Our Work » Stewardship Team » Habitat Enhancement Projects » Grazing Management

Stewardship – Habitat Enhancement
Grassland/Grazing Management

Historically much of the shortgrass prairie community evolved with some form of herbivory from bison, pronghorn and/or prairie dogs. The animals would typically come in a herd, graze heavily for a short time, and then leave. This type of disturbance allowed for adequate rest from grazing, making it possible for grasses and forbs to restore to a healthy state. This can easily be mimicked using managed livestock grazing, which can improve the amount and diversity of habitat available for grassland birds and other wildlife species. It also gives producers more flexibility in their operations and allows selected pastures or portions of a ranch to be rested sufficiently to produce desired forage quality and quantity.

Good private rangeland management is essential to Great Plains wildlife as over 80% of the region is privately owned. Probably the most important aspects of good range management are selecting the proper stocking density and timing of grazing for the given range condition. Tools that can be used to control the timing of grazing and distribution of livestock include fencing, water/nutrient development/movement, herding, and prescribed burning.

Our biologists work with producers to find win-win solutions that meet the needs of wildlife without compromising the profitability of a ranch. Please see the Integrating Bird Conservation into Range Management manual for suggestions.

 With adequate rest from grazing, the vegetation on the left side of the fence is thriving.

Seth Gallagher
Stewardship Director
Ph: 970-482-1707 ext.12

Laura Quattrini
Program Management Specialist
Ph: 970-482-1707 ext. 21

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