Utah State Extension in Garfield County: Restoring Riparian Areas
Twenty-five years working for Sprint in Las Vegas, a few health problems, early retirement and a love for fly fishing and the next thing you know you are on a ranch just 20 miles from Bryce Canyon National Park.
Vince Salvato and Bobbi Bryant run Panguitch Anglers Fly Shop and Inn that sits on 150 historic acres along the upper Sevier River. The remaining structures on the land are registered as the Hillsdale ghost town. The story goes that Brigham Young slept in a cabin on this land when he visited southern Utah. Salvato's love for fishing brought him here but his love for the land keeps him here.
"I'm not a rancher by avocation, but I want people to come here and see the farm the way it looked 100 years ago," he said. "And, I want to leave it better than I found it.
"Kevin Heaton, the county Extension agent has been great in helping me restore this ranch. He has helped me with grazing techniques and locating grant money to restore the stream banks."
By fencing off the stream from the cattle, much of the original willows have come back, he said as he points proudly to a small island in the river. This not only makes it look better, but also provides more fish and bird habitat, he said.
"By using rotational rather than continuous grazing and better management practices I should also be able to double the number of cattle next year — this in one of the driest periods in the history of the county.
"Kevin and I were both amazed at the difference in just one year," Salvato said. "It's not conservation, it's restoration."