July 2015 Newsletter
Partners for Conservation

Partners for Conservation Hosts Roundtable
On Monday July 20th Partners for Conservation hosted a roundtable with NRCS Chief Jason Weller in Helena, Montana.   Participants included ranchers from Utah, Wyoming and Oregon,  NRCS Chief Weller and representatives of the Montana Association of Conservation Districts.  Also in attendance were representatives of the Sage Grouse Initiative and the Utah Grazing Improvement Program.  The group talked for  an hou on the challenges and opportunities of public-private partnerships in sagebrush habitats as well as the collaborative accomplishments of the Sage Grouse Initiative since its inception in 2010.  After the roundtable, there was a press call where Chief Weller announced the new NRCS publication Sage Grouse Initiative - Success on the Range and the attendees fielded questions from reporters.  Immediately after the roundtable Chief Weller went to the Montana Capitol to meet with Governor Bullock and sign a memorandum of understanding with the State of Montana to coordinate the activities included in the Montana state plan for sage-grouse conservation with the investments of the NRCS Sage Grouse Initiative.  To learn more about the day's events read this article from the Western Livestock Journal.

Public-Private Partnership in Utah
The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), its public and nonprofit partners and especially landowners have been putting an amazing amount of conservation on the ground through the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI). Since its inception in 2010 SGI has completed projects on over 1,100 ranches in 11 states conserving over 6,000 square miles.  One of the ranches that has participated in SGI is the Della Ranch in northwest Utah owned and managed by PFC board member Jay Tanner and his family.  The Tanners, their neighbors and partners in western Box Elder County have treated thousands of acres of encroaching junipers which have degraded sagebrush steppe range conditions for sage-grouse, other wildlife species and for cattle. The Tanners, like most operations in the area, ranch on a combination of private and public land.  While the bulk of the juniper work in the area has been accomplished on private land, public land managers at the Bureau of Land Management are also beginning to implement similar juniper control operations which are key to improving the functionality of the landscape.  The Tanners have also partnered extensively with researchers from Utah State University to study both the vegetative response to habitat treatments  and the response of sage-grouse. The combined efforts of landowners, agencies and partners to conserve sage grouse habitat, on both public and private land, are vitally important if a listing is to be avoided this fall.  You can read about the work on the Della Ranch, as well as work of a dozen other ranches and partners in a new publication from NRCS entitled Sage Grouse Initiative-Success on the Range. 
Partners for Conservation in the West and East

In addition to the Helena roundtable, other Partners for Conservation board members were on the road in July bringing a landowner's perspective to meetings and training opportunities.  Duane Coombs (Nevada) traveled to Reno to attend the summer meeting of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies . In addition to attending sessions at the meeting, Duane was on a panel discussing opportunities for success in an ever changing landscape. Russell Davis (Colorado) and associate board member Warren Mickey (West Virginia) were back east at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia bringing a landowner perspective to a class on Restoration Policy, Planning and Partnering.  

Employment Opportunities with Conservation Partners

Sand County Foundation a nonprofit conservation organization based in Madison, Wis., is seeking candidates for National Director of the Leopold Conservation Award® (LCA) Program. This individual will lead Sand County Foundation’s most publicly visible initiative and is an ambassador for other Foundation initiatives and the organization as a whole. The National Director is responsible for all aspects of the LCA including fundraising, strategic expansion to new states and representation of Sand County Foundation to donors, partners, agricultural landowners and other stakeholders.
Full job description .  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking an individual to oversee the Partners for Fish and Wildlife and Coastal Programs in the Northeast Region headquartered in Hadley, Massachusetts. The position is open to all qualified individuals. More information on the position which closes on July 29th can be found here.