California Rangeland Conservation Coalition
From its beginning in 2005 as a dialogue among dissimilar rangeland stakeholders at a cattle ranch in the San Francisco Bay Area, the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition (Coalition) has continued to effectively ‘work in the middle’ “to bring together ranchers, conservationists and government entities to conserve and enhance the ecological values and economic viability of California’s working rangelands.”
The Coalition founders called for a statement to express their shared belief that these privately-owned rangelands and the ecosystems they support are largely due to grazing and other land stewardship practices of the ranchers that own and manage them. The California Rangeland Resolution then became the authoritative statement shared by all 127 signatories and utilized as the Coalition’s foundation for its strategic efforts for the rangelands encircling the Central Valley and including the Sierra foothills and interior Coast Ranges. The signatories have pledged to work together to preserve and enhance California's rangeland for species of special concern, while supporting the long-term viability of the ranching industry. Signatories either conceptually support the work of the coalition or are actively engaged in working with other partners to fulfill the underlying principles of the coalition stated in the Resolution.
“The Coalition of resource agencies, scientists, conservationists and ranchers has agreed that ranching isn’t incidental to a healthy ecosystem. It is fundamental.” ~ Darrel Sweet, California Rangeland Trust
Through its work over the years the Coalition has created a growing community of people who appreciate and better-understand private rangelands and ranching. With numerous ranchers on the leadership team, the Coalition is a valued place where all the stakeholders come together to address complex natural resources issues through dialogue and collaboration.
- The Coalition advances the knowledge of these complex ecosystems and raise awareness of the ecological, social and economic importance of rangeland systems, and thus how important it is to protect them. This includes the annual Summit and field trips to private and public rangelands focused on the use of grazing as a conservation tool and increasing understanding of the issues that ranchers face trying to balance production and environmental goals.
- To expand the scientific foundation for its work, the Coalition fosters collaboration among researchers from different disciplines, ranchers and land managers.
- The Coalition facilitates on-the-ground conservation practices that seek to maximize returns from the public’s investment in conservation projects.
- To reduce barriers to implementing rangeland conservation the Coalition works with its organization and governmental membership at the federal, state and local levels to streamline regulatory permitting processes, establish common conservation goals, and apply rangeland management science. The signatories often work with the agriculture organizations on agricultural legislation.
The California Rangeland Conservation Coalition now serves as a major resource and link for rangeland conservation and ranching - and as an effective voice for working rangelands. It has made a difference in California’s rangeland-related policy, on-the-ground stewardship partnerships, and research outcomes and application in order to “keep ranchers ranching”.