Employees at Matador Cattle Company’s Beaverhead Ranch received international recognition for their contributions to wildlife habitat conservation at the Wildlife Habitat Council’s (WHC) 26th Annual Symposium, Celebrating Corporate Conservation, on Nov. 11. Beaverhead Ranch demonstrated its commitment to environmental stewardship by achieving Wildlife at Work recertification.
“The Wildlife Habitat Council connects corporations, conservation, and community to create habitat and increase biodiversity. The projects honored at the symposium are the best examples of our model at work,” said Margaret O’Gorman, WHC President. “Congratulations to Beaverhead Ranch for its successful efforts towards habitat enhancement and biodiversity.”
Beaverhead Ranch covers approximately 345,000 acres of owned and leased land. The ranch is located near the city of Dillon, Montana, on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. This working cattle ranch supports about 8,000 head of cattle. Ranch employees apply the Market-Based Management® business philosophy in its ranching operations and stewardship efforts. Market-Based Management has provided the catalyst for successful natural resource management over the long term. Beaverhead Ranch is the only ranching operation to hold Wildlife at Work certification, which it first received in 2002.
“The success of our conservation efforts is due in large part to the dedication of our employees. Working with federal and state agencies, and with the help of local Boy Scouts and 4-H groups, the ranch employees have created a model program for habitat stewardship,” said Kyle Hardin, ranch manager. “We are proud of our accomplishments and look forward to continued success.”
The ranch is home to a diverse wildlife population, which includes genetically pure populations of westslope cutthroat trout. Working with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the ranch’s wildlife team has re-established habitat for the trout species on two miles of Bear Creek. Since starting the project in 2002, surveys by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicate an improvement in stream quality and function. The wildlife team is working to establish westslope cutthroat trout at Peet Creek in 2015.
Successful timber and grassland management practices have resulted in improved habitat in several areas on the ranch. The Bear Creek and Jones Creek areas now provide calving grounds for hundreds of elk and supports about 5,000 head on a seasonal basis. Other wildlife species benefited are white-tailed deer, mule deer and antelope, as well as moose and many other non-game species, including wolves.
Management practices on the Sage Creek area have resulted in an increased population of elk from 56 to more than 400. Results in the Blacktail benches area include improved utilization, wildlife variety and stream health. The Blacktail benches and meadows provide habitat for elk, antelope, whitetail deer, mule deer, moose, coyotes and fish, as well as mountain lions and bears. In addition, it provides nesting areas for blue herons, sandhill cranes and bald eagles.
Beaverhead Ranch was one of 241 programs recognized at the 2014 Symposium as meeting the strict certification requirments of Wildlife at Work. Certification requirements are strict and require that programs apply for periodic renewal. Wildlife at Work certification recognizes outstanding wildlife habitat management efforts at corporate sites, and offers third-party validation of the benefits of such programs.
Source: Wildlife Habitat Council and Matador Cattle Company