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Western Landowners Alliance
Welcome to the On Land podcast. On this show we’ll be bringing you thoughtful conversations with the people who are living and working on the land and shaping the future of stewardship in the American West.
Oct 31, 2023
Sarah Wentzel-Fischer, Quivira Coalition director, on Regenerate 2023
Sarah Wentzel-Fischer is a farmer, a writer, a connector, an advocate. Officially, she wears several hats. She is the Executive Director of the Quivira Coalition, an organization focused on building soil, biodiversity, and resilience on western working landscapes. Sarah raises pigs and makes compost with her partner on Polk's Folly Farm in northern New Mexico. Farmers in New Mexico elected Sarah to represent them on the board of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. We talk a little bit about what that means for Sarah's involvement in farm bill negotiations and other advocacy work related to that role in our conversation. But most of our conversation focused on the upcoming Regenerate Conference. Quivira organizes the annual event together with American Grassfed and Holistic Management International. This year, it's taking place November 1st to 3rd in Santa Fe. Western Landowners Alliance is a sponsor of the event and the online podcast will be there. Recording content and sharing stories in a planned podcaster's corner. Sarah and I talked about the theme of this year's event and some of the highlights, for both of us, on the agenda. And, the first day of the conference this year is completely free to attend. See complete show notes, including links to references from the show, here: onland.westernlandowners.org/podcast/.
Oct 2, 2023
Martha Williams, USFWS director, reflects on the ESA at 50
Martha Williams is the director of the United State Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency responsible for implementing the Endangered Species Act (along with NOAA’s fisheries division). She grew up on a farm in Maryland and studied law at the University of Montana. From 1988 to 2011, she served as legal counsel for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. After a stint as Deputy Solicitor Parks and Wildlife in the Department of the Interior, she was appointed director of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks from 2017 to 2020. She is an avid outdoorswoman, hunter and angler. She spoke with Lesli Allison, CEO of Western Landowners Alliance, in August 2023 in the living room of Granger Ranches HQ in the Madison Valley of Montana. Their conversation took place after meeting with landowners and touring the ranch’s remarkable stream restoration project. Complete show notes and a transcript of this episode are available at onland.westernlandowners.org/podcast/
Aug 21, 2023
Bonus: The Modern West from Wyoming Public Media
In this bonus episode, we're sharing an episode from our friends at The Modern West from Wyoming Public Media. The Modern West, hosted by Melodie Edwards, is a podcast documenting the evolving identity of the American West. The Rolling Stone: The Great Individualist Part 1. The cowboy roaming horseback across the American West is nearly inextricable from what it means to be American. Now a new generation of ranchers is working to reinvent this iconic way of life to fit a modern world. Complete show notes here: onland.westernlandowners.org/2023/podcast/the-modern-west-the-great-individualist/
Jun 16, 2023
Drought and resilience in the Sonoran Desert with Sarah King
Sarah King and her husband manage the King’s Anvil Ranch in the Altar Valley, near Tucson, Arizona. Sarah is also the executive director of the Altar Valley Conservation Alliance. AVCA is a watershed based collaborative conservation organization founded in 1995. They use a strongly collaborative, science-based, community driven approach to conserve and sustain both the community and natural resources of the Altar Valley for future generations. Water is a critical issue for landowners south of Tucson. Sarah and the other members of AVCA are working on some interesting projects to manage water and enhance their watershed. WLA's chief programs officer, Hallie Mahowald, dove into this tricky topic with Sarah in today's episode. Full show notes, including a complete transcript, topics discussed, and links to references from the conversation are at onland.westernlandowners.org/podcast/.
