House approved the measure the state Department of Environmental Quality says is needed to prevent someone from contending their water right is being violated due to an emergency cleanup.

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BLM struggles to fill top positions in new Western HQ

When the Bureau of Land Management moves its Washington-based headquarters to Grand Junction, Colo., this year, more than half of the senior leaders there may be as new as the office itself. BLM has been scrambling to fill more than a dozen high-level positions in the new agency headquarters.

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Opinion: Conservation and restoration of our precious land

The future of New Mexico over the next 100 years will depend on actions taken today to ensure our natural resources continue to provide our most essential needs. The New Mexico Land Conservancy, the New Mexico Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the New Mexico Land Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife and Audubon New Mexico urge New Mexicans to speak up during the current legislative session in favor of the New Mexico Agricultural and Natural Resources Trust Fund Act.

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Saving water for Utah farms: ‘Banking’ may be the key in face of growth

Most states across the West have adopted some sort of water sharing program that provides more flexibility for users in time of need, or in time of excess. Called “water banking,” the strategy essentially allows water right holders to allow others to use their water and make revenue from it. On Wednesday, Utah inched closer to implementing its own program via a legislative proposal, that if passed, would institute a 10-year pilot project.

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USFWS: Trump regulations boost risk for migratory birds

The Trump administration’s controversial narrowing of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act will reduce environmental protections that can be expected from industry, the Fish and Wildlife Service predicted today. In proposed new regulations that have immediately prompted heated debate, the federal agency today acknowledged diminished private mitigation as one likely result of limiting the law’s coverage to the intentional killing of migratory birds.

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House committee votes to overturn Trump ESA revisions

The House Natural Resources Committee voted today to approve a suite of bills along party lines, including legislation that would overturn the Trump administration’s controversial rules revising the Endangered Species Act. The full committee also voted to approve two bills that would advance the establishment of wildlife corridors on federal and Native American lands nationwide.

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Idaho agency wants to spend $408,000 a year to count wolves

Idaho’s top wildlife official on Tuesday requested authorization from state lawmakers to spend $408,000 to count wolves. The expense would become part of the agency’s annual budget to keep a running tally of the number of wolves in the state. Idaho stopped counting wolves in 2015 after it was no longer required to do so by USFWS following the lifting of protections for wolves under the ESA.

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New Mexico needs realistic, sustainable water plan

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has long talked about the importance of water to the arid state, even campaigning on the idea of creating a 50-year plan to guide management of the finite resource. Her administration is now asking lawmakers for more money and manpower to start what some experts say will be a multiyear endeavor.

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New California groundwater regulations could reshape water use and agriculture

California’s first attempt at regulating a precious resource — groundwater — begins Friday, and experts expect a rocky start. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which requires critically overdrafted basins to balance their pumping and get on a “sustainable” path by 2040, could fundamentally reshape water use and agriculture in California. Hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland are expected to be forced out of production.

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Conservation reserve program is ‘competitive’ this year, despite lower rental rates

Despite lower rental rates, enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program is “competitive” this year, a USDA official said at a House Agriculture subcommittee hearing on Tuesday. The 2018 farm bill raised the cap on the number of acres to be enrolled in the CRP from 24 million to 27 million.

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California budget proposal includes $6.7B toward natural resources

The state budget proposal delivered earlier this month by California Governor Gavin Newsom includes billions of spending on natural resources and the environment.

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Editorial: Using oil surplus to help restore habitat worth the investment

A bill that would dedicate a portion of the state’s record oil and gas revenues to a permanent fund for habitat restoration and sustainable agriculture projects deserves serious consideration from lawmakers, and it’s good to see support for it from a broad coalition of agricultural and environmental groups.

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ACEP interim rule comment deadline extended

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has extended the public comment period on its interim rule for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).Comments will now be accepted through March 20, 2020.

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Final Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule unveiled

The final Waters of the U.S. rule unveiled by the Trump administration today eliminates Clean Water Act protections for the majority of the nation’s wetlands and more than 18% of streams, and replaces regulations set in the Reagan administration.

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Lawmaker proposes wolf-free zones in southern Idaho

Some areas in Idaho would be declared wolf-free zones and other areas where the animals have killed livestock would have increased wolf-killing opportunities under legislation proposed yesterday by state Sen. Bert Brackett. The state Senate Resources and Environment Committee voted to clear the way for a hearing on the measure.

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New Mexico bill would divert oil and gas money to restoration

Skyrocketing oil and natural gas production in southeastern New Mexico continues to produce record-setting state revenue. A broad coalition of agricultural and environmental groups believe some of that money should help restore the state’s land and water.

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Petition seeks federal protections for Rio Grande fish

Environmentalists are asking federal wildlife managers to use the Endangered Species Act to protect a fish found only in the Rio Grande in Texas and the Pecos River in New Mexico. WildEarth Guardians filed the petition with the Fish and Wildlife Service yesterday, saying it is part of a campaign focused on vulnerable species found in rivers and streams across the West.

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ESA scores a win with Colorado River fish

A humpbacked Colorado River fish that’s been federally protected for more than half a century has escaped from the edge of doom, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced today. In what officials are calling an Endangered Species Act success story, the federal agency is proposing to downlist the humpback chub from endangered to threatened status. The move would retain protections for the fish but also signify its “partial recovery” and ease some regulatory requirements.

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BLM to consider proposed revisions to grazing regulations

The Bureau of Land Management has published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement to consider proposed revisions to the agency’s grazing regulations. The proposed revisions aim to “update, modernize and streamline the grazing regulations and provide greater flexibility for land and resource management.” Comments on the proposed revisions may be submitted in writing until February 28, 2020.

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Wyoming executive order includes landowners in corridor designation process

In one of the most significant changes proposed by the new executive order, Wyoming Game and Fish Department wildlife managers won’t be the only people at the decision-making table when it comes to migration corridors. The governor will also have help from landowners and others on the ground and the state will support the formation of local working groups to help inform the designation of new corridors.

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Wyoming legislation proposes to compensate ranchers for wolf depredation

A new bill introduced in the Wyoming Legislature this week would create a new compensation program for ranchers whose livestock is killed or damaged by gray wolves outside of game hunting zones. the legislation would create a $90,000 fund to compensate ranchers for any losses related to gray wolf attacks, and would be active for two years.

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Montana releases new bison management plan

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks this week released a document nearly eight years in the making that outlines how bison could be restored in the state as publicly managed wildlife

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Final Trump WOTUS rule expected soon

The Trump administration is expected to finalize a rule limiting which waterways are protected by the Clean Water Act this month.

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Oregon governor proposes new wildfire protection plan

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is calling for a major expansion in the state’s wildfire response plans in a new legislative concept. The draft proposal outlines the governor’s long-term vision for how the state should adapt to wildfire, reduce wildfire risks on forestland and improve fire suppression.

