Maggie Creek Ranch, the Searle Family and ranch manager Jon Griggs were honored with one of seven regional Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) awards. The honorees, announced during the 2015 Cattle Industry Summer Conference, were recognized for their outstanding stewardship practices. This year’s regional winners will compete for the national award, which will be announced during the 25th anniversary celebration in January 2016.
ESAP is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation, and is presented to farmers and ranchers who demonstrate a commitment to protecting the farm and ranch land in their care.
Maggie Creek Ranch is in the business of producing high quality beef while conserving and improving public and private lands. Their goal is to be the best possible stewards of their resources while feeding the world through production agriculture. The operation consists of approximately 198,000 acres of owned (deeded) and leased (public land grazing permit) land.
The Searle family and ranch manager Jon Griggs have worked to build long-term, positive relationships with agency staff and user groups to create an atmosphere of collaboration on both public and private lands. They see a challenge such as an Endangered Species Act listing as an opportunity for conservation projects for the betterment of the ranch.
“Our agency derives immense benefit because of Jon’s willingness to work collaboratively to demonstrate a shared vision for healthy Great Basin landscapes that benefit native wildlife species while also continuing the historic utilization of these landscapes by the ranching industry,” said Tony Wasley, Director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
Since the early 1990s, the ranch has been a key partner in a collaborative effort to restore the Susie Creek watershed on both public and private lands with the goal of re-establishing Lahontan cutthroat trout. Over 25 miles of Susie Creek and its tributary streams have been improved through a combination of fencing and application of prescriptive grazing practices. Improvement of stream and riparian habitat conditions has been dramatic and recovery is to the point where cutthroat trout will be released into the system within the next few years.
"We’re really happy about how the rangeland health is coming along and how our riparian values are improving. All that improves the value of the ranch,” said Griggs. “I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done to improve our riparian areas and recover the trout habitat on the ranch."
In addition to riparian and upland rangeland improvement through improved grazing management, cooperative noxious weed treatment work between Maggie Creek Ranch and the Bureau of Land Management has resulted in effective treatment of thousands of acres of scotch thistle and Russian knapweed. These efforts are ongoing and benefit habitat and wildlife on both public and private lands.
Source: National Cattlemen's Beef Association