Colorado 2012 Wineinger-Davis Ranch Ordway Leopold Conservation Award Recipient

Russell and Tricia Davis operate Wineinger-Davis Ranch where they raise beef cattle, and offer birding, ecotourism, agri-tourism, and hunting opportunities. The 12,000 acre ranch, located in Lincoln and Crowley counties, was established in 1938.

The Davis family successfully integrates the needs of a successful beef operation with the habitat needs of shortgrass prairie wildlife species. In 2004, Russell and Tricia placed perpetual conservation easements on the ranch through the Colorado Species Conservation Partnership Program. The easement protects 12,245 acres of native shortgrass prairie and riparian ecosystems. This agreement focuses on proper livestock grazing to benefit all shortgrass prairie and plains riparian wildlife species. As a result of these easements, the Davis family became the first private landowner in Colorado to protect and manage black-tailed prairie dogs.

Russell and Tricia Davis have also provided their ranch for research on mountain plover habitat use and nesting success on native shortgrass prairies.

Beyond their ranch, the Davis family is committed to contributing to the agricultural conservation movement. Russell plays a lead role in Partners for Conservation, a multi-state effort that unites landowners to discuss land management decisions and conservation programs. The Davis family also opens their ranch to educational tours and workshops, including the Ranch and Wildlife Program (RAW), which teaches urban and suburban students about ranching and wildlife management.

“Most importantly, Russell has become one of the more active and influential agricultural producers in the state who has dedicated his time to working with all groups to gain a better understanding of the symbolic relationship that can and should occur with ranching and wildlife management,” wrote Ken Morgan, Private Lands Coordinator for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, in his recommendation letter.

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