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Trump admin launches review of grizzly bears

The grizzly bear’s future as a protected species will get another gander, as the Fish and Wildlife Service today initiated a full-bore study of the iconic animal. The review will mark the federal agency’s first comprehensive update on the grizzly bear since 2011 and could lead to proposed revisions of its Endangered Species Act status.

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Ahead of vote, wolves may already be living in Colorado

One day after a measure to introduce wolves was placed on this year’s ballot, CPW announced that a wolf pack was spotted, photographed and video recorded by hunters in Colorado back in October.

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New bill would encourage native plants on federal land

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) want the Interior Department to create a five-year pilot program promoting native plant species to preserve ecosystems and help reverse land and water degradation. Their new bill, S. 3150, aims to prevent and eradicate devastating invasive species through greater use of native plant material for federal land maintenance and restoration.

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NRCS seeks comments on ACEP interim rule

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) seeks public comments on its interim rule for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), USDA’s premier conservation easement program that helps landowners protect working agricultural lands and wetlands. Comments will be accepted through March 6, 2020.

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Wolves on the ballot in Colorado

It’s official, wolf reintroduction will be decided on Colorado’s 2020 ballot. On Monday, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office announced the campaign had gathered an estimated 139,333 valid signatures — above the 124,632 signatures needed to earn a place the 2020 ballot. If it passes, the measure would require state wildlife managers to reintroduce wolves to Western Colorado by the end of 2023.

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California eases way for land clearing to prevent wildfires

California regulators said Tuesday that they have streamlined the state’s permit process to make it faster to approve tree-thinning projects designed to slow massive wildfires that have devastated communities in recent years.

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Interior Department to formally define “habitat” in the ESA

The Interior Department is moving to formally define “habitat” in the Endangered Species Act, part of an anticipated second wave of changes to the bedrock conservation law under the Trump administration. According to a notice published Monday, the addition to the ESA is undergoing interagency review.

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Wyoming governor releases draft executive order on migration corridors

A draft executive order released by Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon lays out rules for how the governor will designate wildlife corridors. Rancher Marissa Taylor served on the advisory group that helped shape the EO. She responded positively to the draft order, with particular praise for its acknowledgement of private landowners’ efforts to preserve migration habitats.

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Delisting gray wolf leads end-of-year legislation blitz

Lawmakers introduced a flurry of bills before leaving the capital for the holidays, including legislation to delist the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act. S. 3140 would direct the Interior Department to issue a rule removing the gray wolf from federal protections.

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Bennet unveils discussion draft to create new tax credit for farmers and ranchers to capture carbon in the land sector

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today released a discussion draft of legislation to establish a new tax credit for farmers and ranchers, state and local governments, and tribes, to sequester carbon in agriculture, forestry, rangelands, and wetlands.

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New in-stream flow rights in New Mexico

Surface water rights in the state of New Mexico are typically granted to individuals for diverting water from streams and rivers to irrigate crops and support food production. Now, the state has granted its first water rights permit to keep water in a river.

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Jennie Gordon: unique background positions First Lady to help

There’s a link between the first lady’s hunger initiative and her connection to Wyoming’s agricultural industry, according to Jessica Crowder, policy director for Western Landowners Alliance. “The health of the land and the health of the people who live on the land really are tied to the values that we appreciate in Wyoming,” Crowder said.

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Debate over extended elk hunt proposal

A debate recently heated up in Montana caused by the complexities of tying elk conflict reduction to access to private land.

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Groups strike consensus in debates over Wyoming’s migration corridors

A series of recommendations sent to the governor Monday laid out a possible blueprint for how Wyoming could protect and preserve its iconic migration corridors for years to come.

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Allison: Farm bill is a big win for every American

It didn’t appear in many front-page headlines, but Congress just passed a five-year, $867 billion piece of legislation in a bipartisan, landslide vote. In today’s political climate, this kind of thing doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it should be newsworthy.

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Wildlife

Elk test positive for brucellosis outside of Montana’s disease surveillance area

State officials say brucellosis has been found in elk in southwestern Montana’s Ruby Mountains, the latest evidence that the disease continues to slowly spread among wildlife in the Yellowstone region. Two elk tested positive for exposure to the disease during recent sampling by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

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Washington rancher provides a clear, though sleepy-eyed, view of ranching with wolves

After losing a calf to a confirmed wolf attack earlier this month, Anatone rancher Jay Holzmiller is doing all he can to prevent another such incident — and he wants to see a more proactive approach from state officials.

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Utah legislation proposes predator hunting to achieve deer and elk objectives

Utah House Bill 125, which expands the use of hunting predators to manage ungulate herds such as elk and deer, is one of the predator wildlife management bills moving through this year’s legislative agenda.

Read Story

Jaguars, snakes derail Arizona copper mine

A federal judge yesterday ruled that the Fish and Wildlife Service must redo an endangered species analysis that allowed other agencies to approve the Rosemont Copper project in the Coronado National Forest. The site lies within the range of America’s only jaguars, northern Mexican gartersnakes and other endangered species in the Santa Rita Mountains outside Tucson.

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New wildlife crossings in the West designed to save animals’ lives

More wildlife overpasses and underpasses are coming to highways in the western United States, thanks to a better understanding of migration corridors boosted by GPS collar technology.

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Grizzly captures, kills, down substantially in Wyoming

Wildlife managers relocated or killed substantially fewer grizzly bears in northwestern Wyoming in 2019 compared to 2018. Wyoming Game and Fish Department officials say abundant natural food such as berries helped keep bears away from livestock and other non-natural sources of food.

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Panel abandons griz depredation comp model, awards ranch $339K

An arbitration panel ruled January 27th that Wyoming Game and Fish Department should pay a Hot Springs County rancher $339,927 for stock killed by grizzly bears and mountain lions, almost four times the offer that Wyoming Game and Fish Commission regulations allowed. 

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USFWS: Trump regulations boost risk for migratory birds

The Trump administration’s controversial narrowing of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act will reduce environmental protections that can be expected from industry, the Fish and Wildlife Service predicted today. In proposed new regulations that have immediately prompted heated debate, the federal agency today acknowledged diminished private mitigation as one likely result of limiting the law’s coverage to the intentional killing of migratory birds.

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New Mexico ranchers say hungry elk are damaging property

Some northern New Mexico ranchers are asking state wildlife managers to do something about herds of elk they say are damaging property and eating hay that was stockpiled for cattle over the winter. Members of the Northern New Mexico Stockman’s Association reported the damage earlier this week and notified the agency that they would have to start shooting the elk. State law allows landowners to lethally remove animals that are causing damage on private property.

