We are thrilled to share the great news that the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently recognized ESLT as the 2018 National Conservation Leadership Partner of the Year. What an honor it is to receive an award that carries great distinction in land conservation nationwide!
We received this award based on our participation in an innovative, cooperative approach to protecting habitat for the Bi-State greater sage-grouse. ESLT works in partnership with the Bi-State Local Area Working Group (LAWG), an organization composed of ranchers, scientists, conservationists, private organizations, state and local officials, and public land managers. Together, we are helping to prevent fragmentation of the sagebrush and wetlands that provide habitat for sage-grouse, pygmy rabbits, pronghorn, and mule deer in the Eastern Sierra.
Greater sage-grouse numbers have been in steep decline over the past several decades due to habitat destruction and other threats. The Eastern Sierra is home to the Bi-State distinct population segment of the greater sage-grouse, unique to the Nevada-California border.
The efforts of ESLT and the LAWG partners are paying off. Thousands of acres of sage-grouse habitat have been permanently safeguarded against the threat of future development. And in 2015, the LAWG’s preemptive efforts played a crucial role in keeping the Bi-State sage-grouse off of the Endangered Species List.
Based on our strong relationships with private landowners, ESLT has been able to provide the necessary bridge between private and public land that helps to create sustainable habitat for iconic wildlife in the Eastern Sierra. ESLT offers assistance to ranchers who wish to ensure that their land remains intact for generations, and managed in a way that will provide a sustainable home for wildlife long into the future. These private ranches support the region’s economy and ranching heritage, and they also provide the rare wet meadow habitat that sage-grouse and other wildlife need to thrive. ESLT helps prevent fragmentation of habitat from development and helps preserve the ranching way of life that is emblematic of the wide open spaces of Nevada and California.
We are honored to be the 2018 National Conservation Leadership Partner of the Year. This award underscores the heart of our work – demonstrating how important it is to find common ground and develop long-term conservation solutions that work for everyone.