Monday, January 24, 2011

Native Range Session at the 64th Annual Meeting in Billings, Montana

Guest post by Diana Doan-Crider

On February 10, 2011, the SRM will be hosting a special one-day Native Range Session during the 64th Annual Meeting in Billings, Montana, to discuss RANGE MANAGEMENT ON TRIBAL LANDS.

The United States Government holds 55.7 million acres of land in trust for Native Americans, of which much is considered to be rangeland.  Native vegetation on the rangelands provide habitat for native wildlife and livestock, and provide other resources needed for a high quality life for the Native Americans.  Dynamic and high quality management of rangelands is essential for the success of the Native American communities.  Successful management of the rangelands, which includes a wide variety of resources, must not be focused on a single objective but rather on achieving a wide variety of habitat objectives that best meet the social, cultural, economic, and physical needs of the tribe.

Rangeland management practices and needs vary on the numerous reservations, ranging from livestock that is owned by non-member individuals or corporations, or by individual tribal members and livestock cooperatives.  Range management programs also vary widely between tribes.  In some cases, the Department of the Interior - Bureau of Indian Affairs (USDI-BIA), develops range management plans.  Some reservations, however, manage their own rangelands through the tribe’s Natural Resources Department.  It other cases, tribes receive assistance through liaisons appointed by the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS).
The Society for Range Management’s mission is to promote the professional development and continuing education of members and the public and the stewardship of rangeland resources.  The Native American Range Initiative involves partnerships with tribes and the various federal agencies involved in range management in order to achieve this mission.  Recognizing the numerous changes that have and are occurring in the management and use of the Native American rangelands, the Society is sponsoring this workshop to discuss the various challenges and needs for range management on tribal lands, training opportunities, and education of future tribal range managers.  This session offers the opportunity to see how the Society’s programs and broad membership might partner to help serve the needs of Native American rangeland communities, including the managers and those who depend on the rangelands.

We are inviting both tribal members and conference participants who are directly involved with range management on tribal lands to participate in this workshop.  The SRM conference DAILY registration fee of $80 has been sponsored for up to 25 tribal members for this session; there is no additional charge for regular conference participants.  A brainstorming period will follow, so we ask that participants attend for the entire duration of the session.  Attendance is limited; lunch is not included.  The workshop will be hosted from 8:00 am – 5:00  pm at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center – specific location will be announced on site.  For more information or to sign up, please contact Diana Doan-Crider at, or call (830) 431-2770.

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