Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust Conserves Ranch for Agriculture & Sage Grouse
September 30, 2014
The NRCS-led Sage Grouse Initiative works in three main areas: conservation easements, as in this one in Wyoming, new grazing systems, and removal of invading conifers. We commend our partner Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust, the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, and especially landowner Maggie Miller for her continuing generosity to protect a legacy for sage grouse, hundreds of other wildlife species, and for keeping working lands intact. Please see our video featuring Maggie Miller and the Sommers-Grindstone Project.
For Immediate Release September 30, 2014
Cheyenne, Wyoming– The Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust completed the Martin Place project conserving 840 acres of productive rangeland in Sublette County. The Martin Place conservation easement, which closed on September 26, complements 14 conservation easements in Sublette County held by the Stock Growers Land Trust and results in a new total of 38,312 acres under easement in that county.
This total includes three easements already completed by landowner Maggie Miller as part of the Sommers Grindstone project. As with the others, the Martin Place conservation easement will ensure the ranch’s compatibility with agriculture and prevents the ranch from being converted to non-agricultural uses in the future.
The Martin Place has a rich variety of plant and animal diversity as it lies between Bridger-Teton National Forest and the Green River. South Beaver Creek and its tributaries provide abundant riparian habitat for a number of nesting songbirds, raptors, waterfowl, and shore birds. The surrounding uplands provide terrestrial habitat for a number of sage brush obligate species including Greater Sage Grouse. The eastern portion of the ranch is encompassed by the Daniel Sage Grouse Core Area and has been determined by the Wyoming Game and Fish department to provide suitable spring, summer and fall habitat for elk and winter-yearlong habitat for moose.
This project was made possible by funding from the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, The Natural Resources Conservation Service, along with an in-kind donation from the land owner. Bob Budd, Executive Director of the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, said, “This is another great example of a long-time Wyoming ranch conserving important wildlife habitat, while at the same time assuring a future for Wyoming agriculture. Hats off to Maggie and the Stock Growers Land Trust for completing this deal.”
Oregon State Conservationist, and current administrator of NRCS easement programs in Wyoming, Ron Alvarado said, “The Natural Resources Conservation Service is pleased to partner with the Stock Growers Land Trust in the conservation of important agricultural land in Wyoming. We appreciate the continued work with our partners and private landowners as we work together through the Farm Bill program administration and review process. We thank Ms. Miller for her commitment to conserve land in critically important sage grouse habitat.”
Following Friday’s closing in Pinedale, Maggie Miller said, “Again, I have a tremendous amount of gratitude to Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust, WWNRTF and NRCS for supporting the Martin Place conservation easement. It’s gratifying to know that the Martin Place lands will always be in agriculture and conservation for generations to come.”
Stock Growers Land Trust Executive Director Pamela Dewell said, “We thank Maggie Miller for her choice to conserve land in critical sage grouse habitat. We are also very grateful to DC- and Oregon-based staff for recognizing the importance of this project. Finally, we are very appreciative of the patience of landowners whose projects have been delayed due to reviews of Farm Bill program administration and look forward to closing several other projects in the very near future.”
About the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust
The Stock Growers Land Trust is dedicated to conservation through ranching. Based in Cheyenne, the non-profit organization serves the entire state and is Wyoming’s only agricultural land trust. Through partnerships with ranch families, the Stock Growers Land Trust holds and stewards conservation easements on more than 202,000 acres of land on ranches and farms throughout Wyoming. Founded in 2000 by the 140-year-old Wyoming Stock Growers Association, it is one of the largest among the 1,659 regional land trusts in the United States. For more information, visit www.wsgalt.org.
The Sage Grouse Initiative is a partnership-based, science-driven effort that uses voluntary incentives to proactively conserve America’s western rangelands, wildlife, and rural way of life. This initiative is part of Working Lands For Wildlife, which is led by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.