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Bighorn sheep released on tribal lands in North Dakota

Thirty bighorn sheep are running free on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation as part of a new agreement between the state of North Dakota and the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation. The bighorns brought from Montana were released Tuesday as part of a plan to reestablish the sheep in the western part of the state.

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House committee votes to overturn Trump ESA revisions

The House Natural Resources Committee voted today to approve a suite of bills along party lines, including legislation that would overturn the Trump administration’s controversial rules revising the Endangered Species Act. The full committee also voted to approve two bills that would advance the establishment of wildlife corridors on federal and Native American lands nationwide.

Read Story

Idaho agency wants to spend $408,000 a year to count wolves

Idaho’s top wildlife official on Tuesday requested authorization from state lawmakers to spend $408,000 to count wolves. The expense would become part of the agency’s annual budget to keep a running tally of the number of wolves in the state. Idaho stopped counting wolves in 2015 after it was no longer required to do so by USFWS following the lifting of protections for wolves under the ESA.

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Montana summit to focus on grizzly bear education, resources

State and Federal wildlife managers are offering a first-of-its-kind summit on grizzly bear education in Helena this week. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is bringing together groups across the state involved in human-bear conflict education to make sure they’re using consistent messages. The summit will also compile a catalogue of education offerings and other resources, ranging from grants for electric fencing to bear spray demonstrations.

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Ladder Ranch works to support sage grouse

On the Ladder Ranch, a multi-generation family works to keep their public lands ranching operation afloat while protecting the greater sage grouse.

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Lawsuit planned to stop Idaho-Wyoming natural gas pipeline

Two environmental groups have given notice they intend to file a lawsuit to stop a proposed underground natural gas pipeline from Idaho to Wyoming the groups say will harm protected grizzly bears and other wildlife.

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California’s monarch butterflies critically low for 2nd year

The western monarch butterfly population wintering along California’s coast remains critically low for the second year in a row (29,000 butterflies compared to compared to about 4.5 million in the 1980s). Scientists say the butterflies are at critically low levels in the Western United States due to the destruction of their milkweed habitat along their migratory route as housing expands into their territory and use of pesticides and herbicides increases.

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Lawmaker proposes wolf-free zones in southern Idaho

Some areas in Idaho would be declared wolf-free zones and other areas where the animals have killed livestock would have increased wolf-killing opportunities under legislation proposed yesterday by state Sen. Bert Brackett. The state Senate Resources and Environment Committee voted to clear the way for a hearing on the measure.

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Groups prepare to sue over grazing in Wyoming grizzly range

Conservationists worried that continued livestock grazing in a Wyoming forest could endanger grizzly bears are preparing to sue the U.S. government. Western Watersheds Project, Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Yellowstone to Uintas Connection allege a 2019 decision to allow grazing to continue in a large area of Bridger-Teton National Forest violates the ESA.

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Petition seeks federal protections for Rio Grande fish

Environmentalists are asking federal wildlife managers to use the Endangered Species Act to protect a fish found only in the Rio Grande in Texas and the Pecos River in New Mexico. WildEarth Guardians filed the petition with the Fish and Wildlife Service yesterday, saying it is part of a campaign focused on vulnerable species found in rivers and streams across the West.

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Updated conflict management resource available

People and Carnivores recently completed an update to their large carnivore conflict management resource which includes a list of peer-reviewed research papers, summarized and categorized, from the last 20 years focusing on North America.

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ESA scores a win with Colorado River fish

A humpbacked Colorado River fish that’s been federally protected for more than half a century has escaped from the edge of doom, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced today. In what officials are calling an Endangered Species Act success story, the federal agency is proposing to downlist the humpback chub from endangered to threatened status. The move would retain protections for the fish but also signify its “partial recovery” and ease some regulatory requirements.

Read Story

Wyoming executive order includes landowners in corridor designation process

In one of the most significant changes proposed by the new executive order, Wyoming Game and Fish Department wildlife managers won’t be the only people at the decision-making table when it comes to migration corridors. The governor will also have help from landowners and others on the ground and the state will support the formation of local working groups to help inform the designation of new corridors.

Read Story

Wyoming legislation proposes to compensate ranchers for wolf depredation

A new bill introduced in the Wyoming Legislature this week would create a new compensation program for ranchers whose livestock is killed or damaged by gray wolves outside of game hunting zones. the legislation would create a $90,000 fund to compensate ranchers for any losses related to gray wolf attacks, and would be active for two years.

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Why aren’t more wildlife crossings being built?

Although they are a proven benefit to drivers and animals alike, bridges and tunnels across roads aren’t being built fast enough, experts say.

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Trump admin launches review of grizzly bears

The grizzly bear’s future as a protected species will get another gander, as the Fish and Wildlife Service today initiated a full-bore study of the iconic animal. The review will mark the federal agency’s first comprehensive update on the grizzly bear since 2011 and could lead to proposed revisions of its Endangered Species Act status.

Read Story

Ahead of vote, wolves may already be living in Colorado

One day after a measure to introduce wolves was placed on this year’s ballot, CPW announced that a wolf pack was spotted, photographed and video recorded by hunters in Colorado back in October.

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Montana pays for predators

The state of Montana has made more payments to ranchers for livestock killed by predators in 2019 than any previous year, paying out more than $247,000.

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Wolves on the ballot in Colorado

It’s official, wolf reintroduction will be decided on Colorado’s 2020 ballot. On Monday, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office announced the campaign had gathered an estimated 139,333 valid signatures — above the 124,632 signatures needed to earn a place the 2020 ballot. If it passes, the measure would require state wildlife managers to reintroduce wolves to Western Colorado by the end of 2023.

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Grizzlies not drawn to elk hunts, study finds

A study by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team shows that late season elk hunts provide food sources in the form of gut piles for resident grizzly bears, but the timing of transient bears moving into the park does not coincide with the hunting season.

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Interior Department to formally define “habitat” in the ESA

The Interior Department is moving to formally define “habitat” in the Endangered Species Act, part of an anticipated second wave of changes to the bedrock conservation law under the Trump administration. According to a notice published Monday, the addition to the ESA is undergoing interagency review.

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Congress funds nonlethal conflict-prevention positions

Article by NRDC staff attorney Zack Strong shows how organizations (USDA-Wildlife Services, NRDC and Defenders of Wildlife), when focused on shared values, can work together to provide agricultural producers valuable tools to prevent damage and losses caused by predators.

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Wyoming governor releases draft executive order on migration corridors

A draft executive order released by Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon lays out rules for how the governor will designate wildlife corridors. Rancher Marissa Taylor served on the advisory group that helped shape the EO. She responded positively to the draft order, with particular praise for its acknowledgement of private landowners’ efforts to preserve migration habitats.

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25 years of re-living with wolves in Yellowstone

Park Service Veteran Norm Bishop tried to prepare the Yellowstone region for wolves. Today he reflects on what we’ve learned.

