925.443-7692 ksweet@cattlemen.net

California’s Working Landscapes – Annual Rangelands Fact Sheet, 2016 was produced by UC Rangelands for CRCC and Natural Resource Conservation Service as a resource for better understanding and decision-making.

Grazing for Change I and II: Grazing for Change features ranchers throughout California who are stewarding our state’s wide open spaces. Take a moment to learn how ranchers are promoting endangered species, investing in public lands and conducting research to be better land managers.  These stories are worth sharing. Grazing for Change II: Stories of Ranchers Preserving and Enhancing California’s Grasslands. Click here for full document.

Grazing For Change I: Range and Watershed Management Success Stories in California. Click here for read the complete publication.

  • Foreward by Dan Daggett
  • Teri and Bob Blanchard, San Luis Obispo County
  • Mike and Dan Byrne, Modoc County
  • John and Charline Ford, Mendocino County
  • John Rice, Fort Baker Ranch, Humboldt County
  • Merv, Dorothy, Mike McDonald, Sonoma County
  • Pete’s Valley Ranch, Lassen County
  • Chet Vogt, Glenn County
  • Joe and Julie Morris, Monterey County
  • The Nature Conservancy, Vina Plains Preserve, Tehama County
  • Watershed Group – Effective Partnerships



The Coalition has supported a number of different projects and initiatives since our inception. 2012 The Rangeland Coalition sent a letter of support for the creation of an Animal Grazing System Specialist Position at UC Davis. Rangeland Coalition signatories sent Senate Committee on Agriculture letter highlighting mutual priorities for 2012 Farm Bill. Rangeland Coalition wrote a letter of support for 5 Dot Ranch for the Beef Improvement Federation Producer of the Year Award. Rangeland Coalition signatories send letter of support for cosponsors for S.339 and H.R. 1964. The legislation will make permanent the 2006 enhanced tax deduction for donations of conservation easements that expired at the end of 2011. Click here for S.339 letter. Click here for H.R. 1964 letter. Rangeland Coalition Steering Committee supports research proposal titled “Managing Rangelands for Multiple Ecosystem Services across a Variable Environment: Integrating Ecological and Human Dimensions”. 2011 Rangeland Coalition partners come together on a letter of support for the development of carbon offset protocols for rangelands. Rangeland Coalition partners come together on a letter of support reinstating subvention funding in the 2011-2012 California State budget to counties for the California Land Conservation Act – Williamson Act. Rangeland Conservation partners came together on a letter introducing the state’s 39th Governor, Jerry Brown, to the partnership and outlining our mutual priorities for 2011. Rangeland Coalition is proud to support the conservation easement on the Penobscot Ranch in El Dorado County. Rangeland Coalition is proud to support the conservation easement on the Bufford Ranch in Kern County. 2010 Rangeland Coalition partners came together to submit priorities for the President’s American Great Outdoors Initiative.



Summit Sponsorship & Booth Registration



We need you! Contribute early for longer promotion.

Open to organizations, ranches, agencies, individuals, colleges and businesses who support California rangelands. Sponsors will be promoted fully at the Summit and in the Coalition’s weekly E-update and website. Recognition begins upon your pledge.

Download and complete the 2017-summit-contribution-pledge and send via email to Karen Sweet. 

  1. Payment: a. Submit the form with payment to TCI/CRCC,  405 14th St., Ste. 164, Oakland, CA  94612-2705   OR   b. Pay online with credit card: http://www.trustforconservationinnovation.org/sponsored/  (click Donate)  Contributions to CRCC through Trust for Conservation Innovation are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.  You will receive an itemized receipt. An I-9 for this contribution may be requested.
  2. Submit Summit attendee name(s) to Karen as soon as known925.443-7692   ksweet@cattlemen.net
  3. Sponsorship does not include Thursday’s tour or social. Additional Summit registration opens early December.
  4. Booth: 1 six-foot table or floor space. Booths will be accepted upon payment until full.  Instructions will be provided.
  5. Visit the Summit page for more information.
Sponsorship Level Number of $60 Included Registrations  Add an Optional Exhibit Booth
Sponsor*  $  5,000


