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USDA – US Forest Service Recognizes Campo Grazing Assoc – National Rangeland Partner of the Year

 

Award recipient: Bill Brooks, Campo Grazing Association President – Awards given by: John Crockett, Acting Director of Forest and Rangelands Management and Vegetation in the USFS Washington Office with Diana Trujillo, PSICC Forest and Grassland Supervisor

 

PUEBLO, Colo., Dec. 19, 2018 – The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) recently presented the Chief’s Award for Excellence in Rangeland Management for External Partners to the Campo Grazing Association (Association) in Baca County, Colorado. The Association has over 40 years of history as a vital partner with the Comanche National Grassland (Grassland), to administer range permits through its 51 members in rural southeast Colorado.

According to Comanche Grassland Ranger John Linn, “Our range partners’ work on and with the land result in resilient landscapes. Their knowledge and kinship to the land and its ability to maintain a verdant ecosystem is critical to our common goal of providing thriving national grasslands for our children and future generations.”

Because of the Association’s excellent work, the Grassland is now capable of sustaining the soil and its inherent biological diversity through drought periods longer than those leading to the Dust Bowl.

The award was presented to Association President Bill Brooks by John Crockett, Acting Director of Forest and Rangelands Management and Vegetation in the USFS Washington Office. Brooks shared a special memory that exemplifies his family’s ranching legacy for this area. Bill’s grandfather was the first rancher to receive a grazing permit on the Comanche NG. Today, five generations later, his grandsons continue to work the ranch.

The partnership with the Association is vital in bringing back sustainable Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) populations to southeast Colorado on the Comanche NG. This area is a focus for LPC habitat and the primary area in the reintroduction of the species by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife.  The Association has been instrumental in enhancing LPC habitat on USFS lands on private land bordering the Grassland.  The Association and USFS have developed a variety of innovative grazing strategies.  As an example, the Association removed windmills and installed solar units so predators have less opportunity to perch, nest and threaten the bird. They also joined forces with a neighboring association to adjust grazing practices in the heart of the LPC habitat.

Beyond successful resource management, the USFS is honored to have a strong relationship with this partner. Diana Trujillo, Forest and Grassland Supervisor recalled fond memories of being lifted onto her grandfather’s horse or riding in the back of his pick-up truck as they went out to work on his range allotment. According to Diana, “Partnership relationships are important to the U.S. Forest Service and last through generations, just like the work we do to preserve and utilize these range acres.”

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