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Delisting gray wolf leads end-of-year legislation blitz

Lawmakers introduced a flurry of bills before leaving the capital for the holidays, including legislation to delist the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act. S. 3140 would direct the Interior Department to issue a rule removing the gray wolf from federal protections.

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Canadian conflict prevention efforts important with expanding grizzly bear population

The Waterton Biosphere Reserves efforts to prevent conflict prevention stand as an example for communities facing conflicts with grizzly bears for the first time as the population continues to expand its distribution.

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Emergency-only feeding to reduce conflict

The Bridger-Teton National Forest plans to reduce elk congregating at winter feed grounds and Chronic Wasting Disease by feeding only in emergency situations to reduce damage or commingling with livestock.

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Debate over extended elk hunt proposal

A debate recently heated up in Montana caused by the complexities of tying elk conflict reduction to access to private land.

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WLA hosts meeting to work on solutions to ranching with large carnivores

Grizzly bear and wolf predation is one of the biggest challenges that ranchers face. Potential solutions can benefit livestock producers, conservationists and wildlife agencies. Over 100 people with a stake in grizzly bear management in Montana convened with the Western Landowners Alliance, Ruby Valley Strategic Alliance and Madison Valley Ranchlands Group at the Alder Firehall Nov. 15.

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Groups strike consensus in debates over Wyoming’s migration corridors

A series of recommendations sent to the governor Monday laid out a possible blueprint for how Wyoming could protect and preserve its iconic migration corridors for years to come.

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Western landowners release new guide to reduce conflict

Western Landowners Alliance (WLA) has released a wildlife guide produced by and for landowners and practitioners 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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Working Lands Economics

Hunting is declining, creating a crisis for conservation funding

Americans’ interest in hunting is on the decline, cutting into funding for conservation, which stems largely from hunting licenses, permits and taxes on firearms, bows and other equipment. Even as more people are engaging in outdoor activities, hunting license sales have fallen from a peak of about 17 million in the early ’80s to 15 million last year, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data.

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BLM and Forest Service announce 2020 grazing fees

The Federal grazing fee for 2020 will be $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM) for public lands administered by the BLM and $1.35 per head month (HM) for lands managed by the USDA Forest Service. This is the same as the 2019 fee. The newly calculated grazing fee was determined by a congressional formula and takes effect March 1, 2020.

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Finance 101 webinar series: the basics of conservation transactions

David Hoffer of Lyme Timber Company joined the Conservation Finance Network for a two-part webinar series. In part 1, David walks through an overview of financing terms and concepts, including basic transaction structures, how different participants come together in conservation transactions, the time value of money, and key considerations affecting financial returns. In part 2, David reinforces those financing terms and concepts in a series of case studies illustrating how real deals come together.

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Last year’s historic floods ruined 20 million acres of farmland

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, heavy spring rains across the nation in 2019 caused nearly 20 million acres of farmland to go unplanted. Farmers incurred, collectively, billions of dollars in losses, disrupting rural economies across the country as well as the communities they support.

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Mountain West land values in 2019

Each year the USDA, through the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), reports on agricultural land values. Generally speaking farm real estate average values per acre have stayed relatively stable in New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming from 2015 to 2019. Across the Mountain Region, values have risen 8% over five years in large part due to a significant rise in values in both Idaho and Utah. In Idaho, farm real estate average land value per acre was upwards of $3000 / acre in 2019. The Mountain Region includes Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

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New report outlines policies to generate additional revenue for landowners

In a new report, the Center for American Progress outlines policies that could generate additional revenue for farmers and ranchers who adopt climate-friendly practices, like storing more carbon in soils, installing energy-efficient technology and protecting land from development. The think tank estimated the proposals could eventually help landowners earn an additional $8 billion a year through federal investments and their own cost savings.

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Group working on new carbon credit trading platform

Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy has initiated a working group to develop a U.S. protocol for paying ranchers and farmers to store carbon in their soil.

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Working group to develop protocol for storing carbon

Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy has initiated a working group, which includes WLA, to develop a United States protocol for paying ranchers and farmers to store carbon in their soil.

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Ecosystem services market consortium to start selling carbon credits

The Ecosystem Services Market Consortium, founded by some of the nation’s largest agribusinesses, will begin selling carbon credits in January or February, said the organization’s executive director, Debbie Reed.

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Bennet unveils discussion draft to create new tax credit for farmers and ranchers to capture carbon in the land sector

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today released a discussion draft of legislation to establish a new tax credit for farmers and ranchers, state and local governments, and tribes, to sequester carbon in agriculture, forestry, rangelands, and wetlands.

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Valuing California’s ecosystem services

The ecosystem services of working landscapes in California are essential to the state’s future. To protect them, they must have an economic value. Article features WLA Advisor Stephanie Larson

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Survey: Montanans want more state conservation spending

Montanans care a lot about public land access and conserving wildlife and they like the idea of the state spending more money on those things, according to survey results released this week by the Montana Outdoor Heritage Project.

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Cattle call on the eastern plains

Fifth-generation Flying Diamond Ranch builds land stewardship into their business model.

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Water

Arizona farmers push back against tracking data on groundwater wells

The agriculture industry is pushing back against efforts in the Arizona Legislature to track the amount of water being drawn from large groundwater wells in rural areas around the state. State water officials say getting the data would help Arizona better plan for future water use. But the agriculture industry sees bills to install measuring devices and submit annual reports, for example, as moves toward regulation.

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Colorado ranchers get help from unexpected source

Agricultural producers in Southwest Colorado, mostly cow-calf ranchers, expended less labor to access the same amount of water to irrigate their pastures since implementing improvements to their irrigation ditches as part of a community-wide project. They also have seen improvement in riparian habitats. A new video portrays the impact to the community of these project improvements.

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Army Corps trades Alaska wetlands for sewage system fixes

By law, the Army Corps of Engineers must ensure that Alaska wetlands damage is offset by restoring or preserving other wetlands nearby. But that’s not what’s happening on Alaska’s Arctic tundra, and a precedent-setting permit there could have significant consequences for other developers, including those behind the controversial Pebble mine.

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Emergency water rights bill heads to Idaho governor’s desk

Legislation granting an emergency water right when crews are trying to clean up spills in Idaho waterways passed the House on Tuesday and is headed to the governor’s desk. The House approved the measure the state Department of Environmental Quality says is needed to prevent someone from contending their water right is being violated due to an emergency cleanup.

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California governor launches water management plan

Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a new plan for California’s water yesterday that he said would boost conservation, double the state’s salmon population and avoid drawn-out courtroom battles. The vision relies on “voluntary agreements” that will move the state away from the water wars that pit agricultural interests against environmentalists, and the wet northern part of the state against its arid south.

