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Scientists and Ranchers Collaborate for New Program 

As part of a collaborative project recently funded by the USDA’s Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE) program, the CNLM Conservation Science Team worked hard to document gopher and butterfly habitat and plant productivity at local prairie and agricultural sites. CNLM is working closely with Washington State University (WSU), Thurston County WSU-Extension, and three local ranchers to improve natural habitat conditions on working lands, while maintaining or even improving agricultural productivity. The ranchers will implement NRCS-recommended rotational grazing regimes and CNLM will seed specific native seed mixes into an experimental framework to enhance resources for gophers and butterflies. CNLM will track how these treatments affect habitat, relative to both standard continuous grazing treatments and enhanced upland prairie. This information, along with economic data on altered grazing regimes, and social survey data on conservation incentive programs, will guide strategies for documenting and enhancing the conservation value of working lands, while supporting the bottom line of working landowners.

CNLM Americorps members Stu Olshevski and Katherine Jesser monitor native plants at a native prairie 'control' site.

Cattle graze a mix of native and non-native plants at Fisher Ranch.