July 2019 Newsletter
Private Lands Conservation Partnerships Highlighted at Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Meeting

Earlier this month state and federal conservation agency staff and nongovernmental organization representatives from across the West gathered in Manhattan, Kansas to focus on private lands conservation partnerships. This was the theme for the bi-annual Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) meeting.


Banner photo : Kansas prairie.
Above: Lesser Prairie Chicken by Tony Ifland / USFWS
REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN: Private Lands Partners Day Ogden, Utah
September 24-26, 2019

The 12th annual Private Lands Partners Day will be held September 24-26 in Ogden, Utah. This year’s event, themed Private Lands Partners Day in a Public Lands State, will highlight conservation partnerships that touch both public and private land in Utah and elsewhere in the Great Basin, as well as other public-private partnerships from around the country.  

Register here. Registration price includes reception on Tuesday night, field trip on Wednesday with lunch and dinner provided, and all day conference on Thursday with closing banquet dinner.

Our Amazing Grasslands

Visit the Ausland Family ranch in Andover, South Dakota, where after 20 years of trying to build a beef herd, the family turned their 120-acre pastures into 20-acre paddocks with water units with the goal of managing their grass instead of their livestock. The result? “So very worth it.” The land supports more livestock, wildlife, and wildflowers.
Partner/Private Lands News
Ranching & Agriculture

Conservation is a team sport. Read about the many landowners across Hawaii who have joined watershed partnerships to enable forest management to benefit endangered native birds such as the ‘akikiki, or Kauai creeper.

As the struggling U.S. farm economy continues to make the news, ag organizations, agencies, and conservation groups are focusing their attention on the affordability of conservation adoption. A 2018 report, Farm Finance and Conservation found that farmers who adopt conservation practices such as no-till, nutrient optimization, cover crops and diverse rotations improved their profitability and were more resilient.

Creativity, collaboration and community make a recipe for success.

Conservation district in Oregon tests new ways to stop loss of farmland.

Two families lock in deal to ensure their farmland never becomes home to a warehouse.

It's been a watershed year for Oklahoma’s conservation.

Conservation is a conscious choice for the Johnsons, this year's winner of the South Dakota Leopold Conservation Award. Alan and Mickie, son Brian, and wife Jamie farm 1,800 acres of cropland and 500 acres of grassland.
The focus on conservation at Johnson Farms started with the decision to go 100% no-till after Alan grew tired of watching the lack of moisture on their farm limit yield potential.

Water

Thanks to the vision of landowner, Al Davis, another stretch of the South Fork is forever protected. The Teton Regional Land Trust (TRLT) recently completed this conservation easement that builds on decades of conservation along the South Fork.

Record-high funding for Virginia’s cost-share program for agricultural best management practices will enable more farmers to participate. Gov. Ralph Northam’s announcement of $73 million to protect water and soil health through farm conservation practices represents the largest-ever investment of state funding in that program.

Wildlife, Recreation & Education

Poll shows conservation increasing but rented land remains a barrier. Known also as the “Farm Poll,” the survey has been conducted since 1982 and is the longest-running survey of its kind in the nation. It shows that although most farmers believe they are responsible for conservation, they are less likely to invest in conservation on the land they rent.

There are Bobolink Projects in Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut, which raise money to pay farmers to mow fields later in the summer.

Largest remaining piece of Palouse Prairie slated for conservation. Washington DNR to purchase 437 acres of grassland in the shadow of ‘iconic’ Steptoe Butte.

Without positive action from hunters and legislators, pheasant hunting and pheasant numbers may never rebound to what they were just 11 years ago. Why? Because 830,000 acres of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grasslands were taken out of production in the Minnesota pheasant belt. 

Forests

USDA Forest Service and State of Utah Invest in Utah’s Future Through Shared Stewardship, and agreement signed in May 2019. As part of Utah’s Shared Stewardship agreement, an investment of up to $20 million dollars will be made over the next four years to address the threat of catastrophic wildfire and protect watersheds.