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Opinion: Conservation and restoration of our precious land

The future of New Mexico over the next 100 years will depend on actions taken today to ensure our natural resources continue to provide our most essential needs. The New Mexico Land Conservancy, the New Mexico Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the New Mexico Land Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife and Audubon New Mexico urge New Mexicans to speak up during the current legislative session in favor of the New Mexico Agricultural and Natural Resources Trust Fund Act.

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Saving water for Utah farms: ‘Banking’ may be the key in face of growth

Most states across the West have adopted some sort of water sharing program that provides more flexibility for users in time of need, or in time of excess. Called “water banking,” the strategy essentially allows water right holders to allow others to use their water and make revenue from it. On Wednesday, Utah inched closer to implementing its own program via a legislative proposal, that if passed, would institute a 10-year pilot project.

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New Mexico needs realistic, sustainable water plan

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has long talked about the importance of water to the arid state, even campaigning on the idea of creating a 50-year plan to guide management of the finite resource. Her administration is now asking lawmakers for more money and manpower to start what some experts say will be a multiyear endeavor.

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New California groundwater regulations could reshape water use and agriculture

California’s first attempt at regulating a precious resource — groundwater — begins Friday, and experts expect a rocky start. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which requires critically overdrafted basins to balance their pumping and get on a “sustainable” path by 2040, could fundamentally reshape water use and agriculture in California. Hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland are expected to be forced out of production.

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Final Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule unveiled

The final Waters of the U.S. rule unveiled by the Trump administration today eliminates Clean Water Act protections for the majority of the nation’s wetlands and more than 18% of streams, and replaces regulations set in the Reagan administration.

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Trump admin fast-tracks Colorado River pipeline

The Trump administration has put one of the largest new water projects on the Colorado River on the fast track, raising concerns among environmentalists. Utah first proposed building a 140-mile pipeline from Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona border more than a decade ago. Last fall, the Utah Division of Water Resources updated the proposal, removing a hydropower plant and cutting $100 million from its price tag.

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Wetlands conservation program marks 30 years, over $6B in grants

The conservation grant program that has helped preserve and restore nearly 30 million acres of wetlands across the continent has turned 30. President George H.W. Bush signed the North American Wetlands Conservation Act into law in December 1989, establishing the grant program as waterfowl populations declined because of habitat loss.

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Study finds flooding damage to levees is cumulative–and often invisible

Recent research finds that repeated flooding events have a cumulative effect on the structural integrity of earthen levees, suggesting that the increase in extreme weather events associated with climate change could pose significant challenges for the nation’s aging levee system.

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Ag water users profiled in new Colorado River report

A year-long effort to bring the perspectives of key agricultural water user interests into the current Colorado River Compact discussions culminated in the release of two special “Water Review” reports.

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Last year’s historic floods ruined 20 million acres of farmland

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, heavy spring rains across the nation in 2019 caused nearly 20 million acres of farmland to go unplanted. Farmers incurred, collectively, billions of dollars in losses, disrupting rural economies across the country as well as the communities they support.

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California moves toward single water tunnel under delta

California is moving forward with its biggest water project in decades, a single tunnel beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta that will help move Northern California water south to cities and farms.

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Final Trump WOTUS rule expected soon

The Trump administration is expected to finalize a rule limiting which waterways are protected by the Clean Water Act this month.

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New research finds ranchers consider diverse factors in managing their land

A new study evaluates the complex decision-making process of how ranchers choose to manage their land, more specifically how they choose to irrigate their land and why. They found that various reasons go into deciding how land is managed—not just money.

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Colorado water rights abandonment list forthcoming

On July 1, 2020, the Colorado Division of Water Resources will publish its initial decennial list of water rights considered to be abandoned. Water right holders may object, and if necessary, protest in water court. Objections to the initial list will be due to DWR on July 1, 2021.

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New in-stream flow rights in New Mexico

Surface water rights in the state of New Mexico are typically granted to individuals for diverting water from streams and rivers to irrigate crops and support food production. Now, the state has granted its first water rights permit to keep water in a river.

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Importance of restoration projects on private lands

The ponds, wetlands and streams on Idaho’s private working lands provide critical hydrologic, ecological and habitat benefits that extend far beyond the fence lines.

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On the Range

Summer field course: Western Ranch Management and Ecosystem Stewardship

Apply systems ecology concepts to management of Western ranch lands
through hands-on learning, selected readings, and observations and discussions with ranch managers, scientists and fellow students. The course will draw on multiple disciplines, including agriculture, animal sciences, business, ecology, forestry, rangeland sciences, watershed protection and wildlife management and conservation through a four-week course, May 18 – June 10, 2020, organized as two 10-day field sessions.

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Soil carbon is a valuable resource, but all soil carbon is not created equal

Building up soil carbon can help cut greenhouse gas concentrations in the air. It also improves soil quality in many ways: It gives soil structure, stores water and nutrients that plants need and feeds vital soil organisms. However, current efforts to promote carbon storage in soil miss a key point: Not all soil carbon is the same.

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Opinion: Conservation and restoration of our precious land

The future of New Mexico over the next 100 years will depend on actions taken today to ensure our natural resources continue to provide our most essential needs. The New Mexico Land Conservancy, the New Mexico Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the New Mexico Land Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife and Audubon New Mexico urge New Mexicans to speak up during the current legislative session in favor of the New Mexico Agricultural and Natural Resources Trust Fund Act.

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Hunting is declining, creating a crisis for conservation funding

Americans’ interest in hunting is on the decline, cutting into funding for conservation, which stems largely from hunting licenses, permits and taxes on firearms, bows and other equipment. Even as more people are engaging in outdoor activities, hunting license sales have fallen from a peak of about 17 million in the early ’80s to 15 million last year, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data.

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Horse rich & dirt poor: film on wild horse management in the West

A film about the complex issue of wild horse management in the West is continuing to make the rounds of film festivals, community town hall events, and is also being widely viewed through social media channels. The film explains how wild horses and burros are devastating precious riparian areas and crucial habitats for sensitive species and megafauna. 

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The key to this ranch’s successful grazing strategy? People!

When we talk about grazing management, we usually think about how to manage livestock, and we think of forage and the soil below it. But there’s one more factor to consider – people – and that’s the key to the success of Bill and Dana Milton. The success of their 30-year experiment in Holistic Management is, in large part, thanks to the relationships they built with a federal agency and researchers.

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BLM and Forest Service announce 2020 grazing fees

The Federal grazing fee for 2020 will be $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM) for public lands administered by the BLM and $1.35 per head month (HM) for lands managed by the USDA Forest Service. This is the same as the 2019 fee. The newly calculated grazing fee was determined by a congressional formula and takes effect March 1, 2020.

