May 2020 Newsletter
Private Lands Partners Day Postponed until October 4-6, 20201 - Redmond, Oregon

The Partners for Conservation Board of Directors has acted to postpone this year’s Private Lands Partners Day originally scheduled for October 5-7, 2020 at Eagle Crest Resort in Redmond, Oregon. The host committee had developed a great event, but the recently released reopening guidelines for the State of Oregon going into the fall included limits on group gathering size and social distancing guidelines, making it extremely unlikely that the meeting could be held as envisioned.

We are extremely fortunate that Eagle Crest was willing to work with us and have agreed to host Private Lands Partners Day 2021, October 4 through 6. We will cancel all hotel reservations previously made in the room block as a part of our work with Eagle Crest.

We are very thankful that the Oregon planning team, as well as Arkansas planning team (now scheduled for 2022) have been flexible, accommodating and remain excited to host the meeting albeit a year later than expected. We are, however, planning to host a virtual gathering the first week in October so stay tuned for details. It will not be a replacement for Private Lands Partners Day, but will allow us to connect and share how partnerships are continuing even with the current situation and associated impacts on landowners and their partners. Stay safe and stay well.

Banner photo: Prairie Chicken lek in Kansas
Photo above: Wyoming Ranch
Check out some stories from Partners for Conservation. Gary Price, of the award-winning 77 Ranch in north central Texas, was kind enough to spend some time with us explaining his thoughts and philosophy of land management and partnerships. Our series begins below, where you can find links to the remaining three articles in the series as well.

Our Amazing Grasslands

"What really turned me on to rotational grazing was the economic value of it, but equally if not more beneficial is how healthy the grass is and how the grass can respond during a drought." Lance Vilhauer
Farming and Wetlands Coexist in the Klamath Basin

An uncertain water future is the main threat to this symbiosis. Low winter snowpack in the Cascades and a spring with no rain means drought is on the horizon; in addition, water supplies for farms and the refuges have again been reduced to meet new requirements for Coho salmon in the Klamath River. In early May, the Klamath Project announced further reductions in the amount of available irrigation water for the 2020 season, which could mean the flows are shut off before summer even reaches its peak. This combination has both farmers and refuge staff scrambling to prepare for a season with no water.
Partner/Private Lands News
Ranching & Agriculture

Another Piece of the Flathead River Conservation Puzzle Falls into Place
Land Trust adds 155-acre parcel to network of conserved land totaling 12,000 acres.

Watershed projects throughout South Dakota improve water quality and soil health. “Private landowners play a critical role in caring for South Dakota’s nearly 100 thousand miles of streams and rivers.”

Delaware farmers and landowners are encouraged to sign up by Friday, June 5, for financial and technical assistance to expand existing conservation activities on their agricultural land.

Ranchers find allies in conservationists: Representatives from the Marin Conservation League, the Marin Agricultural Land Trust, the Marin Resource Conservation District and the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin were among those who wrote in favor of the continuation of ranching, a legacy that dates back to the mid-1800s. 

Conservation practices are working to reduce runoff, improve soil quality, and mitigate contaminants in small watersheds across the country, according to USDA’s scientific findings from its Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP), published in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 

$22 to $56 An Acre ROI Realized in Row Crop Conservation Case Studies by American Farmland Trust 

A new study hopes to make it easier for farmers and their landlords to implement conservation practices.

Photo contest underway by Ranchland Trust of Kansas, deadline for submissions: August 31, 2020.

Rancher's Rebellion: How COVID-19 sparked a direct-market beef business: A rancher on the Dakota border was going into farm-to-fork sales anyway when pandemic threw interest into high-gear


American Wetlands Month is May. Wetlands play a critical role in every ecosystem by improving water quality, providing habitat for plants and animals, and reducing flooding by absorbing excess rain. The Missouri Dept. of Conservation says “May is a great time to experience Missouri’s rivers, streams, and wetlands. Water is flowing, temperatures are warming, and plants are bursting with a myriad of green hues.”

Des Moines partners with ag and conservation groups on flood reduction and water quality projects

Wildlife, Recreation & Education

The military manages more than 27 million acres and has four times more endangered species per acre than any other federal agency. The Conservation of Defense report explores some of the best opportunities for wildlife, water, and habitat conservation and climate change action in partnership with the military over the next decade. 

