Landscape Stewardship Awards - 2014

Left to right: Berry Anderson, Bill Anderson, Louie Molt, Roxanne Bailey, Carol Dunton, Dick Prather (PLF Representative for Oregon), Marty Suter-Goold, Andrew Shields, and Jeff Rose

The Public Lands Foundation presents the Harney County Soil and Water Conservation District with its 2014 Landscape Stewardship Award 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).

Harney County Soil and Water Conservation District led a diverse group of partners to help create the first Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) for the Greater sage-grouse in Oregon.  This was a multi-year project spanning close to three years that required the Conservation District to seek out new and innovative ways to achieve this goal.

Working closely with private landowners and other partners, the Conservation District was able to develop a model process and document that is vital for the protection of sage-grouse in Harney County and southeastern Oregon.

The Conservation District forged ahead on this project in spite of the current uncertainty in the final listing decision to show commitment to the process and to ensure that private landowners have the flexibility needed if the sage-grouse is listed.  The Harney County sage-grouse CCAA provides a model for ranches to use and provides a suite of management actions that have been identified to benefit sage-grouse.  If the sage-grouse is listed and a ranch has an approved CCAA, there will be little impact to ranch activities.

After completion of the Harney County CCAA, the next step was to assist ranches with the development of area- or ranch-specific CCAAs.  This effort has led to the successful completion of the first ranch-specific CCAA (Home Ranch CCAA).   The Conservation District is continuing to work with ranches to support the completion of additional ranch-specific CCAAs.  Currently, the Conservation District has requests for assistance on over 25 CCAAs.

Completion of the Harney County CCAA has also helped the Burns District BLM develop the first Sage-grouse specific candidate conservation agreement (CCA).  This is similar to the CCAA, but only addresses management within a BLM allotment.  Establishment of the CCA for a BLM allotment will allow approved management actions to continue if the sage-grouse is listed. This foresight and leadership exhibited by the Conservation District will help prepare private and public land managers develop strategies to protect sage-grouse habitat while meeting other objectives.

The Public Lands Foundation is pleased to present the Harney County Soil and Water Conservation District with its 2014 Landscape Stewardship Award and this Citation for invaluable contributions to the stewardship of America’s public landscapes.

Edward Shepard
September 9, 2014