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Development of soil enrichment project protocol

The Climate Action Reserve is developing a Soil Enrichment Project Protocol that will provide guidance on how to quantify, monitor, report and verify agricultural practices that enhance carbon storage in soils. The primary greenhouse gas (GHG) benefit targeted will be the accrual of additional carbon in agricultural soils, with hopes to incentivize GHG emission reductions from other sources, such as N2O from fertilizer use.

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Opinion: To improve conservation, start with listening to rural landowners

With more than 50 percent of the U.S. designated as agricultural land, we are seeing greater emphasis being placed on fostering landscapes where conservation and agriculture sustainably coexist. If we’re going to make progress on global environmental issues, we need ranchers, farmers, and other landowners to get involved. The simple act of listening to them can be the place to start.

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Outcome-based grazing: meet the participating ranches

The Bureau of Land Management implements an initiative known as Outcome-Based Grazing Authorizations. It is designed to offer a more collaborative approach between the BLM and its partners within the livestock grazing community when issuing grazing authorizations to permit grazing on public lands. Meet a handful of demonstration projects testing out outcome-based grazing on specific ranches around the West that are being used to share knowledge, identify, demonstrate, and develop best practices.

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Healthy soil is key to feeding the world

Conventional wisdom says we need industrial agriculture to feed the world. Not so, says geologist David Montgomery: Practices that focus on creating healthy soil can transform agriculture.

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New research finds ranchers consider diverse factors in managing their land

A new study evaluates the complex decision-making process of how ranchers choose to manage their land, more specifically how they choose to irrigate their land and why. They found that various reasons go into deciding how land is managed—not just money.

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Could farming secure the future of America’s national parks?

An experimental project underway at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio, about 20 miles south of Cleveland, allows farmers to be stewards of the land and protect its rich cultural heritage.

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WA wildlife department to purchase ag land

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife seeks to expand access to hunting and fishing with the purchase of agricultural lands in Asotin and Garfield Counties.

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30 Harvests

Today farmers face the largest challenge of this generation – creating sustainable food systems and solving climate change. And they only have 30 harvests until 2050 to do it.

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Cattle call on the eastern plains

Fifth-generation Flying Diamond Ranch builds land stewardship into their business model.

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Colorado Women in Ranching: A spirit of nurturing, sustainability is alive at San Juan Ranch

Defying convention is standard at San Juan Ranch. And with the mounting pressures from prolonged drought, climate change and unsustainably low crop prices, Sullivan and her partner George Whitten’s idiosyncratic take on what it means to be a rancher in the West might save their operation, and also help others inevitably facing the same challenges.

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Forest & Fire

BLM to fund 11,000 miles of fuel breaks in West to help fight wildfires

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has announced plans to fund 11,000 miles of strategic fuel breaks in Idaho, Oregon, Washington state, California, Nevada and Utah in an effort to help control wildfires. The fuel breaks are intended to prop up fire mitigation efforts and help protect firefighters, communities and natural resources.

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Nearly broke, Oregon forestry department seeks emergency infusion

Seven months into the state’s two-year budget cycle, officials at the Oregon Department of Forestry say they’ve blown through most of the budget that lawmakers approved for the entire biennium and are asking lawmakers for an emergency cash infusion – from $52 million to $132 million – otherwise, agency officials say, they’ll have exhausted their budget by March.

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Oregon timber companies, environmentalists sign ‘historic’ pact

Environmental groups and timber companies in Oregon, which have clashed for decades, yesterday unveiled a road map for overhauling forest practice regulations. The agreement came after the two sides quietly held meetings in Salem and Portland over the last month to try to find common ground, instead of filing competing initiative petitions and lawsuits.

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Forestry pioneer retires from Northern Arizona University

A Northern Arizona University forestry expert who was ahead of his time in urging communities across the West to thin dense stands of trees and set fire to the landscape as a way to ward off catastrophic wildfires has retired from his position at the school. Members of Congress, state legislators, the U.S. Forest Service and countless others looked to Wally Covington for science-based advice on how to restore forests to a condition when natural fires regularly would burn the undergrowth and small trees.

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Prescribed burns benefit bees

Freshly burned longleaf pine forests have more than double the total number of bees and bee species than similar forests that have not burned in over 50 years, according to new research from North Carolina State University.

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New synthesis on ecology, history, ecohydrology, and management of pinyon and juniper woodlands

This synthesis reviews current knowledge of pinyon and juniper ecosystems, in both persistent and newly expanded woodlands, for managers, researchers and the interested public. They draw from a large volume of research papers to centralize information on these semiarid woodlands.

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With wildfires on the rise, indigenous fire management is poised to make a comeback

As the world watches bushfires take a massive toll on Australia, experts in indigenous fire management are reporting an uptick in interest in their work. While challenging at times, the USFS is already incorporating indigenous techniques into fire management projects and is working with tribal leaders on land stewardship efforts, thanks to collaborative partnerships that have been piloted in ancestral territories of the Karuk tribe in northwestern California.

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Emails show administration manipulated wildfire science to promote logging

Political appointees at the Department of the Interior have sought to play up climate pollution from California wildfires while downplaying emissions from fossil fuels as a way of promoting more logging in the nation’s forests, internal emails obtained by the Guardian reveal.

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Is mowing or close grazing of rangelands as beneficial as prescribed burning?

When it comes to restoring rangeland habitats, there is no replacement for “prescribed fire,” according to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) ecologists. A recent study shows that fire is better than mowing because it restores soil health and promotes growth of grass that is more nutritious for grazing cattle.

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Oregon governor proposes new wildfire protection plan

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is calling for a major expansion in the state’s wildfire response plans in a new legislative concept. The draft proposal outlines the governor’s long-term vision for how the state should adapt to wildfire, reduce wildfire risks on forestland and improve fire suppression.

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Tipping point identified for deforestation that leads to rapid forest loss

University of Cincinnati geography researchers have identified a tipping point for deforestation that leads to rapid forest loss. Global satellite imagery shows transitions occur quickly after blocks of forest are cut in half.

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Worsening wildfires stoke health concerns

Increasingly intense wildfires are scorching forests from across the Western U.S. to Australia and stoking concern among residents and health professionals about long-term health impacts from smoke exposure.

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Research to help land managers take risk-analysis approach to wildfires

New digital tools developed by Oregon State University will enable land managers to better adapt to the new reality of large wildfires through analytics that guide planning and suppression across jurisdictional boundaries that fires typically don’t adhere to.

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California eases way for land clearing to prevent wildfires

California regulators said Tuesday that they have streamlined the state’s permit process to make it faster to approve tree-thinning projects designed to slow massive wildfires that have devastated communities in recent years.

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Rebuilding forests post-fire

A legal battle over a plan to clear dead trees and burn them in a biomass plant is an example of a philosophical divide in California over how best to manage forests as wildfires grow larger and more deadly and destructive.

