Environmental Stewardship and Protection

We are fortunate to have key components of lasting success:

  • a committed workforce of site-savvy land stewards,
  • abundant wildlife,
  • an economic base of agricultural production (livestock, small grains, pulse crops) that maintains and improves biodiversity and a rich heritage, and,
  • the attention of environmental groups who could invest deeply into the area.

Our specific purposes are to:

  • Engage in collaborative conservation and community building.
  • Encourage ranching and other traditional livelihoods which will preserve our native grasslands and rural communities for generations to come.
  • Collect, implement and disseminate accurate information on the ecology and sustainable management of the northern grasslands.
  • Promote understanding and respect for ranching and the critical role it plays in conservation.
Photo © Perri Jacobs

Photo © Perri Jacobs

Alliance members and other ranchers have participated in the Matador Grassbank.  The program is designed for local ranchers to pay discounted fees to graze cattle on the Matador in exchange for wildlife-friendly practices on their own operations. Requirement for membership includes commitment to control noxious weeds and no sod busting.  All the while earning discounts for protecting prairie dog habitat, securing Sage-grouse leks and modifying fences.  For additional information click on one of the following links:
http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/montana/placesweprotect/matador-grassbank.xml
http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/montana/montana-15-years-at-matador-ranch.xml

Another great example is the wildlife habitat enhancement project fence flagging for sage grouse. Flagging fences with vinyl markers for visibility can considerably reduce sage grouse collisions.  Not all fences pose equal risks to sage grouse.   Research shows that 73% of grouse collision with fences takes place within one-third mile of sage grouse breeding ground also known as leks, and 93% occur within a mile.  Factors contributing to a high-risk collision rate include proximity to leks, wintering areas and migration corridors.

Ranchers Stewardship Alliance provides outreach to interested landowners about sage grouse conservation efforts and programs available for assistance.  For further information click on one of the following links:

http://www.sagegrouseinitiative.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Science-to-Solutions-Fence-Collisions-032114-1.pdf
http://blog.nwf.org/2015/06/big-hurdles-for-greater-sage-grouse/