When anglers think of clean water and access to fishing, do they often consider the conservation work by ranchers that make those opportunities possible?

I decided to tackle this topic briefly for my column last week on the Rocky Boots blog. Give it a read.

Image via Rocky Boots
Image via Rocky Boots

While many environmental conservation groups consider ‘natural’ to be leaving the land alone, that’s often not the case for actual conservation of health and diversity of water, soil, forage and wildlife habitats. During the past few years, I’ve visited with many ranchers who have documented the success of grazing practices to promote healthy forage stands, prevent encroaching forests, remove litter that would become fuel for fires and even repair riparian areas on their private ranches and public grazing allotments.

These changes are difficult to observe in the short-term, but are easily identifiable when you compare photos from decades past or look at livestock and wildlife exclosures that have been in place for, in some cases, generations.

Grazing helps remove old growth so plants can thrive. Wildlife even follow livestock to graze more tender forages. Periodic burning prevents overgrowth of shrubs and weeds, plus prevents catastrophic fires from burning out of control. These are just a few of the stories ranchers can be sharing to help connect with outdoor enthusiasts, who by the way, are also very much interested in conserving our environment for future generations of access to quality fishing and wildlife habitat.

What about you? What examples can you share where livestock have been an integral part of managing for clean waters and a healthier environment?

Take a moment to read my June column on the Rocky Boots blog and leave a comment with your thoughts. Then, share the word with anglers this summer and find out what goals you may have in common.

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