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Study identifies key western forests

A study by Oregon State University researchers has identified forests in the western United States that should be preserved for their potential to mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration, as well as to enhance biodiversity.

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Funding, Employment, etc.

USDA reminds producers of Feb. 28 deadline for CRP general signup

There is less than two weeks before the enrollment deadline of February 28, 2020 for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) 2020 general signup. This signup is available to farmers and private landowners who are either enrolling for the first time or re-enrolling for another 10- to 15-year term.

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Montana EQIP and RCPP application deadlines announced

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Montana has set a March 13, 2020, application cutoff for agricultural operators to be considered for the next conservation program funding cycle through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

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Now accepting applications for TomKat Ranch Regenerative Ranching 2020 Summer Internships

The Regenerative Ranching Summer Internship (June – August) is a paid educational opportunity that provides broad exposure and experience for individuals interested in regenerative food systems. This program is designed to offer knowledge, experience, and connections to the next generation of regenerative food system professionals. Applications will be accepted through March 13, 2020.

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Applications open for High Plains soil health demo

Producer applications are currently being accepted to participate in FARMS (Farmers Advancing Regenerative Management Systems), a Soil Health Demo program new to the High Plains region. Through this program, producers from Kansas, Nebraska and eastern Colorado are eligible to receive financial, technical and social support as they work toward improving soil health on their farming operations for the next three years. Applications are due by March 15, 2020.
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Summer field course: Western Ranch Management and Ecosystem Stewardship

Apply systems ecology concepts to management of Western ranch lands
through hands-on learning, selected readings, and observations and discussions with ranch managers, scientists and fellow students. The course will draw on multiple disciplines, including agriculture, animal sciences, business, ecology, forestry, rangeland sciences, watershed protection and wildlife management and conservation through a four-week course, May 18 – June 10, 2020, organized as two 10-day field sessions.

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Ranch apprenticeship at Bar V Ranch, Arizona

Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation department is offering a six-month internship-apprenticeship to a self-motivated beginning or aspiring rancher on the Bar V Ranch southeast of Tucson, Arizona. The Bar V Ranch is a 14,000-acre working ranch composed of semi-desert grasslands and riparian corridors north of the Empire Mountains in the Cienega Creek watershed. Applications are due February 21, 2020.

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Grassfed Exchange 2020 Herd Fellows application open

The Grassfed Exchange 2020 planning committee is excited to invite young farmers to apply for The Herd Fellows Scholarship. This is a scholarship to the Grassfed Exchange Conference in Fort Worth, Texas on May 27-29, 2020. The application deadline is March 1, 2020.

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New Mexico Coalition to Enhance Working Lands Coordinator

NMCEWL, a network of groups and individuals whose purpose purpose is to support and enhance ongoing efforts to improve the health and productivity of New Mexico working lands that support agriculture and the environment, is seeking a full-time coordinator for a two-year grant funded position. They are seeking someone who has a passion for championing and supporting the ongoing and diverse efforts of agricultural producers, other land and natural resource managers, organizations, and agencies currently engaged in their efforts to improve working lands in New Mexico.

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Project Administrator for Ranchers Stewardship Alliance, Montana

Ranchers Stewardship Alliance (RSA) is seeking to hire a Project Administrator. RSA, a nonprofit organization led by conservation-minded volunteers many of whom are ranchers, focuses on the importance of ranch families and their contributions to their communities, to the ecosystems they manage, and to feeding the world. Application review will begin March 2, 2020. Submit applications to ranchstewards@gmail.com.

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Range Ecologist/Wildlife Biologist in Gillette, Wyoming

Precision Wildlife Resources is announcing an opening for a Range Ecologist/Wildlife Biologist located in Gillette, Wyoming to support their engagement with Audubon’s Conservation Ranching Program throughout Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. Applications are due by March 14, 2020.

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RFP for Landscape Conservation Catalyst Fund

The Network for Landscape Conservation is requesting proposals for the second annual funding round of the Landscape Conservation Catalyst Fund.
Through generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Catalyst Fund will distribute approximately $335,000 in funding this year through competitive grants to Landscape Conservation Partnerships that are poised for catalytic growth as they move from collective vision to collective action. Pre-proposals are due March 13, 2020.

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Assistant ranch manager position near Model, Colorado

Holistic ranching career opportunity on an 80,000 acre, remote, progressive ranch, one hour from the nearest town (Model). The candidate will work underneath the company general manager, will reside on the ranch and will be expected to learn, help plan, execute and eventually share in certain of the ranch’s management of grazing, range ecology, livestock, marketing, infrastructure, maintenance, finances, and more… Please email replies along with a one-page cover letter, resume and three references to hunt@machocreeklodge.com. Salary DOE/competitive with benefits. Applications will be accepted on or before February 10, 2020.

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Seeking ranch help at Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch, Colorado

Hiring ranch help! Canyon of the Ancients is a small working guest ranch located in southwest Colorado that raises grassfed beef, lamb and organic vegetables, and free ranch eggs while also providing luxurious lodging to tourists from around the world. They are looking for a couple or individual who can help on the ranching/farming/livestock part of business.

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Workshop helps Oregon’s working lands change hands

In Oregon, 10.5 million acres, or 64%, of the state’s farm and range land is expected to change hands over the next 20 years as the average farmer and rancher reaches retirement age. For landowners who have questions about passing their land on to the next generation, and for beginning farmers and ranchers wondering how they can access affordable land, the Oregon nonprofit Rogue Farm Corps is convening a day-long event on February 13 in Pendleton.

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BLM to consider proposed revisions to grazing regulations

The Bureau of Land Management has published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement to consider proposed revisions to the agency’s grazing regulations. The proposed revisions aim to “update, modernize and streamline the grazing regulations and provide greater flexibility for land and resource management.” Comments on the proposed revisions may be submitted in writing until February 28, 2020.

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Sentinel Landscapes Partnership announces a new interactive landowner resources tool

The Sentinel Landscapes Partnership recently introduced an Interactive Landowner Resources Tool. By compiling over 300 landowner assistance programs in a single, user-friendly location, this product makes it easier for you to find voluntary, state and federal landowner assistance programs. In addition, the updated website includes interactive GIS maps and information pertaining to local Sentinel Landscape events, project highlights and funding data.

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Corridors and Crossings Senior Program Officer

The Center for Large Landscape Conservation is seeking a Senior Program Officer to join their Corridors and Crossings program. The SPO will oversee the implementation of the program’s strategic plan; provide policy and technical expertise on local, state, federal, and tribal corridor and connectivity initiatives; and manage programmatic budgets, timelines, and workflows.

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Farm manager couple wanted at Elkstone Farm, Colorado

Elkstone Farm is a permaculture-inspired farm in the mountains of northwest Colorado, near Steamboat Springs. The farm owner is currently looking to hire a farm manager couple to partner to take the farm to the next level in its second decade.