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board last week announced the award of more than $126 million in grants to a suite of 333 projects that build and maintain outdoor recreation facilities and conserve wildlife habitat and working farms and forests around the state.
A NOTE FROM THE CHAIR

Greetings from Montana. Sure has been some crazy weather this spring and summer. I hope you are wet enough but not wetter than you need to be this time of year. I know many places around the country are in good shape for moisture and some are as green as they ever are in July even though we are drying out in parts of the Northwest. Keeping fingers and toes crossed that we are not watching a lot of fires this time next month.

I know we are all extremely busy, as we are most summers, but I hope you have time to consider attending Private Lands Partners Day September 24-26 in Ogden, Utah. The planning team has been working hard for the better part of a year on developing a program that I’m sure will be of interest to all of us involved in public-private partnerships around our working landscapes and natural resources. If you can make it, we would love to see you there!

Yours in Conservation,
Jim Stone
Nature's Good Neighbors

Jay Tanner’s ranch is a working landscape in the sagebrush ecosystem. Jay grazes his cattle over more than 52 square miles in the northwestern corner of Utah, where he and many others in his conservation community are helping to conserve sagebrush country.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service launched Nature’s Good Neighbors in 2018, a series of stories showcasing conservationists across the nation, many of whom are private landowners with some on the PFC board!
Playas Work for Kansas: All Sorts of Wildlife

Mark Smith has farmed and run cattle in Wallace County, KS, for many years. He believes preserving his playas strengthens his operation, preserves history, and leaves a legacy for future generations. “These playas have been a great source of water and wildlife for thousands of years."
#FridaysOnTheFarm 

Meet Tom and Eva Wedel, owners of Oak Woods Foundation in Argyle, Wisconsin. This awe-inspiring oasis of tranquility is home to 400 restored acres of rolling prairies and forests, providing habitat for fluttering monarchs and other butterflies feeding on milkweed and various wildflowers.

Each Friday, meet diverse farmers, producers, and landowners through our #FridaysOnTheFarm stories. Visit local farms, ranches, forests, and resource areas where USDA customers and partners do right and feed everyone. 
Private Lands Conservation Events & Funding Announcements
FUNDING

Indiana NRCS is accepting applications to improve water quality in Big Pine Watershed. All applications for this round of funding consideration must be received by August 9, 2019.
Learn more about RCPP in Indiana.

EVENTS

Call for Nominations for the 2019 Intermountain West Joint Venture John E. Nagel Award and Conservation Partner Awards: Private Landowner Conservation Champion, Conservation Science, and Conservation Partnership/Partner! Nominate or get more information on each of the awards. Deadline for nominations is August 2, 2019.

R egister now for America's Grasslands Conference: Working Across Boundaries. Register by July 20the for the early bird registration rate.

Soil Health Academy Regenerative Farming and Ranching Workshops 
October 22, 23, & 24, 2019 with
Ray Archuleta, Gabe Brown, Alejandro Carrillo, Rudy Garcia, at 3 locations in New Mexico. Learn:
  • The 6 principles of soil health & adaptive stewardship 
  • How to restore your ranch through adaptive grazing
  • How to use cover crops to increase profitability
  • How to lower input costs through proper nutrient management
  • How to regenerate your soils 


Forestry Summer Series: The Lyme Timber Company and Three Rivers Forest Management are hosting the next workshop Monday, Aug 5th. Tour the rebuilt Emporium sawmill.
ABOUT PARTNERS FOR CONSERVATION

Partners for Conservation (PFC) is a private landowner-led organization which communicates and collaborates on conservation partnerships for working landscapes to benefit present and future generations. 
Consider Joining Partners for Conservation
Consider becoming a member of Partners for Conservation. Partners for Conservation works to support collaboration and public-private partnerships as the first choice for conserving our national working landscapes for people and nature. More information on membership can be found on our website. 
Did someone forward you this newsletter? You can subscribe here .