In early April, the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County purchased a 118-acre conservation easement near Lompoc from the Bob Campbell family, protecting critical habitat for federally endangered California tiger salamanders. The Campbell’s ownership of their land remains unchanged, and they are free to continue the historic cattle operations they have undertaken for five generations.

A decade of invasive species management by the Wisconsin Headwaters Invasive Partnership or WHIP

USDA Awards $8 million for Illinois Working Lands, Water and Wildlife Conservation Partnership Projects

Partners protect habitat for rare turtles and expand outdoor recreation


What happens when freshwater fish hook up with forests?

Letter: Thoughts on post-COVID-19 forestry recovery

Hello from Ovando!

I hope you are staying well and that your state is starting to open back up. This has certainly been an unprecedented time for our modern society in this country. This is a busy time for folks out on the land with branding, shearing, turning out, planting, burning, etc. occurring depending on where you are and what you get up to. Many of those things require a crew of people working together in activities that can’t be done remotely. 

We branded here recently and got the job done and I hope you are able to do the same for yourselves. Even though we’ve been forced to adapt to new ways of doing things the bottom line remains that some things just can’t get done, or can’t get done well, absent the ability to work together for real and not just virtually. I trust our relationships and partnerships are strong enough that they can be sustained until we reach the other side and can get back to working with each other across the kitchen table without masks, fear, or a sense that we are doing something wrong. 

We are all in it together now, that is true. But please don’t forget we will still all be in it together once we get past the pandemic and pandemic response.

Yours in Conservation,
Jim Stone

Meet Martha Neale, of Windmist Farm in Jamestown, Rhode Island. Martha operates the farm with her husband, George, raising beef cattle, goats, sheep, pastured pork, and layer hens. The land has been in their family since the early 1960s. In 2007, the 44-acre scenic parcel was preserved as farmland forever, thanks to the efforts of the people of Jamestown, who floated a bond to help with the purchase, as well as the State of Rhode Island, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Champlin Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy.

Each Friday, meet diverse farmers, producers, and landowners through #FridaysOnTheFarm stories. Visit local farms, ranches, forests, and resource areas where USDA customers and partners do right and feed everyone.
2020 Leopold Conservation Award® 
Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, these awards recognize farmers and foresters in many U.S. states who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land.

“There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot.” Those are the opening words to Aldo Leopold’s classic, A Sand County Almanac. Read Dr. Stan Temple's beautiful summary of the "land ethic” written on the anniversary of Leopold’s untimely death.

Nature’s Good Neighbors: 
Pearl in the making, Programs bolster oysters in the Chesapeake

Development, pollution and commerce have guaranteed that oysters no longer lie thick as stones in the nation’s largest estuary.
But the tasty bivalve remains, and may be staging a small comeback in a segment of the bay — thanks, in part, to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). For several years, it has been helping local communities create new oyster beds as well as restore some stretches of shoreline.

Nature’s Good Neighbors: 
The US Fish and Wildlife Service 2018  Nature’s Good Neighbors series showcases conservationists across the nation, many of whom are private landowners with some on the PFC board!
Private Lands Conservation Events & Funding Announcements
The JV8 Central Grasslands Conservation Initiative (JV8) seeks a leader with demonstrated abilities to grow and manage a large, innovative partnership by serving as the Conservation Director for the initiative.
We are looking for an experienced, highly-motivated, self-starting, partnership-oriented individual to lead this emerging, trinational group.

The JV8 Initiative, a partnership among eight Migratory Bird Joint Ventures, will implement grassland conservation programs at a landscape of 500 million acres with the goal of reversing or stabilizing declining bird populations in the Central Grasslands of North America, and will include conservation partners from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

The Prairie Pothole Conservation Association is making plans to host the 38th annual Prairie Pothole Day on Sept. 12 at Stoney Ridge Farm in Minnesota.

Stockmanship School in Elko County, Nevada Sep 24-27, 2020:

Check out the upcoming Soil Health Academies to be held from June through November 2020 in MI, NM, Alberta, ID, and AL.

Photo above: Mountain bluebird

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.
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