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Collaborative Resource Stewardship improves rangeland management

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) has helped lead Collaborative Resource Stewardship (CRS) efforts in northeastern Nevada over the past seven years, resulting in a model for other states and areas.


According to a needs assessment (UNCE Fact Sheet-01-38), burned area revegetation, wildlife and livestock grazing are the highest priority and controversial rangeland issues among northeastern Nevadans. To resolve these and other issues, grassroots collaborative approaches are gaining momentum in many western communities.

What Has Been Done:

UNCE faculty worked with the Northeastern Nevada Stewardship Group and the Shoesole Resource Management Group (consisting of the Cottonwood Ranch and Boise Ranch Holistic Management Teams) to provide appropriate educational opportunities, achieve balanced collaborative approaches for rangeland issues and develop appropriate adaptive management strategies.

The Northeastern Nevada Stewardship Group (NNSG), formed in 1999, is a diverse community-based organization that includes area ranchers, miners, businessmen and multi-agency personnel. The group’s goals include providing a community forum for scientific information/education related to healthy ecosystems and issue resolution through the collaborative process, and developing sustainable relationships and expectations that reduce conflicts, simplify and streamline planning and provide multiple use opportunities. Since 1999, UNCE has provided leadership for the science education committee, co-planning educational workshops/symposia, teaching at the symposia and co-chairing the Sage Grouse Committee.

Educating group members as well as local citizens about natural resource management has been, and continues to be, a priority of the NNSG. The group has hosted numerous symposia and workshops that bring scientists, private citizens, public land users and agency personnel together to share and discuss information.

NNSG’s flagship project for four years was the "Elko County Sagebrush Ecosystem Strategy," completed in 2004. The Sage Grouse Committee is currently in the process of writing specific plans for individual watersheds and sage grouse population management units, while seeking grant funding to initiate on-the-ground projects.

UNCE has worked with the Cottonwood Ranch Holistic Management Team (HMT) for seven years and the Boise Ranch HMT for four years, leading annual field tours and data gathering trips. The Holistic Management Team approach involves a consensus-based, decision-making model that encourages diverse participants to consider the economic, environmental and social impacts of each management decision before it is implemented. This approach has shown great potential for reducing conflicts surrounding public lands grazing. UNCE personnel also taught riparian area proper functioning condition (PFC). Trained team members then conducted a PFC assessment and follow-up green-line monitoring at the Cottonwood Ranch, providing vegetation trend data to evaluate the success of the grazing management system and enable adaptive management changes.

In 2006, NNSG received a $153,530 grant and hired a contractor in 2007 to initiate a watershed-scale assessment of the Tuscarora Watershed/Sage Grouse Population Management Unit. Since 2001, NNSG has received four national awards for its collaborative approach to natural resource education and conservation.

In the Multiple Use Document, the BLM is recommending implementation of Holistic Management for the Boise Ranch’s Hubbard-Vineyard allotment on a permanent basis. The final document was completed in January 2008.


With help from UNCE facilitation and educational programs, private and public lands impacted by collaborative resource stewardship now total more than 160,000 acres. Both HMTs work collaboratively to modify their livestock grazing plans, with consideration of multiple rangeland resource values, and develop appropriate adaptive management strategies to achieve balanced economic and ecological sustainability. The result is positive vegetation responses, which bodes well for sustainability for livestock grazing, wildlife and multiple land uses.

Questionnaires have been used at the conclusion of educational events, and results indicate that disseminated information has been useful and favorably received. A questionnaire survey of NNSG members at the group’s five-year evaluation and planning meeting showed the group has been effective in building trust and respect among the constituency, providing a community forum for education and working to reduce conflicts.

Citing the efforts of local collaborative working groups as being crucial to the conservation and restoration of sage grouse habitat, senior regional U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists recommended in 2004 that the sage grouse not be listed as threatened or endangered.

In 2004, Agee Smith, Cottonwood Ranch owner/manager was given the "Rancher of the Year" award at the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association. Smith was chosen for his innovative and unique management practices, including a Holistic Management grazing system. Smith’s passion for livestock grazing and rangeland health is evidenced by the success his efforts on managing livestock have had on the vegetative habitats.

