BLM NEWS RELEASE
The Bureau of Land Management announced on Tuesday the winner of the agency’s Rangeland Stewardship Award for 2010. The award was presented to a Nevada ranch that has improved rangeland conditions in the Carson City area. BLM Deputy Director Marcilynn Burke presented the award in Pendleton, Oregon, at a meeting of the rancher-based Public Lands Council.
The BLM’s award recognizes the rangeland management of the Smith Creek Ranch near Austin, Nevada. The ranch owner, Ray Hendrix, holds a BLM grazing permit in connection with his livestock operation in the BLM’s Carson City District. With Mr. Hendrix’s backing, ranch manager Duane Coombs has implemented innovative livestock management practices to enhance sagebrush, aspen, and riparian habitat. The Smith Creek Ranch has been particularly effective in improving sage-grouse habitat on the public lands that they use for grazing.
On March 5, 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that listing of the greater sage-grouse as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was warranted, but precluded by the need to complete other listing actions of higher priority. Proactive management in sage-grouse habitat is a high priority to prevent this species from becoming fully listed under the ESA. Having such grazing permit holders as the Smith Creek Ranch vested in this endeavor is imperative to providing healthy rangelands for future generations.
“The BLM is delighted to present the Rangeland Stewardship Award to Ray Hendrix and Duane Coombs of the Smith Creek Ranch, for their efforts to manage and improve public rangelands in Nevada,” said Deputy Director Burke. “The work of Mr. Hendrix and his staff, which includes monitoring conditions and intensive herding to improve grazing management, has been truly outstanding.”
This award has been presented every year since 2006. Previous winners include Jim Baker, Charles Thompson, Rob Rogerson, Chris Black, and Brian and Kathleen Bean of the Lava Lake Land and Livestock (all of whom are from Idaho). Jack Haworth from Colorado was presented the award in 2007. In addition, the BLM has previously presented two collaboration awards, the first to grazing permittees, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the interested public, other groups, and government agencies collectively associated with the Cody Field Office in Wyoming, and a second one to the participants in the Skyline Cooperative Weed Management Area in Price, Utah.