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NM Agricultural Workforce Development Pilot Program

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Workforce Development Pilot Program (AWD) offers incentives to the state’s agricultural businesses to hire interns. The AWD Pilot Program is intended to provide hands-on educational opportunities for students aspiring to careers in agriculture, as well as young or beginning farmers and ranchers. Applications are accepted until February 28, 2020.

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Center for Collaborative Conservation’s Fellows Program

The CCC Fellows Program challenges students, faculty and practitioners to use a collaborative approach to help communities improve their livelihoods and contribute to local and global conservation goals. The deadline for applications is February 21, 2020.

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Working Lands Internship Program

The Montana Rangeland Resource Committee and Rangeland Resources program at Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) are seeking students and hosts for a Summer 2020 working lands internship program. Applications are due February 1, 2020.

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Assistant Professor of Wildlife Conservation on Working Lands at CSU

This new faculty position will add much needed expertise on wildlife conservation on working/private lands. With a 20% extension appointment, the faculty member will contribute to research and teaching, as well as playing a critical role in outreach across the CSU extension network in Colorado and beyond. Applications are due January 31, 2020.

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FSA Grasslands Conservation Reserve Program (GCRP) sign-up period

The sign-up period for CRP Grasslands in 2020 runs from March 16, 2020 to May 15, 2020.

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NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) accepting proposals

NRCS RCPP is currently accepting FY 2020 proposals. Potential partners are invited to propose RCPP projects where NRCS and partners co-invest in impactful and innovative solutions to on-farm, watershed, and regional natural resource concerns.

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FSA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) enrollment open

The 2020 CRP enrollment period began on December 9. The deadline for agricultural producers to sign up for general CRP is February 28, 2020, while signup for continuous CRP is ongoing.

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EPA Environmental Justice Grants opportunity

The Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program provides funding to support community-based organizations in their efforts to collaborate and partner with local stakeholder groups as they develop and implement community-driven solutions that address environmental and/or public health issues for underserved communities. Applications are due February 7, 2020.

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FSA encourages producers to enroll in Agriculture Risk and Price Loss Coverage Programs

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) encourages agricultural producers to enroll now in the Agriculture Risk Loss (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs. March 15, 2020 is the enrollment deadline for the 2019 crop year.

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Coordinator for the Coalition to Enhance Working Lands (CEWL) in New Mexico

NMCEWL (www.nmcewl.org) is seeking a full-time coordinator for a two-year grant funded position. We are seeking someone who has a passion for championing and supporting the ongoing and diverse efforts of agricultural producers, other land and natural resource managers, organizations, and agencies currently engaged in efforts to improve working lands in New Mexico.

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Rose Foundation invites applications for projects to protect California wildlands

Through its California Wildlands Grassroots Fund, the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment will award grants of up to $7,500 to projects designed to permanently protect intact wildlands on both public and private lands in order to preserve California’s wilderness and native biological diversity. Deadline to apply is February 15, 2020.

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NRCS seeks comments on ACEP interim rule

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) seeks public comments on its interim rule for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), USDA’s premier conservation easement program that helps landowners protect working agricultural lands and wetlands. Comments will be accepted through March 6, 2020.

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WLA in the News

WLA Logo

Opinion: Conservation and restoration of our precious land

The future of New Mexico over the next 100 years will depend on actions taken today to ensure our natural resources continue to provide our most essential needs. The New Mexico Land Conservancy, the New Mexico Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the New Mexico Land Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife and Audubon New Mexico urge New Mexicans to speak up during the current legislative session in favor of the New Mexico Agricultural and Natural Resources Trust Fund Act.

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Editorial: Using oil surplus to help restore habitat worth the investment

A bill that would dedicate a portion of the state’s record oil and gas revenues to a permanent fund for habitat restoration and sustainable agriculture projects deserves serious consideration from lawmakers, and it’s good to see support for it from a broad coalition of agricultural and environmental groups.

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New Mexico bill would divert oil and gas money to restoration

Skyrocketing oil and natural gas production in southeastern New Mexico continues to produce record-setting state revenue. A broad coalition of agricultural and environmental groups believe some of that money should help restore the state’s land and water.

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Wyoming governor releases draft executive order on migration corridors

A draft executive order released by Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon lays out rules for how the governor will designate wildlife corridors. Rancher Marissa Taylor served on the advisory group that helped shape the EO. She responded positively to the draft order, with particular praise for its acknowledgement of private landowners’ efforts to preserve migration habitats.

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Group working on new carbon credit trading platform

Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy has initiated a working group to develop a U.S. protocol for paying ranchers and farmers to store carbon in their soil.

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Working group to develop protocol for storing carbon

Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy has initiated a working group, which includes WLA, to develop a United States protocol for paying ranchers and farmers to store carbon in their soil.

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Jennie Gordon: unique background positions First Lady to help

There’s a link between the first lady’s hunger initiative and her connection to Wyoming’s agricultural industry, according to Jessica Crowder, policy director for Western Landowners Alliance. “The health of the land and the health of the people who live on the land really are tied to the values that we appreciate in Wyoming,” Crowder said.

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WLA hosts meeting to work on solutions to ranching with large carnivores

Grizzly bear and wolf predation is one of the biggest challenges that ranchers face. Potential solutions can benefit livestock producers, conservationists and wildlife agencies. Over 100 people with a stake in grizzly bear management in Montana convened with the Western Landowners Alliance, Ruby Valley Strategic Alliance and Madison Valley Ranchlands Group at the Alder Firehall Nov. 15.

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Survey: Montanans want more state conservation spending

Montanans care a lot about public land access and conserving wildlife and they like the idea of the state spending more money on those things, according to survey results released this week by the Montana Outdoor Heritage Project.

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Groups strike consensus in debates over Wyoming’s migration corridors

A series of recommendations sent to the governor Monday laid out a possible blueprint for how Wyoming could protect and preserve its iconic migration corridors for years to come.

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Cattle call on the eastern plains

Fifth-generation Flying Diamond Ranch builds land stewardship into their business model.

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Western landowners release new guide to reduce conflict

Western Landowners Alliance (WLA) has released a wildlife guide produced by and for landowners and practitioners 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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Allison: Farm bill is a big win for every American

It didn’t appear in many front-page headlines, but Congress just passed a five-year, $867 billion piece of legislation in a bipartisan, landslide vote. In today’s political climate, this kind of thing doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it should be newsworthy.

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Colorado Women in Ranching: A spirit of nurturing, sustainability is alive at San Juan Ranch

Defying convention is standard at San Juan Ranch. And with the mounting pressures from prolonged drought, climate change and unsustainably low crop prices, Sullivan and her partner George Whitten’s idiosyncratic take on what it means to be a rancher in the West might save their operation, and also help others inevitably facing the same challenges.

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