NWF's WCR team on a site visit in southern Utah
Thanks to your steadfast support, the National Wildlife Federation has retired an incredible 1.5 million acres of grazing over the past 18 years. While 2020 wasn’t the year any of us anticipated, we secured significant wins for wildlife through retiring grazing allotments as part of our Wildlife Conflict Resolution Program. We are excited to share the highlights of our work over the past year. In 2020 NWF's Adopt a Wildlife Acre Program:
• Partnered closely with the Taos Pueblo tribe to retire the Santos domestic sheep allotment, adjacent to the Rio Grande Gorge, which has been identified as an extremely important wildlife corridor for multiple species and home to one of the largest herds of bighorn sheep in North America. Removing domestic sheep will prevent the transmission of disease to these wild sheep.
• Remained in active discussion with a permittee of two high priority domestic sheep allotments in the Centennial Mountains, a critical east-west expansion area for grizzlies.
• Continued efforts to retire the final cattle grazing allotment in Capitol Reef National Park. While the permittee is willing to move, alternate grazing has been challenging to uncover.
• Retired the Endlich Mesa domestic sheep allotment in the San Juan Forest near Durango to protect bighorn sheep from disease transmission as well as protecting sensitive riparian areas. Check out this short video of the area when sheep were grazing last year at nearly 13,000 feet.
• Started negotiation on two high conflict domestic sheep allotments in northwest Colorado. When completed, the two allotments will protect 10,000 acres of desert bighorn sheep habitat.
• Continued to negotiate several allotment retirements in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. These include: West Fork of the Madison allotment which has a high number of grizzly bear-livestock conflicts, a cattle allotment South of Big Timber, MT, two domestic sheep allotments in the Wyoming Range south of Jackson, and several cattle allotments West of Cody, WY.
• Launched an effort to retire grazing allotments on tribal lands in order to open up space for the reintroduction of wild bison.
Additionally, with the passage of the wolf reintroduction ballot initiative in Colorado, we believe our grazing retirement work could play a critical role for wolf tolerance in areas where grazing is already a marginal business practice.
Our grazing allotment retirement program has proven to be a cornerstone of wildlife conservation initiatives in the West and we are excited for the future. As we expand the scale and geographies of this work, our main challenge is the time spent raising funds for each allotment before we can move onto the next project, thereby slowing our progress. We plan to embark on a comprehensive fundraising campaign in the coming years to address this challenge.
Looking ahead, our goals include:
• Retire an average of 100,000 acres each year. The map attachment illustrates the areas protected thus far, and the high priority allotments we have identified.
• Elevate opportunities to include retirement language in Forest Service Planning Revisions and more importantly in land protection designations, such as wilderness areas or National Monuments to change the status quo for grazing decisions and provide more flexibility to reduce grazing pressure in sensitive areas.
• Team up with our Tribal Lands Program to develop opportunities to retire grazing on Bureau of Indian Affairs land on the Wind River Reservation.
These accomplishments are yours as well and we hope you are proud of the significant and positive impacts we are having on conservation in the west. Thank you for your support and for your confidence in the work we do!Attachments: