Incentivizing conservation efforts

Paul in Idaho

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Aug 9, 2012
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699
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Southwest Idaho
I found this article today and think there are some good ideas in it.

How Conservationists Could Have Prevented the Oregon Standoff
Rather than setting up adversarial relationships by punishing landowners, we must engage them and establish incentives for their good stewardship of the land. ...

I have worked in both Africa and the United States to foster public-private partnerships that save endangered species and add value for landowners. If more of these relationships were established, we could say goodbye to the rancor which brought rural landowners in eastern Oregon and Washington into bitter conflict with environmentalists and the government. ...

We established new conservation tools. Instead of lawsuits, we developed the “Ecosystem Services Model.” ... Why not get paid to grow sagebrush instead of grass? More sagebrush, more Sage Grouse.

This concept reminds me a lot of what Delta Waterfowl has been doing with Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) in Canada. http://www.deltawaterfowl.org/what-we-do/alus.html

I'd be curious to hear what thoughts are from this group - is there an opportunity to establish widespread partnerships and cooperation, instead of nonstop lawsuits that serve only to divide the West further?
 

Northwoods Labs

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Aug 28, 2015
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Danbury, Wisconsin
I think groups like TU and PF already do good work with private landowners, at least they do here in Wisconsin.

I'm not sure this would have prevented the Bundy incident either. There are some in this country who are just plain out there
 

James Riley

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Jan 10, 2015
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I'll probably catch a lot of crap for this but I'd support using tax dollars to pay ranchers to not ranch, tear down fencing, re-seed roads, kill invasive plants and animals, etc. There would have to be some kind of check put in place to prevent a "growth" industry in perpetuity. It should be designed to help the land-rich, money-poor. I'd support buying out willing sellers with an eye toward the small deeded, isolated (in-holding) irrigated (read former winter range) bottom lands that serve as a link to AUMs.

Hell, they could keep wearing the hats and boots and riding around on horses and having rodeos to, you know, maintain the "culture". They could do like the Indians did at the turn of the last century and charge tourists for pictures.

Purely voluntary, of course. Nobody would force them to continue working hard for little pay, all for the romance of being a cowboy. But if they wanted to get on board, I'd support "ranching for wildlife" in a literal sense. Hell, I'd even forgive Bundy if he'd fall in.

This is just my personal opinion. :D

BRING BACK THE BISON!
 

jzeck2

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Dec 31, 2013
Messages
193
Location
South Dakota
Rather than punishing criminals we should incentives them not to rape, murder and steal. Not sure I agree that handing more of my hard earned tax dollars to welfare queens is a great idea. And Oh, by the way, these queens are squatting on my land and complaining about it as well. If I can't make a living in my chosen profession guess what, I get to find a new one. If they can't make it as ranchers McDonald's is always hiring.

What happened to stewardship. Aldo, I'm glad you are not around to see this. How about doing the "RIGHT THING", or following the "Golden Rule"?

Sorry for the hostility but the South Dakota Legislature is in session and you can't believe the number of asinine bills we are having to deal with that want to make it harder for me to find a place to hunt and easier for farmers and ranchers to suck up my tax dollars and not pay any of their own money to support our poor state.
 
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Oct 7, 2014
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572
In the Midwest incentives are all over the place mostly in the form of CRP/WRP and state based landowner assistance programs where they send a guy out to your place, he tells you half a dozen state and federal program you qualify for grants, cost matching, etc whether that be to not plow eroded areas, selectively thin timber or put water control structures in to create moist soil management.

The problem is that the programs tend to be abused by rich guys with recreational properties and seats on the local DU board rather than the struggling family farmer who wants to do the right thing, but lives or dies over $1000 more or less in crop profits (insurance). In the 80's when ag crashed a lot of people made out buying marginal land and putting it into CRP and letting it go fallow. Fast forward to around 2010 when crop prices went through the roof everyone pulled marginal farm ground out of CRP because the payments were a fraction of the value of farming the land again. A big element of the midwest deer population crash in the last 5 years was loosing CRP cover.

You now have to own land for 7 years before you can put it in WRP because they would pay 3/4 of the land value and match 50/50 on improvements and the land was worth half the value without permanent easements on the open market. Basically buy land for $1, the government pays you $0.75 and you sell it for $0.50 and turn 25% for little more than some paperwork. Famously a family in Missouri accumulated and sold 20k acres that way which was even better for them because they were heavy equipment dealers and paid themselves with cost matching money to do the levees and water control.

I really don't understand why when we can produce enough food why we should be subsidizing ranchers on marginal ground to produce especially when its on 1/2 to 2/3rd public land.
 

WestT

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Jul 22, 2014
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309
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Illinois
I'll probably catch a lot of crap for this but I'd support using tax dollars to pay ranchers to not ranch, tear down fencing, re-seed roads, kill invasive plants and animals, etc.

I agree with Flatland, there are already a lot of programs utilizing tax dollars in the Midwest to subsidize landowners to partake in conservation activities. Why not do that in the West? It's not like the Mississippi is the Berlin Wall.
 

1_pointer

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Dec 20, 2000
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18,123
Location
Indiana
Many of the programs offered by the NRCS (ie CRP, WRP, EQIP/WHIP) in the Midwest, are offered in some way in the "West". The details of the practices are different to fit local needs.

The payments for those programs is part of the dollar figures folks like to bring up as part of agricultural subsidies received by producers. On this forum that number is used more as the stick than the carrot...
 

