CHALLIS EXPERIMENTAL STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM: FOSTERING COOPERATION AMONG AGENCIES, PUBLIC LAND USERS, AND RANCHERS IN IDAHO.Baker, S.D.1
1Extension Educator, University Of Idaho, Challis, ID, 83226
The Challis Experimental Stewardship Program (CESP) was created by Section 12 of the Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978 to mitigate grazing reductions to area ranchers, help stabilize the local ranching economy, and to develop cooperation among users in the pursuit of proper and innovative rangeland management. The CESP had many early successes throughout the ‘80s and ’90, but had become in-active in the late 2000s. Ranchers and land management agencies approached University of Idaho (UI) Extension to help keep the CESP a viable program. From 2009-2014, UI Extension successfully organized and held two business meetings each year, as well as held a rangeland tour every summer to get people on the ground to discuss land management issues and develop solutions to problems. Since 2009, over 300 attendees have participated in a CESP rangeland tour. Topics include: Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultation process, Multiple Indicator Monitoring (MIM) protocols, photo monitoring tips, permit renewals, effects of fire and noxious weeds on sage-grouse habitat, limitations on management imposed by litigation, and stewardship of Idaho’s rangelands. On post-tour evaluations, 95% of attendees ranked the CESP tours as “outstanding” and the remaining 5% ranked them as “good” when given 5 options (outstanding, good, average, poor, not worth my time). In an area dominated with public lands (97% in Custer County), the CESP has proven worthwhile. With the help of UI Extension, the CESP will continue to educate public land users about rangeland management and foster cooperation among agencies, public land users, and ranchers.