No charge + $
 Sponsor*  $  4,500


No charge + $
 Sponsor*  $  4,000


No charge + $
 Sponsor*  $   3,500


 $250 $
 Sponsor*  $   3,000


 $250 $
 Sponsor*  $   2,500


 $250 $
 Sponsor*  $  2,000


 $250 $
 Sponsor  $  1,500


 $250 $
 Sponsor  $  1,000


 $250 $ 
 Sponsor  $    750


 $250 $ 
 Sponsor  $    500


 $250 $
Ranch Sponsor*  $    250


——- $ 
Booth  only  $    250


——- $
Donation ———-


 In-kind-describe    Depends


  • Eligibility to share logo or ranch brand –   Send to Karen by Dec 30 if not on file.

CRCC appreciates your own important contributions to California’s rangelands.


Summit in Review

                             DSC_6890 (2)        DSC_0458 (2)

From the mountain top overlooking the Rim Fire to the Ag Center in Stockton, the talk was about 

Wildfire and Rangeland Management – Mediating Impacts to Conservation and Ranching.

The 2016 Rangeland Summit addressed challenges and opportunities to improve rangeland management aimed at reducing the incidence (scope and severity) of catastrophic wildfire.  Two of the state’s most devastating wildfires occurred in the past year and yet the full impact of these fires to conservation interest and rancher sustainability is yet to be determined.  The prospect of a normal rainfall year raised additional wildfire concern. Co-sponsored by California Rangeland Conservation Coalition (CRCC) and University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), the January event brought together more than 300 individuals from various walks of life to learn more about the topic that they could apply on their own private or public rangelands and in their communities.

Speakers from UCCE, the California Cattlemen’s Association, Cal Fire, UC Berkeley, local ranchers, and high school Range Campers, Mary Marsh and Jane Wood shared their personal experiences and knowledge about rangeland management and wildfire.   Each talk was individually videotaped and published on the UCCE website to expand the Summit’s reach.  Ranchers, Doug Joses and Shaun Crook shared compelling insights from recent fires.  CCA Vice President, Government Relations Justin Oldfield’s presentation, A Beef Industry Perspective: Economic, Social & Range Management Impacts Caused by Wildfire  especially enlightened the non-ranchers.  Other presentations covered fire behavior and science, and fuels management, and impacts of catastrophic fire on California’s rangelands, and the state of current science for post-fire grazing management.  Many participants toured fire sites where local experiences and lessons were shared and discussed – Butte Fire (Amador/Calaveras County), Rim Fie (Tuolumne County) and Tesla Fire (Alameda).

Share the Summit presentations link with others in your community or organizations as a catalyst for communication and planning to mediate the impacts of wildfire in your community.

Who attended the Summit?  Everyone had wildland fire and rangeland management concerns in common, and they wanted information to use as they plan forward to the 2016 fire season and beyond. Participation was very diverse by profession (29% ranchers, 13% public land managers, 22% ‘other’, 19% organizations, and 18 academic/student).  Sixty-five percent of them had personal experience with rangeland wildfire, and half of those had it within five years.

The Summit provided useful information that facilitated consensus among these diverse stakeholders on several items.

  • Livestock grazing is valuable as a management tool on pre-fire management to reduce wildfire severity.
  • Research is needed about connecting wildfire and rangelands, post-fire grazing, the values of different livestock species, and about cattle behavior. Importantly also, the available research should be utilized.
  • Participants told us how they plan to utilize what they heard.

Based on the pre-and post-presentations survey there was a change in attitude about management tools that favored better planning, collaboration and use of livestock grazing. “I will look at opportunities to reduce understory vegetation.”  “I need to work with neighbors and address agency barriers.”  “On my property: keep roads graded, open & mapped; have water trucks and tanks FULL; build more firebreaks.”   “Work closer with fire departments and other agencies, RCDs at all levels for local planning. Be collegial and persistent.  Consider how local ranchers can help. Know the logistics & position of wells, ponds, roads, driveways and the neighboring operators.” “I will promote communication between different departments in my agency and expand grazing on our agency property as part of forest management program and bring in stakeholders to influence it.”  “Our agency could potentially act as a liaison between ranchers & agencies to help communicate needs and initiate coordinated planning and emergency responses.”

