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New Partners On The Range


The words, "holistic," and "cattle range" aren't often heard together. But in California, "holistic range management" is indeed all the rage on the range.

And that thanks to the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition, a group of ranchers, conservationists and government officials. Each has far-flung agendas, but one common interest: To keep 25 million acres of Central California grasslands sustainable for both cattle and native species.

Steve Thompson, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the coalition's acknowledged inspiration. He helped California conservationists and ranchers realize that despite their differences, each cares deeply about sustaining their state's natural beauty.

So starting in 2001, the coalition began exploring ways to graze cattle on the ranchers' mostly private land, in ways that prevent overgrazing and sustain local wildlife.

Since then, there's been a change...on the range. On one ranch, owners used state bond funds to install fencing, water pipes and six new troughs, improving water availability across the ranch. Now cattle no longer congregate at one watering hole that was a sensitive area for wildlife.

The coalition's also documenting such changes in photos, to prove that managed grazing can increase plant diversity and soil cover.

Script by Bob Rhein

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