Landscape Stewardship Certificates of Appreciation - 2012

Bill Sears looks at his Citation, as Don Schramm (gray vest) presents George Collins with his Citation

The Public Lands Foundation presents Bill Sears and George Collins with its 2012 Landscape Stewardship Certificate of Appreciation and this Citation.  The Foundation grants this recognition to honor private citizens and organizations that work to advance and sustain community-based stewardship on landscapes that include, in whole or in part, public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Bill Sears has a long history of good stewardship on both his private lands and his BLM grazing allotment.  Upon acquiring control of the Albert Creek Allotment in 2011, Sears immediately began working with the private landowner (Anadarko Petroleum) to repair the damage to the vegetation and irrigation structures on the Company Ranch caused by years of neglect.

George Collins, manager of the Company Ranch, and Sears formed a partnership in the summer of 2011 to jointly operate the Company Ranch and Albert Creek Allotment.  They partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to develop a holistic management plan for managing the public and private lands in both the Albert Creek Allotment and Company Ranch in an effort to improve both forage and habitat for cattle and wildlife.

The Sears-Collins partnership enabled them to run their cattle jointly on Albert Creek.  They voluntarily offered to restrict their use in the south pasture of Albert Creek (which is within the nesting range of more than one sage-grouse lek) to once every few years (to preserve cover) and then only after the brood-rearing season has ended.  They have also decided to restrict cattle use to the more flat portions of Albert Creek west of Highway 189 and reserve the remainder of the allotment for sheep use should such a need arise.  The partners also developed a grazing rotation plan that would allow Sears to improve range conditions on Albert Creek while still allowing him to run his cattle.

The partners are working with the NRCS and USFWS to develop a rehabilitation plan for Little Muddy Creek on the private lands in the Company Ranch.  They plan to use the lessons and experience gained in that effort to rehabilitate the Albert Creek drainage. Once the NRCS conservation plan for Albert Creek is completed, it will form the basis for the Albert Creek Allotment Management Plan.

Sears’ and Collins’ cooperation and innovation will enable BLM rangelands to be improved and serves as a model for other permittees.

The Public Lands Foundation is pleased to present Bill Sears and George Collins with its 2012 Landscape Stewardship Certificate of Appreciation and this Citation for invaluable contributions to the stewardship of America’s public landscapes.

/s/ Henri Bisson

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Henri Bisson, President                                                                                                                September 15, 2012
Public Lands Foundation