May 31, 2023
The big deal on the Colorado River with reporter Luke Runyon
This week on the On Land Podcast I welcome veteran water reporter Luke Runyon. Luke covers the Colorado River Basin for public radio station KUNC. His podcast, Thirst Gap, digs into stories that show how water issues can both unite and divide communities throughout the Western U.S. Before covering water at KUNC, Luke covered the agriculture and food beat for five years as KUNC’s Harvest Public Media reporter. I spoke with Luke about the big news in Colorado River politics: the announcement of a grand water savings bargain between California, Arizona and Nevada that now waits for Bureau of Reclamation review: what does the deal mean for landowners, what are the implications for the Upper Basin water savings programs now that the lower basin has made a deal, and what does all this really mean in terms of who is saving water and how? Enjoy the show! Complete show notes, including links, a timecoded list of topics, and a full transcript, are available at onland.westernlandowners.org/podcast.
Apr 21, 2023
Helping our water do more with Aaron Derwingson of the Nature Conservancy
Today on the show, Western Landowners Alliance's Programs Director Hallie Mahowald had the pleasure of talking to a good friend, Aaron Derwingson. Derwingson is the water projects director for the Nature Conservancy's Colorado River program. He and Hallie both live in Salida, Colorado. Derwingson has piloted water banking and other tools for flexible water management, conducted field research on the impacts of reduced irrigation, evaluated alternative low water use crops, and upgraded irrigation systems to help improve river flows. Before joining The Nature Conservancy, Aaron served as the Stewardship Director for the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust. They discussed the current situation on the Colorado River, some of the many ways that landowners, in partnership with organizations like TNC, are making their water go farther and do more, and the role of water markets in creating the flexibility in the river system that is needed. You can find links to references from the conversation, as well as a complete transcript of this episode, at onland.westernlandowners.org. Topics discussed [00:01:30] Shortage challenges in the Colorado River Basin [00:02:19] Doing more with less water [00:04:50] Examples of solutions for making our water go farther [00:05:56] Maybell irrigation District diversion improvements [00:08:31] Minute 323 water for the environment [00:09:59] Role of water markets [00:11:38] All water is local [00:12:20] Power, rural communities and water [00:13:30] Federal funding and the big opportunity right now [00:14:56] Role of the states in water funding [00:16:38] Are our institutions nimble enough for the water crisis [00:18:09] How water rights holders can be involved in solutions [00:19:00] Auto Tarp and appropriate technology [00:20:11] Low-tech restoration [00:20:57] Compensation for leaving water instream [00:21:46] Markets for flexibility and public benefit [00:22:58] Creative water sharing agreements [00:24:41] Integrate the social with the technical [00:27:07] The urgency of the Colorado River crisis keeps him up at night [00:28:25] Elinor Ostrom and the tragedy of the commons [00:29:37] We need landowners to solve this crisis
Apr 14, 2023
Building resilience to drought in the West with Dr. Caroline Nash
On today's episode, Western Landowners Alliance Programs Director Hallie Mahowald was joined by Dr. Caroline Nash, a hydrologist and geomorphologist with the consulting group CK Blueshift LLC. Dr. Nash got her PhD at Oregon State University and has done field work throughout the American West. She has extensive experience in rangeland conservation and stream restoration. She brought knowledge about the science and regulatory systems relevant to watershed scale conservation efforts to the conversation. At CK Blueshift, Dr. Nash leads the company's current projects and consulting work related to hydrologic analysis, restoration design, and monitoring strategy. Find links and references from this episode, as well as a full episode transcript, at onland.westernlandowners.org/podcast Topics discussed [00:01:09] What is CK Blueshift? [00:03:02] The new abnormal? [00:06:13] Long Term Solutions [00:10:24] About the Blue Commons Fund [00:13:38] Matching finance and funding to right levels of risk [00:15:50] The once-in-a-lifetime influx of federal investment in water [00:17:10] About the ReBeaver program [00:20:31] What is Process-Based Restoration, actually? [00:24:30] Why we can't just move beavers and be done? [00:26:38] Zuni water management in the Southwest [00:28:13] Beaver persistence as inspiration and information 00:32:02] How do landowners get involved? Highlighting the existing innovation on the land. [00:35:31] Making sure landowners have the risk management tools needed to participate in experimentation [00:36:12] Why you should communicate with your neighbors about your experiments [00:38:20] What keeps you up at night, and what gives you hope? [00:40:05] Aging rural population, waning land-based expertise [00:42:02] Young people getting excited about land stewardship [00:43:20] Seven generation perspective
