Sage Grouse are a class of bird that includes fourteen species of grouse worldwide. They live among and eat sagebrush. They are about the size of a small chicken and they are suitable food for both humans and animal carnivores. Their numbers have been in sharp decline since the mid-1960's, when livestock grazing was first reduced in their key habitat. 80% of the threat to sage grouse survival is loss due to habitat destruction mostly caused by wildfire. Since the mid- 1960's livestock grazing has been reduced by over 50%, and the incidence of wildland fire in the same areas has seen a six fold increase. The cause and effect of over zealous and mis-guided federal land management decisions driven by radical elements of the environmental movement who believe all human impacts are negative, are clear and undeniable. Less livestock mean more fuel on the range and more fuel on the range means more threat from catastrophic wildfire. More wildfire means more loss of sage grouse habitat and sage grouse. One last fact: Sage grouse populations have been stabile since 2003 and growing in some key areas - all without additional federal regulation - this is according the the Western Association of State Game Managers. (the real scientists on the ground)
Livestock grazing is a method of agriculture that converts grasses and other plants into meat, milk and hundreds of other products. It is an all-natural, and renewable means of food production. It is a desirable tool for removing fuel from rangeland and reducing the risk of catastrophic wildland fire. Cattle grazing in particular is desirable for sage grouse conservation because cattle share no significant food source with sage grouse and can be stocked at rates that do not significantly interfere with sage grouse mating, nesting or lifecycle. Further, responsible cattle grazing improves range and soil health, strengthens plant communities and is a natural part of the cycle of life. It is also a responsible way to use a resource that is useless for anything else, and in so doing, feeds many thousands of people and adds millions of dollars to local, state and National economy. Responsible livestock grazing is a positive force, both economically and environmentally. Many real range scientists say that if science could be separated from politics, we might be paid to graze our livestock on public lands rather than the other way around - it is such a positive force!
My family and I will not give up. We will rebuild and we will continue to spread the truth...livestock grazing is the best and most natural way to reduce fuel loads on the range and protect the West from more devastating wildfires.
My name is Patrice Stewart and I started this website and project when I was a Senior at Albert Lowry High School in Winnemucca, Nevada as part of my FFA leadership efforts. I am a fifth generation cattle rancher in Paradise Valley, Nevada. I own and manage my own small herd of commercial cattle on my family's ranch. I work along side my parents on weekends and during school breaks doing all types of ranch work. My favorite times are spent out on the open range, herding cattle and enjoying the great outdoors with my father. I compete in rodeo at the collegiate and regional pro level as a roper and barrel racer. I attend Treasure Valley College in Ontario, Oregon where I study practical Horse Production and Ag business. I will graduate in June 2019 with degrees in both subjects. My long term goals are to return home and help manage the day-to-day operations of our family's ranch. I hope to raise my family, earn my living and spend my life on the land my great-great grandfather first homesteaded in 1864. My family has been producing Nevada's best beef since 1864 and I want to keep right on doing it!
I am terribly sad to report that in the early hours of July 5, 2018, a human caused fire in the Martin Creek canyon above our ranch, burned 100% of our BLM allotment and over 6200 acres of our private land at Hardscrabble. In total, the Martin Fire destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of prime sage grouse habitat, and today, there are zero surviving birds within this vast expanse of charred, black earth. My worst fears have been realized. I will continue my efforts. Please check out our website savethegreatamericanwest.com and org to learn more about how you can help us save the West from wildfire.