The original agreement to follow holistic management was considered "experimental" when it was adopted in 1997. The success of holistic management is reflected in the BLM’s recently adopted Cottonwood Allotment Plan Re-Evaluation Environmental Assessment; its "proposed action" is the continuation of grazing using the holistic management process. Also, in 2005, the final multiple-use decision for the Cottonwood Ranch, recommending continuation of the holistic management process, was adopted without appeal from special interest groups.


Nevada Legislative Committee on Public Lands, National Forest Foundation’s Community Assistance Program for Collaborative Stewardship, Sonoran Institute’s Resources for Community Collaboration and N-1 Grazing Board


Programs Program Information

Capacity Building for Healthy Communities

Capacity building strengthens an organization’s ability to fulfill its mission to have a positive impact on communities. Strategic thinking, visioning, action planning, and board development are capacity building activities.

Coffee Shop email helps ranchers make money

Nevada agriculture specialists have taken the traditional producer coffee-shop discussions into cyberspace. Cooperative Extension’s coffee shop is a national subscription email designed to provide a two-way communication network for livestock producers. The question-and-answer service provides answers to livestock production and marketing questions.

Collaborative Resource Stewardship improves rangeland management

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) has helped lead Collaborative Resource Stewardship (CRS) efforts in northeastern Nevada over the past seven years, resulting in a model for other states and areas.

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS)

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS) is a compilation of evidence-based engagement and assessment tools that is used to audit and map community environmental features that support and/or hinder healthful eating and physical activity among community members. The MAPPS method integrates photography, participatory community mapping using global positioning system (GPS) technology, and residents’ voiced perceptions of their community. HEAL MAPPS engages people in community-based participatory research to document attributes of the rural community environment that are perceived by residents as obesity preventing or promoting and assess the local resources and readiness to implement community-level obesity prevention strategies to prevent unhealthy weight gain/overweight and obesity among children and their families.

Heart & Shield: Rural Domestic Violence Prevention Program

Young girls making collages with magazine pictures

Integrated Pest Management

Nevada Department of Agriculture’s records show the use of traditional pesticides continues to increase in the state. Nevada’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program helps agricultural producers, land managers; pest control operators, homeowners and other pest managers learn about and use alternative pest management strategies in a variety of environments and settings.

Keeping Kids Safe: Recognizing, Reporting and Responding to Child Maltreatment

young girl sitting at desk in empty classroom

Nevada Range Management School

This University of Nevada Cooperative Extension program integrates sound science, collaboration and common sense to put public agency land managers, livestock permittees and other land users on the same page in terms of the range resource. It includes topics such as animal nutrition as related to range management.

Noxious Weed Control and Awareness Education

Noxious and invasive weeds are widespread throughout Nevada. They threaten agricultural and rangeland productivity. Rural counties are susceptible to significant adverse economic damage. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension education programs help individuals and weed control organization reduce the abundance of noxious weeds.

Project MAGIC

Project MAGIC is an innovative, collaborative program designed to help juvenile offenders leave the criminal justice system and become productive members of society. While participating in the program, young people ages 12 to 18 learn: positive communication skills, team building, problem solving and decision making, self-responsibility, conflict resolution, aspiration building and goal setting. Youth also select and conduct a service project designed to benefit their community. Parent sessions include the same life skills.

Risk Management

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) develops and delivers a comprehensive risk management education program to livestock and forage producers in Nevada.

Sustainable Agricultural Practices

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension conducts several sustainable agriculture programs including researching alternative crops, introducing sustainable biodiversity/multiple use of rangelands, and increasing the number of pest control materials labeled in and increasing the knowledge and implementation rate of IPM practices in Nevada.

Statewide Programs *Statewide programs may not be available in all counties

Programs Program Information
4-H Youth Development
Cattlemen’s Update
Food Safety Project
Grow Your Own, Nevada
Herds and Harvest
Integrated Riparian Management/Creeks and Communities
Invasive Species (Weeds)
Nevada Radon Education Program
Nevada State GEAR UP
Nevada Youth Range Camp
People of the Land
Pesticide Safety Education Program
Stronger Economies Together
Weed Prevention and Management
Youth for the Quality Care of Animals