Proposed by: Sarah D Baker

Presenter: Baker, S. D., Extension Educator, University of Idaho Extension, Challis, ID 83226

The Challis Experimental Stewardship Program (CESP) was created by Section 12 of the Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978. One of the original primary objectives of the CESP was to mitigate grazing reductions to area ranchers and help stabilize the local ranching economy. Another major objective was to foster cooperation among agencies, landowners, public land users, and other entities in the pursuit of proper, as well as innovative, rangeland management. The CESP had many early successes throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. However, in the late 2000s, the CESP became in-active. Ranchers and land management agencies approached University of Idaho Extension to help keep the CESP a viable program in Custer County, an area in the heart of Central Idaho rich in public lands. From 2009-2013, University of Idaho Extension successfully organized and held two business meetings each year for the CESP. In addition, a rangeland tour was held each year to get people on the ground to discuss land management issues, develop solutions to problems, and plan ways to sustain multiple uses on rangelands for the future. Since 2009, over 250 ranchers and land managers have attended a CESP rangeland tour. Topics, demonstrations, and discussion have been held on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultation process, fisheries management, Multiple Indicator Monitoring (MIM) protocols, demonstration of the Standards and Guide Assessment for measuring uplands, how to meet end-season standards and mid-season triggers on allotments, photo monitoring tips, permit renewals, effects of fire and noxious weeds on sage-grouse habitat, limitations on management imposed by litigation, and stewardship of Idaho’s rangelands. On post-tour evaluations, 95% of attendees ranked the CESP tours as “outstanding” and the remaining 5% ranked them as “good” when given 5 options (outstanding, good, average, poor, not worth my time). One attendee commented, “By far the greatest accomplishment of the CESP has been the significant improvement in the attitudes and spirit of cooperation of the people involved. There is a developing feeling of trust and respect throughout the group and local community with ranchers and agency people talking to each other and listening to what the other has to say.” With over 48% of Idaho classified as rangelands, and nearly 97% of Custer County consisting of public lands, the need for cooperation and coordination between ranchers and land managers is eminent. With the help of UI Extension, the CESP will continue to educate public land users on sustainable rangeland management practices, foster cooperation among land managers and ranchers, and ultimately continue the rich heritage and economic importance of ranching in Central Idaho.

All Accepted Proposals