ON THE HORIZON: October 2017, Issue 8

Posted by WAFWA on October 1, 2017
A new web portal is shining the spotlight on efforts to conserve sagebrush rangelands across the West. Featuring local and state-driven partnerships, the website shows in stunning visuals and compelling stories how collaborative sagebrush conservation benefits people, wildlife, communities, and economies.

State and federal agencies and non-governmental organizations helped create a shared vision for the portal. The portal was born out of a new effort initiated between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Intermountain West Joint Venture to support the BLM and its partners in implementing strategic conservation practices across public and neighboring private lands. The partnership is modeled after the nationally renowned USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service-led Sage Grouse Initiative.

“In the West, our present conservation challenges require new thinking and innovative ways to work together and develop solutions,” said Virgil Moore, Director of Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and Intermountain West Joint Venture Management Board Member. “We are working hard to adapt and develop communications that meet people where they are. A shining example of this effort is this new online sagebrush conservation web portal devoted to simply and creatively communicate the groundbreaking public-private partnerships working in sagebrush country.”VIEW WEBSITEThe Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has announced a call to prepare and submit proposals for funding social science projects to better understand the human dimensions aspects of managing and conserving the sagebrush ecosystem. Funds will be provided through the Sagebrush Science Initiative, a collaborative effort of WAFWA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

“We recognize that conservation of the sagebrush ecosystem must recognize and provide for human perspectives and needs from this system,” said Tom Remington, WAFWA’s science coordinator. “To be successful, we need to understand the stakeholder’s needs and concerns, their perspectives on potential conservation strategies, and other human dimensions of sagebrush conservation.”

Approximately $200,000 has been earmarked for social science grants, and several are expected to be awarded. The deadline for submitting proposals is Nov. 30, 2017. Final selection of project awards will be made by Dec. 29, 2017.READ MOREThe U.S. Fish and Service Mountain-Prairie Region has awarded its first ever Regional Director’s Partnership Award to Ken Mayer, who chairs WAFWA’s Fire and Invasive Working Group and Dr. Jeanne Chambers with the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station. The two were lauded for their significant contributions to the range-wide effort to conserve America’s sagebrush ecosystem. The inaugural awards were presented at the annual Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies meeting last month.

“The issue of invasive plants and rangeland fire has surfaced as a threat that can overwhelm all others,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Noreen Walsh. “Ken took the lead to focus on this threat and assembled an incredible team that included Jeanne. They developed a number of crucial products that are directing our work today.”READ MOREOn Sept. 22, WAFWA finalized permanent conservation agreements with three private landowners to conserve 3,682 acres of high-quality lesser prairie-chicken habitat in northwestern Kansas. It’s the first easements obtained by WAFWA in the shortgrass ecosystem as called for in the Lesser Prairie-chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan. The permanent conservation easements on the private properties will be held and monitored by The Nature Conservancy. This transaction not only permanently protects key prairie habitat, but also ensures that the properties will remain a working ranch.READ MOREIn August, WAFWA finalized permanent conservation agreements with a private landowner to conserve 968 acres of lesser prairie-chicken habitat in south-central Kansas. In addition, a 160-acre tract owned by another private landowner that is fenced and managed with the property will be protected under a 10-year conservation agreement that was also finalized in August. These two tracts of land are immediately adjacent to a 1,781-acre tract which was placed under a permanent conservation agreement earlier this year. The conserved acreage is all native rangeland currently being managed for livestock production, and this historical use will continue.READ MOREThe Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) recently awarded $18,800 out of its small grant program for 8 projects, which will be matched by $98,014 in other public and private funding. More than $116,814 in conservation efforts benefiting western native trout will occur as a result.

“We’re very grateful to our partners at Rocky Mountain Flyathlon, Orvis, and all our individual donors for supporting our 2017 Small Grants Program,” said Therese Thompson, WNTI Project Coordinator. “The community-based projects were selected because of their emphasis on collaborative action and outreach to help address challenges facing the restoration and recovery of western native trout.”

WNTI is a WAFWA program that is a collaborative, multi-state, multi-partner effort that builds on the conservation needs of 21 native trout species described in species conservation and recovery plans in the 12 western states where they are found. The Initiative serves as a focal point for identifying priority projects and providing funding to efforts to halt and reverse native trout declines and expand existing populations.READ MOREGet the inside scoop on twelve amazing western native trout! For those who have been asking for more since we first launched chasing.westernnativetrout.org – WNTI has added eight more western native trout to the series!

We’ve assembled a series of four-part courses full of tips and tricks for chasing these beautiful fish. As part of each course you will receive one email per week chock full of information for planning your next great adventure. You can pick one series or all of them and get tips and tricks about native trout from New Mexico to Alaska and everything in between. There’s a trout near you just waiting to be caught!AK-Dolly Varden NV-Lahontan cutthroat trout
AZ- Apache trout NM- Gila trout
CA-California Golden trout OR-Coastal cutthroat trout
CO-Rio Grande cutthroat trout UT-Bonneville cutthroat trout
ID-Yellowstone cutthroat trout WA-Westslope cutthroat trout
ID-Redband trout WY-Colorado River cutthroat trout