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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.

Issue:

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.

Impact:

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.

Partners:

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

Natural Resources Programs

Programs Program Information

Bootstraps

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) developed Bootstraps, a high-risk youth program that helps teens return to school and/or gain meaningful work.

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.

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.

Invasive Species (Weeds)

Weeds are one of the most serious threats to Nevada rangelands and lawns. Hundreds of Weed Warriors, Woad Warriors, and other volunteers have been trained by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) personnel in how to spot, control and eradicate noxious weeds.

Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages

Issue:

Living With Fire

Living with Fire is a comprehensive, multi-agency program aimed at teaching homeowners how to live more safely in high wildfire-hazard environments. The program, encompassing research and education, was developed in 1997 as a result of a collaboration between University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), Nevada’s Agricultural Experiment Station and the Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators, a group of 12 Nevada and California firefighting agencies.

NEMO Nevada, Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials

The NEMO (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials) program was originated in Connecticut and has spread nationwide. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offers the NEMO program in Washoe County. The premise is that improvements in land-use planning can result in protection of water resources, which can negate the need to fix problems after the fact by applying best management practices. The program will help land-use decision-makers understand the nature of the nonpoint source pollution problem and its impact on their lives, towns and natural resource base. This enables them to plan for growth and development while addressing water quality issues through educated land use decisions.

Nevada Naturalist

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) in collaboration with partnering agencies including Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Springs Preserve, Wetlands Park, Nevada State Museum, and others, has developed a comprehensive environmental education curricula targeting adult learners interested in environmental issues affecting southern Nevada.

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.

Nevada Youth Range Camp

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.

Riparian and Watershed Assessment and Management

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension faculty work on an interagency and interdisciplinary cadre that puts on Riparian Proper Function Condition Assessment trainings and works with agencies and watershed groups to develop collaboration about riparian management.

Walker Lake: Increasing Knowledge through Education

Walker Lake, located in central Nevada, is a natural resource of interest to diverse and often competing groups. Walker Lake: Increasing Knowledge Through Education, is a community-based program to educate adults and youth about Walker Lake issues.

Water Wise

Water Wise is a new, online educational program that complements University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s local watershed protection, storm water protection and land-use decision-maker education projects (NEMO-Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials).

Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training

The Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training Program is held several times a year, usually in late winter or spring. This eight-hour, two-day introductory-level training introduces participants to the principles of Integrated Weed Management and focuses on improving ability to identify noxious weeds of local importance. A small fee is charged for program materials, and the class can be videoconferenced to other locations upon request. Each year, several dozen people go through the training and become certified Weed Warriors. Pesticide applicators receive six Continuing Education Credits for attending this course. Each year in May during a community event in the Truckee Meadows, Weed Warrior volunteers help rid parks and riverfront areas of invasive thistles.