2007 Environmental Stewardship Award Winner
Region V: Roaring Springs Ranch, Frenchglen, Oregon
Nominated by Oregon Cattlemen’s Association
Oregon Ranch Wins Top Environmental Award
Washington, D.C. (July 18, 2007) – Roaring Springs Ranch of Frenchglen, Oregon has been selected as one of seven Regional Winners in the 2007 Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). The Annual ESAP Awards recognize ranchers who demonstrate innovative and cost-effective approaches to land stewardship on their working cattle operations.
Located in southeastern Oregon, Roaring Springs Ranch was selected to represent the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA’s) Region V, which includes Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. They were nominated by the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association.
“The Roaring Springs Ranch has proven their commitment to range and resource preservation on their Oregon cattle operation,” explains Dave Petty, Chairman of the selection committee. “We are honored to recognize them for their outstanding commitment to the land on which they operate and the community in which they reside. Not only does their commitment embody the true meaning of environmentalism, but it serves as an exceptional example for ranchers throughout the region and across the nation.”
Roaring Springs Ranch was purchased in 1992 by the Bob and Jane Sanders and Rob and Carla Sanders families. They have operated the ranch as a cow/calf-stocker operation, which sustains more than 6,200 head cow/calves, 150 horses, and harvests 2,500 acres of meadow hay and 1,200 acres of alfalfa. Roaring Springs Ranch’s operations utilize a total of 1,011,792 acres of diverse lands, including 249,798 deeded acres, 735,359 acres lease from the Bureau of Land Management, 22,000 acres of private leases, and 4,640 leased from the State of Oregon.
The Sanders’ family main goal for the operation, as implemented by Stacy Davies, Ranch Manager, is to be economically, ecologically and socially sustainable. The vast size and elevation variance of the ranch provides high-quality forage for year-round grazing. By matching the livestock production cycle with the native plant nutrition provided by stewardship efforts, they eliminate the use of stored feeds.
“One of the most important natural resources for Roaring Springs Ranch is the native range,” says Petty. “Their pioneering efforts in pasture management, prescribed burnings, reseeding efforts, dual purpose use on public lands and preservation of the Steen Mountains have become an example for public lands ranchers to follow.”
With a diverse ecosystem of forage and wildlife, Roaring Springs Ranch initiated and implemented the nationally recognized Catlow Valley Fishes Conservation Agreement, which sought to remove threats to the native fish species and reestablish them to their native range. Creating partnerships and cooperative agreements has become a major focus of the operation in stopping the spread of evasive species, improving wildlife habitat, educating future agriculturalists and implementing proper management techniques.
“Members of the Sanders family have been active supporters of stream restoration effort in southwestern Washington for years,” says Doc Hatfield with Country Natural Beef. “They purchased Roaring Springs in large part because of its ecological value.”
“Utilizing partnerships has helped the Roaring Springs Ranch become spokespeople for the environment, conservation and the cattle industry,” says Petty. “Mr. Davies and his crew understand what it takes to be stewards of the land. Roaring Springs Ranch makes full use of the ranching industry’s technological advances where operationally appropriate, but the basic operations are founded in traditional western methods that are not often seen in today’s livestock industry.”
Roaring Springs Ranch has managed environmental challenges that come with utilizing multi-use public lands. In cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management, the Roaring Springs Ranch instituted a prescribed fire program on over 100,000 acres to restore upland watershed health. This partnership has not only benefited the watershed, but has increased forage for wildlife and livestock.
“In my experience as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Aquatic Resources Coordinator for Oregon, I have observed no land and water stewardship in the state, on either public or private lands and waters, that comes close to the scale and scope of the Roaring Springs Ranch environmental stewardship efforts and successes,” says Doug Young, Aquatic Resources Coordinator for the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office. “I am now much more aware of a rancher’s economic and social costs to modifying livestock operations for environmental protection, and better understand the opportunities for balancing environmental protection and a rancher’s economic viability.”
“In all our experiences dealing with grazing management issues, we have never before encountered such a strong commitment to improve the land that has been demonstrated by the ranch owner and the ranch manager,” says Monty Montgomery, with the Izaak Walton League of America. “The many entities familiar with the history of the ranch are amazed with the results of their land-management ethics, resulting in tremendous improvement of watershed health, land productivity, and wildlife.”
The Environmental Stewardship Award Program, now in its 17th year, is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences L.L.C. and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and is administered by NCBA. The 2007 National Winner will be selected from of the seven ESAP Regional Winners and revealed at the 2008 Cattle Industry Convention in Reno, Nevada next February. For additional information, contact NCBA’s Washington D.C. office at 202-347-0228.