Inaugural issue of partnership magazine focuses on conserving water resources in sagebrush country
Since its inception, the Sage Grouse Initiative — led by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service — has practiced the time-tested voluntary conservation model of working with private landowners and partners to address conservation challenges at the community level.
As the NRCS continues to work under the vision of achieving wildlife conservation through sustainable ranching, we are proud of our partnership with the Bureau of Land Management and Intermountain West Joint Venture. We are excited to introduce Sagebrush Connections, a new magazine highlighting our collaborative accomplishments.
For more than 80 years, the NRCS has worked one-on-one with America’s agricultural producers, including ranchers in the West, to tailor conservation efforts to meet local needs, protect vital habitat, and maintain strong rural economies.
The American West is a multi-colored patchwork of private and public lands. The sagebrush ecosystem has been reduced to half of its original size, and requires an all-hands approach for its conservation and restoration. Thankfully, it is still functioning as intact working landscape, one of the few remaining in the world. It covers 14 states, stretches between the Great Plains and the Pacific Crest, and provides home and habitat to people and wildlife.
Our partnership is scaling up public lands conservation using the model of the successful voluntary private lands conservation efforts pioneered by SGI. The BLM’s new partnership with IWJV is a great example of how to scale up sage grouse conservation efforts on public land by working with local partners who are already collaborating across ownership lines. These efforts will effectively build upon SGI’s ongoing conservation success working with ranchers on private land at the local level.
Carefully managing our land and water resources is essential to our conservation work, our nation, and our very existence. In the West, sustainable ranching practices that sustain these resources for current and future generations is the foundation of our community-based conservation work.
Sagebrush country houses the water sources for millions of Americans. Our goal is to make sure this ecosystem will function for people and wildlife long into the future. That’s why water is the theme for the inaugural issue of this magazine.
Through our partnership, we will achieve the collective goal of conserving the working lands, wildlife, water, and beautiful sagebrush range that we all cherish and call home. Armed with knowledge from local leaders, science, field capacity and communications resources, we will maintain working sagebrush rangelands while strengthening rural economies.