Making Room for Wildlife Among Livestock and Crops
January 23, 2023
At Sand County Foundation we work to inspire and empower a growing number of private landowners to ethically manage natural resources in their care, so future generations have clean water, abundant wildlife habitat, and opportunities for outdoor recreation.
Each year our Leopold Conservation Award recognizes the voluntary efforts of conservation-minded farmers, ranchers and forestland owners who improve wildlife habitat, soil health and water quality.
Get to know award recipients from Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, who are improving their landscapes for wildlife habitat alongside agriculture.
MYRIN RANCH is home to mule deer, elk, beaver, sage grouse, turkey, and waterfowl. It hosts large populations of wildlife migrating off the Uinta Mountains. A grazing system where cattle are moved frequently gives the Myrins flexibility to work around sensitive wildlife areas at key times.
The riparian habitat along the Lake Fork River that runs through the ranch acts as a wildlife corridor. Wildlife-friendly electric rope fencing has replaced barbed wire because the Myrins view wildlife as a resource, not a nuisance.
- - -
The resilience of PANKEY RANCH was tested when a devastating wildfire prevented cattle and wildlife from drinking from ponds covered with ashes.
The Pankeys cleaned the ponds and aerially reseeded native grasses on 900 acres in the fire's path. The ranch borders Colorado's largest Greater sage-grouse lek, a breeding ground for this declining species. The Pankeys took the steps to encourage production of insects that grouse chicks consume.
- - -
Sid and Cheryl Goodloe own and operate CARRIZO VALLEY RANCH, where their management practices have yielded a showcase of wildlife habitat and plant diversity at elevations between 6,000 and 7,500 feet.
Their beef cattle graze the ranch's riparian areas for one to two weeks during dormancy. This helps prepare a seed-bed for beneficial grasses and wildflowers, while providing year-round forage for elk, deer and antelope.
- - -
For more examples of farmers, ranchers and forestland owners who have received the Leopold Conservation Award for their efforts to improve wildlife habitat, click here.