Mar 9, 2023
Water in California with Wade Crowfoot, California Secretary of Natural Resources
Wade Crowfoot was appointed California Secretary for Natural Resources in 2019. As Secretary, Crowfoot oversees an agency of 19,000 employees charged with protecting and managing California’s diverse resources, including its fish and wildlife and rivers and waterways. Before becoming Secretary, Crowfoot served as CEO of the Water Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropy based in California that supports shared water solutions for communities, the economy, and the environment across the American West. Wade spoke with Lesli Allison, executive director of the Western Landowners Alliance, about Western water, and in particular the Colorado River Basin. California has rights to the largest share Colorado River Water, and half of all Americans who use Colorado River water live in the Golden State. So the view from Sacramento on the future of Water in the West is particularly critical. Find the full show notes and transcription here. On Land is a production of Western Landowners Alliance, a non-profit that advances policies and practices that sustain working lands, connected landscapes and native species. Learn more about WLA here. Produced by Louis Wertz. Like this episode? Share it with a friend, leave a review wherever you get your podcasts and be sure to subscribe to On Land Magazine. Your support helps us amplify the voices of stewardship in the American West.
Feb 21, 2023
Landowners’ Eye on the Capital with Zach Bodhane
Today we're bringing you a new feature of the On Land podcast: Landowners' Eye on the Capital. In these conversations, we'll be talking with Zach Bodhane, policy director at Western Landowners Alliance. From his vantage in Washington D.C., Zach will share the latest on the most important issues bills and regulations that WLA is working on for landowners across the West. Find the show notes here.
Oct 28, 2022
Place-based collaboratives and conflict reduction with Matt Collins
In this bonus episode, we take you live to the International Wolf Symposium, on October 11th, for a talk by Matthew Collins, Western Landowners Alliance’s Working Wild Challenge program associate. Before Matt joined WLA, he conducted research into how local groups, called place-based collaboratives, helped improve adoption of practices that reduce conflict between livestock and large carnivores while pursuing a masters degree at Colorado State University. At the International Wolf Symposium, Matt had 15 minutes to present his entire masters thesis project to a packed room. We think he knocked it out of the park. And fortunately, On Land editor-in-chief Louis Wertz was there to record it. You can find Matt's powerpoint presentation and other supporting info in the show notes on our website, onland.westernlandowners.org/podcast/ Many thanks to Zach Altman, Louis Wertz, Matt Collins and the team at the International Wolf Symposium for making this episode possible.
Oct 7, 2022
The Colorado River Crisis with Andy Mueller
The big news in the West these days is drought, and specifically drought in the Colorado River Basin. In upcoming episodes, we're going to bring you some really interesting conversations with land stewards who are trying really cool things to deal with the drought, save water, and restore watersheds. But today, we wanted to provide listeners with some of the big picture context and some background to better understand this issue. To do that, we turned to Andy Mueller. Andy Mueller is the General Manager of the Colorado River District. The Colorado River District is a public body that serves as the principal water policy and planning agency for the Colorado River Basin within the state of Colorado. They provide legal, technical and political representation regarding Colorado River issues for the communities of 15 counties in Northwest Colorado which includes the headwaters of the mighty river itself. Andy is a veteran water attorney, and a graduate of the University of Colorado Law Sc…
Aug 1, 2022
Bonus: Representing land stewards on Colorado wolf advisory group
We thought you might enjoy this short interview that aired on Raymond Toney's Colorado Howl radio show, produced by KDUR Durango. It features WLA’s programs director, Hallie Mahowald, who is on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife stakeholder advisory group (SAG) for the reintroduction and management of wolves in Colorado. In 2020, Coloradans voted to reintroduce wolves to the western half of the state. As you’ll hear in this short segment, Hallie is working to ensure that landowners, producers, and land managers have a seat at the table in this critical process, and making sure that they have the tools and resources available to share the landscape with wolves, which are already dispersing into North Park from Wyoming. Show Notes: https://onland.link/pod
Sep 9, 2021
Season 01 Wrap Up!
