Many Partners and One Goal: Conservation
The Noland Ranch
By: Executive Staff, AZNRCD
Morenci, AZ – January 2013- The Noland Ranch is near Morenci, an Arizona copper mining town. The ranch has an extensive history, dating back to the 1920s and is owned by Cash and Crystal Noland after having purchased it from A.F. Noland ten years ago.
This is rugged country, making livestock management a challenge on over 71,000 acres of state lease, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and private lands. Conserving the resources is important to the Noland’s, which means the development of a livestock rotation system for their ranch was a priority. The ranch does not have enough dependable water and this is necessary to properly manage the movement of cattle throughout the year and supply wildlife like Big horn sheep and mule deer with water during times of drought.
The price for putting conservation measures on the ground can be costly, so the Noland’s began to investigate ways in which to address these concerns through conservation cost share programs and partnerships. Two such programs were discovered: the Healthy Lands Partnership through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Coordinated Conservation Partnership Initiative through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). Both programs provided tools to meet the conservation needs identified by Cash in order to improve the ranch’s plant productivity, decrease erosion, and install fencing.
The ranch includes federal lands so a Coordinated Resource Management Plan was written by the Noland’s with the help and input of all the partners involved in this effort: BLM, NRCS, AZ Game and Fish, USDA Forest Service, the State Land Dept., and the Gila Valley Natural Resource Conservation District. “I believe ranchers like us that provide a good amount of beef to feed the nation should be able to obtain funding to preserve and improve land and water,” said Crystal Noland
Once all necessary requirements are met among the agencies, the Noland Ranch will be able to decrease undesirable invasive shrubs, improve vegetative cover and species diversity, and decrease habitat fragmentation, all while supporting working lands productivity.
Crystal noted, “Without a completed conservation plan we wouldn't have the resources to make these new projects possible.” Conservation planning is the first step to participating in these programs and getting conservation on the ground. Cash and Crystal are very excited about what lies ahead for improving the ranch and meeting their most important goal- a sustainable Noland Ranch for their kids.
Ranching Family Proactive About Conservation
San Simon, AZ – February, 2013
By: Administrative Staff, AZNRCD
Larry Parker believes in active conservation to make the land and water better. Ranchers know that conservation in action can be costly and it takes dedication to see it through, especially when you are dealing with multiple interests and landowners, but he is focused on making it work.
The Parker Ranch is located just south of San Simon, Arizona, along the Chiricahua Mountains. The Parker family took over the ownership and operation of the ranch in the 1990’s and faces the challenges of mixed interests head on. The ranch consists of a blend of state lease, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and private lands.
With the Healthy Lands Partnership (HLP) and the Borderlands Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI), two conservation programs available through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and the BLM, the Parker family have an opportunity to achieve multiple conservation goals that would otherwise be cost prohibitive. They plan to decrease undesirable invasive shrubs, improve vegetative cover and species diversity, and decrease habitat fragmentation, while supporting working lands productivity. This work is done cooperatively with the help of the agencies as well as the Willcox Natural Resource Conservation District and the AZ State Land Dept.
The family has recognized concerns with changes in soil stability, hydrology, livestock forage, and wildlife habitat. The 35,000-acre ranch consists of both flatlands and mountain ranges, creating an interesting contrast to the management practices needed. “Historically,” relates Mr. Parker, “the forested portion of the ranch was used during the winter, and the lower range was used during the growing season. With this overuse occurring year after year, the historical grasses were harmed significantly. Over time, the creosote has increased, invading the natural grasses, and competing for moisture.”
A comprehensive Coordinated Resource Management Plan which addresses multiple goals for conservation on the ranch was written by the Parkers with the help and involvement of the multiple conservation partners involved in this effort. Ultimately, the work done by the rancher will not only improve the resources needed to sustain the family ranching business, but will also increase and improve available habitat for a greater diversity of wildlife. This is a collaborative balance of sustaining natural land-based ecosystems and increasing land-based productivity. The Plan facilitates getting the right work done at the right time.
Mr. Parker notes, “Other local areas have used treatments and it has made a huge difference. Our long-range goal is to cover the next 40 sections of the ranch with brush control. This takes time, because the treated areas must be left alone for a bit, and cattle must be rotated in sync with the treatments.” In addition, the installation of new watering systems will occur. With these improvements, the Parker Ranch will be a working haven, consisting of lands that will provide for livestock and a variety of wildlife. “We are very excited to get these treatments going, so that the historical grasses of the land can return,” said Mr. Parker.
We Care About Conservation
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