BLM announces winners of the 2021 Stewardship Awards

Awards recognize commitment to public rangelands and sagebrush-steppe


Bureau of Land Management

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – In recognition of exemplary rangeland management and outstanding accomplishments in restoring and maintaining the health of public rangelands, the Bureau of Land Management has named two permittees and two collaborative teams as recipients of the 2021 Rangeland Stewardship and Sagebrush-Steppe Stewardship awards. 

The ceremony will be held via Zoom during the 2021 Virtual Public Lands Council Annual Meeting from 10:20-11:20 a.m. Mountain Time on Sept. 28, 2021, and will include award presentations in Idaho, Colorado, and Utah. 

“This is the 16th year BLM has given out these awards that recognize the innovation and cooperation needed to safeguard the Great American West,” said Nada Culver, BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs. “We appreciate the exemplary stewardship accomplishments of the awardees and all our partners leading efforts to support locally led and locally designed conservation.”  

“These awards for outstanding stewardship of Western landscapes are an important public recognition by BLM of something the agricultural community has known to be true for decades — ranching work is conservation work,” said Public Lands Council President Niels Hansen. “We applaud the innovation and commitment that these public lands ranchers have demonstrated to nurturing healthy rangeland ecosystems. Multiple use and active management are vital elements of a lasting, successful strategy for our nation’s public lands, and we appreciate BLM’s partnership with Western ranchers as we all work to conserve America’s stunning landscapes.”   

The Rangeland Stewardship Award recognizes demonstrated use of beneficial management practices to restore, protect, or enhance rangeland resources while working with the BLM and other partners. 

The Rangeland Stewardship Award Permittee Category winner is Matthew and Kristen Redd with The Nature Conservancy’s Dugout Ranch & Indian Creek Allotment, nominated by Monticello Field Office, Utah. 

Matthew Redd, a multi-generational rancher in San Juan County, serves as The Nature Conservancy’s Ranch Manager and Canyonlands Research Center Program Director with his wife, Kristen, serving as Field Station Manager. Their rugged cattle allotment in southeast Utah spans 5,207 private acres encircled by the towering red-hued sandstone cliffs along Indian Creek in the center of the Colorado Plateau and home to a diverse partnership of universities, federal land management agencies, and state wildlife organizations. In an era of unprecedented drought in the west, the Redds and The Nature Conservancy have implemented flexible management lowering cattle numbers, adjusting livestock patterns, grazing at a light utilization rate on key forage plants, and implementing various strategies to sustain healthy functioning plant communities to the extent natural conditions allow. 

“Matt and Kristin Redd are uniquely deserving of this recognition,” said Monticello Field Manager Amber Denton Johnson. “Through their leadership, the Dugout Ranch and the Canyonlands Research Center have become an outdoor laboratory using science-based evidence to inform on-the-ground cattle ranching. We are grateful to them and The Nature Conservancy for their commitment to sustainable rangeland management.” 

The Rangeland Stewardship Award Collaborative Team Category winner is the Bruneau-Owyhee Sage-Grouse Habitat Project, nominated by the Bruneau and Owyhee Field Offices, Idaho. 

“The Bruneau-Owyhee Sage-Grouse Habitat Project is a great example of the BLM’s effort to achieve shared conservation stewardship alongside our partners to improve and maintain sagebrush-steppe habitat,” said Boise District Manager Tanya Thrift. “This project would not be possible without the involvement and support of our federal, state, county, non-governmental organization, and private landowner partners.” 

The Sagebrush-Steppe Stewardship Award recognizes outstanding example of enhancement, restoration, or reclamation of sagebrush habitats, in addition to the accomplishments meriting the Rangeland Stewardship Award. 

The Sagebrush-Steppe Stewardship Award Permittee Category winner is Pat Luark with Reverse JL Bar Cattle Company, LLC, nominated by the Colorado River Valley Field Office, Colorado. 

“Pat is a true innovator and continues to demonstrate his vision for sustainable livestock grazing on public lands, even through challenges such as working in Greater Sage-grouse habitats and persistent drought. His work with virtual fencing can be a game-changer, and that’s why he is so deserving of this award,” said Colorado River Valley Field Manager Larry Sandoval

The Sagebrush-Steppe Stewardship Award Collaborative Team Category winner is The Nature Conservancy Great Basin Ecoregion, nominated by the Cedar City Field Office, Utah. 

The Cedar City Field Office and The Nature Conservancy have partnered since 2012 on two Landscape Conservation Forecasting projects to develop a cost-effective management plan to forecast ecological conditions using management scenarios chosen by stakeholders. 

“Habitat improvement projects that have been completed using the Landscape Conservation Forecasting model have improved the health, composition and diversity of the vegetation community, been instrumental in the suppression of wildland fires, minimized the spread of invasive species and maintained adequate habitat components to meet the needs of a variety of wildlife including Greater Sage-grouse and Utah Prairie Dog,” said Cedar City Field Office Manager Paul Briggs. “Due largely in part to these efforts and the results on the landscape, BLM Cedar City has been able to continue successfully implementing our multiple-use mandate in these important areas. This award is well-deserved and BLM looks forward to continuing our partnership with TNC.” 

The Public Lands Council represents more than 22,000 cattle and sheep producers who hold public lands grazing permits. Federal grazing permit holders provide essential food and fiber resources to the nation, as well as important land management services like the eradication of invasive species, mitigation of wildfire risk, and conservation of vital wildlife habitat. The Public Lands Council works in active partnership with the BLM, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and local land management offices. 

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.