James Riley

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Jan 10, 2015
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Rather than punishing criminals we should incentives them not to rape, murder and steal. Not sure I agree that handing more of my hard earned tax dollars to welfare queens is a great idea. And Oh, by the way, these queens are squatting on my land and complaining about it as well. If I can't make a living in my chosen profession guess what, I get to find a new one. If they can't make it as ranchers McDonald's is always hiring.

What happened to stewardship. Aldo, I'm glad you are not around to see this. How about doing the "RIGHT THING", or following the "Golden Rule"?

Sorry for the hostility but the South Dakota Legislature is in session and you can't believe the number of asinine bills we are having to deal with that want to make it harder for me to find a place to hunt and easier for farmers and ranchers to suck up my tax dollars and not pay any of their own money to support our poor state.

No need to apologize. I understand your sentiments. Well put.

I tried to anticipate the other comments above (by others) when acknowledging the potential for abuse. Not only from folks trying to milk the system, but also those who would engage in "extortion" and holding their own land hostage. But your analogy to criminals must be addressed.

I would not support paying people not to engage in crime. I would, however, support paying people to not do something they are legally allowed to do, with conditions, and I would compare this to (another analogy) Bernie Sanders wanting to provide tuition free college for everyone (with conditions). I don't see it as a give-away. Rather, I see it as an investment in a future that we all want and that we simply will not get under the current paradigm.

Which brings us to my comment about Cliven Bundy. It was my personal sentiment, a largess, or a feeling of magnanimity in victory, should I have gotten my way with the new program. While forgiveness is for the benefit of the recipient, it also does me some good and helps me keep my eye on the future and what I'm trying to do. Hell, if I had my way we'd put him in the center of a circle of his friends and loved ones, forcing him to listen to them tell him about all the good things he's done in his life. But our society is beyond indigenous wisdom. We'd rather drown and let drown; Besides, we'd be hard-pressed to find friends and loved one who didn't think what he did to our land was a good thing. He's got enough of those idiots around him already. So the forgiveness is for my benefit, not his. Other's mileage may vary.
 
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hank4elk

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Jan 8, 2015
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4,503
Location
SW NM
My little 140ac ranch is in the NM LO program. My water and grass is for wildlife mainly. The only water for miles.
I run a few head of cattle every other year for a couple months with a rancher buddy for Ag break,and help him out.
It took 2 years to come back after years of homestead farming/ranching,then over grazing bad.Still getting better every year,even with the drought we have had.
It is fenced to keep range cattle out and I have made it elk/antelope friendly.
I'm always looking for native plants & seeds for planting,4wing salt brush,Mtn Mahogany,etc. and native grasses for over seeding. Narrow leaf cottonwood sprouts started to plant down by the windmill tank,going in after the thaw.
In exchange I get 1 MB & 2 cow tags. Ranch only.

The benefit is paying off big time locally. Herds have tripled at least in numbers. 300 elk on my place at one time, several times this past season. 24 antelope. Does fawning here for the summer.
When I moved here 7 yrs ago I would see a couple antelope in valley occationally,and maybe 100 elk in the valley ,a couple dozen on my land.
Our local sightings of elk, deer & antelope &seeing them on my place & surrounding small ranches,BLM & state lands is my pay day.

Another greedy NM rancher................ with his windmill running year round. But not a crook.
 

Ben Lamb

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Aug 6, 2010
Messages
14,044
Location
Cedar, MI
While I don't support in any way the privitization of wildlife such as they have done in Africa and elsewhere, I do think we need to reassess how we incentivize conservation on private and public land.

What Dr. Warner misses in his piece is that we're doing that, largely because of the state and federal plans relative to sage grouse and sage brush conservation, and largely because people have recognized that the stick approach doesn't work unless their is a carrot associated.

Landowners in the west control vast acreages and that's not going to change. In Montana, private land supports over 60% of sage grouse habitat, and often times the most important habitat. We need to give landowners the tools necessary to manage for conservation, if we're going to continue to have abundant wildlife in some places.

Just as we complain about funding for public land management ,we need to be actively engaged in ensuring private land managers have the necessary tools to do the work the nation has asked them too.

Other wise, we just breed more contempt.
 

Gellar

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Joined
Jan 31, 2014
Messages
1,963
Location
The Driftless Area
My little 140ac ranch is in the NM LO program. My water and grass is for wildlife mainly. The only water for miles.
I run a few head of cattle every other year for a couple months with a rancher buddy for Ag break,and help him out.
It took 2 years to come back after years of homestead farming/ranching,then over grazing bad.Still getting better every year,even with the drought we have had.
It is fenced to keep range cattle out and I have made it elk/antelope friendly.
I'm always looking for native plants & seeds for planting,4wing salt brush,Mtn Mahogany,etc. and native grasses for over seeding. Narrow leaf cottonwood sprouts started to plant down by the windmill tank,going in after the thaw.
In exchange I get 1 MB & 2 cow tags. Ranch only.

The benefit is paying off big time locally. Herds have tripled at least in numbers. 300 elk on my place at one time, several times this past season. 24 antelope. Does fawning here for the summer.
When I moved here 7 yrs ago I would see a couple antelope in valley occationally,and maybe 100 elk in the valley ,a couple dozen on my land.
Our local sightings of elk, deer & antelope &seeing them on my place & surrounding small ranches,BLM & state lands is my pay day.

Another greedy NM rancher................ with his windmill running year round. But not a crook.

Mother Nature is capable of amazing things when given the chance.
 

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