September 6, 2006
Contact: Celia Boddington, 202-452-5128

BLM Director Announces Winners of 2006 Rangeland Stewardship Award

Calling public lands ranchers “effective stewards of the public lands,” Bureau of Land Management Director Kathleen Clarke today presented the BLM’s first annual Rangeland Stewardship Award to two Idaho public lands ranchers and an Idaho grazing association that have improved rangeland conditions in the state’s Shoshone Basin. The award was presented in Reno, Nevada, at a meeting of the rancher-based Public Lands Council.

The BLM’s award recognizes the rangeland stewardship work of Jim Baker of Filer, Charles Thompson of Twin Falls, and the Pleasant Valley Grazing Association, which is represented by Rob Rogerson of Eden. The award recipients hold BLM grazing permits in connection with their cattle operations in the Shoshone Basin, where their work has enhanced streamside conditions and improved sage-grouse habitat.

“The BLM is delighted to make its first-ever presentation of this Rangeland Stewardship Award,” Director Clarke said. “These award recipients – Jim Baker, Charles Thompson, and Rob Rogerson – have made significant investments of their time and money to make a difference on Idaho public rangelands, improving streamside conditions and enhancing habitat for wildlife. Their efforts, which include grazing management changes and range improvement projects, have gone above and beyond our agency’s expectations. The awardees, who are helping the BLM meet its conservation goals, are outstanding examples of how ranchers serve as good stewards of the public lands.”

The three awardees, nominated by Twin Falls District Manager Howard Hedrick, were selected by Director Clarke after a review by a seven-member committee that examined nominations from BLM field managers throughout the West. The selection committee included rancher Olin Simms of McFadden, Wyoming, representing the National Association of Conservation Districts; Bob Budd of Lander, Wyoming, representing The Wildlife Society; Deen Boe of Crimora, Virginia, representing the Society for Range Management; and Maggie Beal of Washington, D.C., representing the rancher-based Public Lands Council. The selection committee also included three BLM employees from the Washington, D.C., office: botanist Carol Spurrier, senior rangeland management specialist Robert Bolton, and rangeland management specialist Doug Powell.

The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Interior Department, manages more land – 261 million surface acres – than any other Federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western states, including Alaska; livestock grazing is authorized on approximately 160 million acres. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1.8 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on the public land.