“Ranching, conservation, ecological restoration, these things are not diametrically opposed. In fact they go very well together. And I think the 10 years we’ve spent on this project demonstrate that and provide an opportunity for other ranchers, other landowners to look at this and think about ways they might be able to do something similar.”
– Jeff Laszlo, Granger Ranches
Jeff Laszlo says that ranches are deceptive. “You look at them, you see a lot of land and a lot of cattle, but what you don’t see is everything else that depends on this landscape.” He believes that, even though it’s very difficult to do, it’s his job as a rancher to do as good a job as he can so that all those things that depend on the landscape can thrive. In this first episode of “Stewardship With a Vision” from Western Landowners Alliance, he describes how he worked with a wide range of partners to restore wetlands on his ranch to do just that.
The wetlands are important to wildlife and fish, but it turns out restoring them was also good for the ranch operation. The Granger Ranches is a cow/calf operation running about 400 mother cows. They raise hay to feed the cows and by restoring the wetlands, they’ve restored the hydrology of their floodplain pastures which has made them more productive. So even though they’ve restricted grazing from the most sensitive wetland areas, they’re producing more forage than they did before the restoration.
Finally the restoration has been good for the local community that relies on recreation, tourism and wildlife. “We have a responsibility not only to ourselves but to the community to be good stewards of all of those things,” says Laszlo.
Take 8 minutes to watch this video. It’s beautifully done, and you’ll appreciate meeting Jeff, seeing the landscape he works in and his love for ranching.