BLM South Dakota Field Office presents 2020 Sagebrush Steppe Stewardship Award
(BELLE FOURCHE, S.D.) – The Blair Ranch, LLC, of Belle Fourche, S.D., were presented with the 2020 Sagebrush Steppe Stewardship Award for their efforts to rehabilitate public lands through livestock grazing and other management tools, Feb. 3.
In an informal ceremony, Bureau of Land Management Eastern Montana/Dakotas District Manager Scott Haight, South Dakota Field Manager Chip Kimball, Rangeland Management Specialists Mitch Iverson and Carmen Drieling presented Mary, Chad and Ed Blair with a plaque, recognizing their hard work.
“It is a great pleasure and honor to recognize the hard work of these individuals and groups in furthering our efforts to provide healthy functioning plant communities, riparian areas and wildlife habitat on America’s public rangelands,” said Dr. David Jenkins, BLM Assistant Director for Resources and Planning. “Their partnership is key to solidifying important aspects of the BLM’s multiple use mission.”
The “Rangeland Stewardship” and “Sagebrush Steppe Stewardship” annual awards are given by the Bureau of Land Management to those who have displayed exemplary land management and conservation practices.
“I want to congratulate all of the 2020 winners and thank them for continuing the tradition of public lands ranchers as true conservationists and environmental stewards, I also want to thank the Bureau of Land Management for being productive and engaged partners with these operations,” said Public Lands Council President Niels Hansen in a news release last October when the recipients were announced. “It is really something special to have the federal government recognize the importance of livestock production and grazing on public lands, year after year.”
BLM award nomination criteria include: the demonstration of improvement and/or long-standing maintenance of rangeland resources through conservation stewardship; the use of beneficial management practices to restore, protect, and enhance rangeland resources and/or those related to sagebrush steppe habitats and efforts to collaborate and cooperate with other users of public lands.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $111 billion in economic output across the country in fiscal year 2019—more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 498,000 jobs.