Land & Environment

USU Extension Conservation Program Earns Achievement Award

Terry Messmer and Nicky Frey receive the Achievement Award from The Wildlife Society's President Gary Potts.

A Utah State University Extension-led conservation program was recently honored by The Wildlife Society for its contributions to local, state, regional, national and international sage-grouse conservation.

The Utah Community-Based Conservation Program (CBCP) received the 2016 Group Achievement Award at The Wildlife Society’s 23rd Annual Conference, recognizing CBCP’s outstanding achievements in professional wildlife management.

In 1996, the CBCP, led by USU Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist Terry Messmer, partnered with the Utah governor’s office and federal, state, industry and private partners to organize 11 community-based resource management working groups throughout Utah. Since then, these groups have restored more than 500,000 acres of sage-grouse habitat and protected more than 94 percent of the state’s sage-grouse populations on 7.5 million acres.

“The CBCP and the local working groups are an integral part of Utah State University Extension,” said Kenneth White, vice president of USU Extension. “This program has increased the implementation of voluntary conservation practices. This is the future of wildlife conservation in North America.”

The CBCP works with local landowners, agencies and governments and provides research-based expertise in sage-grouse ecology, including understanding human and animal activities that affect sage-grouse habitat. The program partners also organize forums and work to educate people about the importance of conservation through regional, national and international conferences.

Messmer, his colleagues and students map sage-grouse activity and habitats and engage local community members in the process.

“I have worked closely with Dr. Messmer and the CBCP staff for several years,” said Kathleen Clarke, director of the Utah Public Lands Policy Coordination Office. “Together, we’ve developed a process to engage Utah and regional stakeholders in the conservation and management of the greater sage-grouse and its habitats. Because of CBCP research efforts, the state of Utah is fortunate to have unparalleled knowledge about the factors essential to species conservation.”

Jay and Diane Tanner, fifth generation ranchers from Box Elder County, provided a letter of support to nominate the CBCP for the award.

“The CBCP is the embodiment of a land-grant university system that not only conducts the research most needed, but is also able to create ownership in the outcome and applications,” they wrote. “One of the biggest and most unsung contributions of the CBCP is the long list of graduate and undergraduate students who have been part of the program. Many of these students are now employed in positions at state, federal and academic institutions throughout North America.”

The award was accepted on behalf of the CBCP by Messmer and Nicky Frey, Extension associate professor.

More information about Utah’s Community Based Conservation Program is available at its website.

Related link:

Utah State University Extension

Contact: Terry Messmer

Writer: Shelby Ruud

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