Landowner-led organization takes action with western stakeholders to scale-up wildlife conflict reduction on working lands
Santa Fe, NM (April 16, 2019) – Western Landowners Alliance (WLA)—a member-based nonprofit organization focused on advancing policies and practices that sustain working lands, connected landscapes and native species—has announced a landowner-led initiative to reduce conflicts with wildlife in the northern Rockies, including Colorado. With support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the initiative is intended to engage landowners, partners and non-profit organizations in coordinated efforts to share knowledge, provide increased resources, and improve policies and practices that help reduce losses to both wildlife and livestock. Candace Weeda of Cascade, Montana, will be heading up the effort as the Northern Rockies Landowner Representative for WLA. Weeda is a recent graduate of the King Ranch® Institute for Ranch Management. The conflict reduction initiative aligns with WLA’s mission to address conservation challenges on working landscapes where livestock, wildlife and people coexist.
“Land management conflicts involving grizzlies, wolves and elk are a great challenge,” said Albert Sommers, WLA member and landowner from Pinedale, Wyoming. “It is critical to have perspectives from people who are out working on the land with these animals everyday at the table to shape future management practices. WLA represents that landowner voice so we can find ways to help reduce and better manage wildlife conflicts.”
Earlier this year WLA released a publication around one of the greatest conservation questions of our time—how can we manage a wild, working landscape that sustains both people and wildlife? While WLA’s guide, “Reducing Conflict with Grizzly Bears, Wolves and Elk” centers on the more well-known and publicized struggles between people and animals in the Rockies, the important lessons and knowledge are universal throughout the West, especially in states like Colorado. The resources and best management practices in this guide were developed and provided by landowners, wildlife agencies, researchers and nonprofit organizations. Each of the contributors in this guide has a wealth of real-world experience in ranching and wildlife management and knows first-hand the difference between what looks good on paper and what works on the ground.
As a main component of the work, WLA will facilitate a conflict reduction network to connect collaborative, conflict mitigation efforts and partners across the West. Participants in the network will meet regularly to increase coordination and knowledge sharing among partners, and to advance funding and joint policy recommendations that will better support coexistence solutions such as carcass pickup and composting, range riding and more. Conflict reduction strategies, practices and resources will be made readily available to landowners.
Western Landowners Alliance (WLA) was established by landowners in 2011 to advance policies and practices that sustain working lands, connected landscapes and native species. WLA members steward approximately 14 million acres of deeded and leased public land in the American West. Through policy reform and on-the-ground stewardship, they are working to protect land and wildlife, restore watershed health, maintain wildlife corridors, promote economically vibrant rural communities and to keep working lands working.