Broader than the wildfire topic, non-ranchers increased their understanding about ranching.  They better understand regulatory barriers in management decision-making, and the relationship of private land to public allotments, and ranching economics and viability.  Non-ranchers shared these comments. “We need economic and market solutions for ranching sustainability.  It’s not profitable.” “I learned the importance of public land allotments for ranching vitality.” “I need to consider long term licenses on my agency’s land” to have animals familiar with the land and consistent grazing.

More broadly, “I learned to consider things from multiple perspectives.”  That, after all is the purpose of the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition.



Coalition Heritage – It all Started at a BBQ!

Coalition Heritage – It Started at a BBQ!

 The BBQ

Why does the Coalition focus on privately-owned rangelands?

What is the Coalition’s geographical focus? Why was it defined in this way?

What and Who is a Coalition Signatory?

 What do California Cattlemen’s Association, Defenders of Wildlife, California Farm Bureau Federation, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Sierra Foothills Audubon all have in common? Privately owned ranches and rancher stewardship!

Steve Thompson, then US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Southwest Region Director and Assistant Region Director, Paul Henson were criticized by diverse conservation organizations for not doing enough to protect the most threatened habitat in California. He challenged them to provide him a general description of the land area they had the most concern about.  When they did, he pointed out that their area of concern is primarily privately owned ranches.  To promote their conservation goals they would have to communicate with the ranchers.

Several important events had recently occurred that involved ranching with the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Tim Koopmann, an Alameda County developer, California Rangeland Trust (which is led by ranchers) and California Department of Fish and Game had recently negotiated a mitigation easement at Koopmann Ranch for California Tiger Salamander (CTS) that recognized the normal ranching activities required to sustain the habitat and salamander. FWS was proposing to list the CTS as endangered and was negotiating with the California Cattlemen’s Association (Noelle Cremers, staff lead) to develop the first 4d exemption* to the ESA. FWS acknowledged the importance of grazing and ranching to conserving their habitat, and the 4d exempts a list of agreed ‘routine ranching activities’ from the take provision of ESA. When FWS listed the CTS Steve Thompson, aware of the Koopmann easement asked Tim to host a gathering of diverse organizations and media to announce the listing and to demonstrate how essential ranching is to the CTS and its habitat.

As a result of this collaboration Steve asked Tim to subsequently host a gathering of ranching and conservation organizations and agencies to expand the conversation about ranching and wildlife habitat. The organizations listed below came together in August, 2005 for a BBQ. They explored what they had in common and how they might communicate and work together to keep ranchers ranching and the conservation values intact and perhaps enhanced in the region. The Koopmann Ranch story* about the CTS easement, estate tax burden, pond restoration permitting hurdles, and development threats set the stage for meaningful discussion. Several conservation groups explained how they had come to realize the role of ranching and grazing for habitat.  Ed Pandolfino noted that Sierra Foothills Audubon’s own studies showed that grazing was essential to grassland bird habitat, contrary to its presumptions. All agreed the major threats to ranching at that time were regulatory burdens and loss of ranches to development. They agreed on a geographical focus area and a general strategy that acknowledges that ranching viability and stewardship are critical to sustain ranching and those rangelands. Within a few months the Rangeland Resolution was approved and the first Summit was being planned.

Founding entities: Alameda County Resource Conservation District, Butte Environmental Council, California Cattlemen’s Association; California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, California Farm Bureau Federation, California Oaks Federation, California Rangeland Trust, Defenders of Wildlife, Environmental Defense Fund, Institute for Ecological Health, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Sierra Foothills Audubon, The Nature Conservancy,  US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Wildlife Conservation Board. These individuals and entities continue to participate in the Coalition with leadership and resources, for which the Coalition is grateful.   Read about our Roots.

* The 4d rule exempts routine ranching practices from the prohibitions of the ESA, including taking, harming and harassing listed species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recognized that ranching activities including grazing and maintenance of stock ponds benefit the California Red-Legged Frog and the California Tiger Salamander.

