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The Human Footprint & Open Space. ? Ranching in the New West TODAY Western Family Ranch Bioregionally Planned Working Landscapes New Ranch Fragmentation/

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Presentation on theme: "The Human Footprint & Open Space. ? Ranching in the New West TODAY Western Family Ranch Bioregionally Planned Working Landscapes New Ranch Fragmentation/"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Human Footprint & Open Space

2 ? Ranching in the New West TODAY Western Family Ranch Bioregionally Planned Working Landscapes New Ranch Fragmentation/ Preservation ? ? ? Corporate Ranches

3 Demand for open space natural areas both in and surrounding localities that provide important community space, habitat for plants and animals, recreational opportunities, farm and ranch land, places of natural beauty and critical environmental areas. - Smart Growth Network

4 Demand for open space OUR MISSION...to conserve natural, cultural and agricultural resources and provide public uses that reflect sound resource management and community values. Boulder County Parks and Open Space

5

6 Multiple stakeholders = Multiple values The more complex the community, the more complex the management challenge Mill Creek Pkwy (Moab, UT, pop. 5,100) Lagerman Reservoir (Boulder County, CO, pop. 293,000)

7 What is Open Space to you? Agricultural? Cultural & Historic Resources? Wildlife habitat? Undeveloped Wildland? Parks & Recreation Areas? Wilderness? Vacant lot?

8 Working landscapes?

9 To many of our neighbors, prairies seem foreign and unattractive, second cousin to the trash-filled vacant lot. The Midwest's sea of grass a rich mosaic of prairies, oak woods, and marshes was virtually eradicated within the span of a single human lifetime. Because there is so little left, it's not easy to know the prairie, and thus not easy to love it. – Debra Shore The Chicago Wilderness controversy

10 Sources of conflict in open space management Agriculture – Which activities? Who benefits? Restoration – Of what? For whom? Recreation – Doing what? By whom? Wildlife habitat – When do we get too much of a good thing?

11 What values must be integrated into management (based on project goals)? Agricultural legacy Multi-functional landscape Economic sustainability of tenants Protection of cultural/historic artifacts Wildlife habitat (structural attribute) Movement corridors (functional attribute) Improved vegetation and wetland health Natural species (weed control and eradication) Recreation opportunities Educational and interpretive opportunities

12 Do citizens value open space? Between 2004 and 2006, state and local voters nationwide approved 75% of 217 open space ballot initiatives Since 1994 – when Great Outdoors Colorado awarded its first grants – through FY 2008, GOCO had committed approximately $650 million for more than 3,063 projects throughout the state

13 Preserving Open Space - the case of Rural Subdivision Ecological Impacts of Subidivision The amount of land affected by sprawl & development = 3% per year Since 1978, Colorado ranchland has decreased by 90,000 ac/yr In the last 30 years, 16-23% of the land in the counties adjacent to Yellowstone-Tetons has been platted for or converted to ranchettes (20-40 ac parcels) Intermountain West is only region US where rural counties are growing

14 Is Subdivision Good or Bad? Fragmentation Population Density Roads Fences Predators Exotic Species Wildlife Generalists/Specialists

15 The New Ranch House?

16 Changes 1957 to 1994 Landscape Attributes Of Subdivided Ranches. by J.E. Mitchell, R.L. Knight, and R.J. Camp Rangelands 24(1):3-9.

17 Intact Ranch # 1

18 Intact Ranch # 2

19 Subdivided Ranch #1

20 Subdivided Ranch #2

21 Rural Subdivision Road Density (mi./sec.) No. of Buildings (no./sec.) No. of Rangeland Patches Intact Ranch Sudivided Ranch Mitchell, Knight & Camp Landscape Attributes of Subdivided Ranches

22 Maestas, Knight, and Gilgert Cows, Condos, or Neither? Rural Subdivision - affect on weeds a a a z yy Plant Cover by Management Regime

23 Rural Subdivision - affect on wildlife Some species Benefit Black-billed magpies Brown-headed cowbird European starlings Dog & cats Some species Harmed Black-headed grosebeaks Blue-gray gnatcatchers Orange-crowned warblers Coyotes & foxes Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo:

24 Working Ranches as Open Space Jim Winders We feel that economic activities… must be subordinate to the needs of a healthy ecosystem Ecosystem protection Recognize public goals Produce healthy foods Author of the New Ranch – Can Jim convince others that his ranch is of value as open space?


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