* Since 2005 Koopmann Ranch has acquired two more mitigation easements held by the California Rangeland Trust that are very compatible with ranching.

   Why does the Coalition focus on privately-owned rangelands?

       “The undersigned recognize the critical importance of California’s privately owned rangelands particularly that significant portion that encircle the Central Valley….These lands provide important ecosystem services and are the foundation for the ranching industry that owns them;

“These rangelands include a rich and varied landscape of grasslands, oak woodlands, vernal pools, riparian areas and wetlands which support numerous imperiled species, many native plants once common in the Central Valley, and are home to the highest diversity and density of wintering raptors anywhere in North America;

“These rangelands are often located in California’s fastest-growing counties and are at significant risk of conversion to development and other uses;

“These rangelands and the species that rely on these habitats largely persist today due to the positive and experienced grazing and other land stewardship practices of the ranchers that have owned and managed these lands and are committed to a healthy future for their working landscapes;

“These rangelands are a critical foundation of the economic and social fabric of California’s ranching industry and rural communities, and will only continue to provide this important working landscape for California’s plants, fish and wildlife if private rangelands remain in ranching.” (From the Rangeland Resolution)

The Coalition is the only organization that brings together ranchers, environmentalists and government entities to conserve and enhance the ecological values and economic viability of California’s working rangelands. Its work is made possible by individuals and organizations that share the working land and community values expressed in the Rangeland ResolutionBecome involved, and let’s work together!


 What is the Coalition’s geographical focus? Why was it defined in this way?

      “The undersigned recognize the critical importance of California’s privately owned rangelands, particularly that significant portion that encircles the Central Valley and includes the adjacent grasslands and oak woodlands, including the Sierra foothills and the interior coast ranges. These lands support important ecosystems and are the foundation for the ranching industry that owns them.”

     “These rangelands are at significant risk of conversion.”

     “They persist today due to the positive and experienced grazing and other land stewardship practices of the ranchers that have owned and managed these lands and are committed to a healthy future for their working landscapes” (from the Rangeland Resolution)

This area of interest includes nearly 30 million acres, roughly one-third of the state. It encompasses the vast majority of California’s remaining grassland and oak woodlands, and ranches in this area are predominantly privately-owned.  The founders recognized the scientific support for private lands ranching in this area and agreed to work together to “protect and enhance (this) rangeland landscape.”  Coalition education and outreach, as well as research interests often include opportunities that illustrate and explain the complex business, regulatory and social interrelationships of the statewide and global ranching industry. (The Coalition’s focus area map is on the website. It was developed a couple of years after the Coalition was formed.)

What and Who is a Coalition Signatory?

 Signatory organizations affirm the principles and goals contained in the Resolution.  The Signatories ARE the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition.  All support provided by them is important and appreciated.  Signatories are encouraged to share with others the goals, objectives and activities of the Rangeland Coalition and are expected to integrate the Resolution into their own work and outreach.

Who are the current Signatories?  Get acquainted with them and their own rangeland work, too.  Invite them to participate in your programs.  Is your organization’s name included?   Becoming a Signatory is the first step in taking action to support and conserve our precious and threatened rangeland resources and the ranching community. It’s simple.

2011 – Summit Feature in California Cattleman Magazine

The longtime thought that opposites attract exemplifies the relationship of George Whitten and Julie Sullivan of Blue Range Ranch, Saguache, Colo. Sullivan was a city girl, who spent her summers at the beach with dreams of being a dryad – tree spirit. Whitten was a ranch kid, who played in the dirt and helped out on his family’s sheep ranch. Click here to read the story.

2011 – The San Francisco Chronicle article features ranchers involved in the Rangeland Coalition

The San Francisco Chronicle article features ranchers involved in the Rangeland Coalition and notes, “These days, environmentalists are happy to see ranchers and cows out there…Around the Bay Area, grazing is being used to create and maintain habitat for threatened species such as the San Joaquin kit fox, the burrowing owl, the red-legged frog, the tiger salamander, the bay checkerspot butterfly and the Ohlone tiger beetle.” Click here to read the story.