Well listeners, that’s a wrap on Season 01 of the On Land Podcast! Amber got to talk with some amazing women from all walks of life about their relationships with the West, having a place-based ethic, the importance of storytelling, and much more. Keep sharing, keep listening, and stay tuned for more. In our upcoming Season 02, we’ll be featuring interviews that dive deeper, go a little bit longer, and we’ll be including a mix of experienced producers, researchers, and all kinds of people working in stewardship in the American West. Take our quick listener survey: https://onland.link/podcastsurvey
Sep 2, 2021
The Intimacy of Place with Louise Johns
Today we’re pleased to share our conversation with Louise Johns. Louise is a documentary photographer and National Geographic Explorer based in Montana. Her work examines the relationships between people, place and animals, with a particular focus on rural, agricultural and indigenous communities. She began documenting the landscapes and people of the American West while working as a horse wrangler in Montana’s Centennial Valley. Johns has a master’s degree in Environmental Science Journalism from the University of Montana. She works with a variety of outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, The Nature Conservancy, and Patagonia, to name a few. Louise’s imagery captures those quiet intimate moments that take place at the intersection of people and place. Show Notes: https://onland.link/podcast
Aug 26, 2021
Capturing Ranch Life with Photographer Della Frederickson
Today we’re sharing our conversation with western photographer and wrangler Della Frederickson. After graduating from Auburn University with a degree in Digital Marketing, this South Florida girl booked it to Wyoming, where she applied her horsewomenship skills as a wrangler at a guest ranch in the heart of Grand Teton National Park for several years, solidifying her love of ranch life and the landscapes of the American West. Since she took the leap out west in 2017, Della has spent more time in the saddle than not, often with her camera in hand. But as you’ll hear in this conversation, she’s not just a passive observer when she’s out on these ranches, she’s out there driving cattle, getting muddy on branding day, and pitching in however she can - all while capturing the hardworking people and the moments that have become central to her work and her life. Della’s photography has been featured on the inside cover of Modern Huntsman and the cover of Jackson Hole…
Aug 19, 2021
Photographing the Cowgirl Life with Barbara Van Cleve
Today we are honored to share our conversation with the renowned Western photographer and fifth-generation Montana rancher Barbara Van Cleve. Barbara has spent her career photographing the American West, inspired largely by a lifetime spent on her family’s ranch just east of the Crazy Mountains in southwest Montana. For her entire life, Barbara Van Cleve has pushed up against the limits that society has imposed on women, especially in the rural West, choosing instead to forge her own path as a photographer of women in the West. Read more and find the topics and links from this episode at the full show notes: https://onland.link/podcast
Aug 12, 2021
The Future of Agriculture with Miah Chalfant
Miah Chalfant is a rancher, contemporary ledger artist, and passionate communicator of her community’s ways of life, both as a rancher and as an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. Miah ranches with her family in southeast Montana, and is looking to study Agricultural Media and Communications as she heads off to college. Though still a young person herself, Miah is already supporting and educating the next generation of ranchers and farmers in her community, and she carries herself with a hopeful, determined attitude that is both refreshing and contagious. She spoke with Western Landowners Alliance's Women in Ranching program director Amber Smith at Art of the Cowgirl in Bozeman, Montana. Read more and find the topics and links from this episode at the full show notes: https://onland.westernlandowners.org/2021/podcast/the-future-of-agriculture-with-miah-chalfant/
Aug 5, 2021
Building Bridges with Becca Skinner
Becca Skinner is a photographer, writer, National Geographic Explorer, and farmer in the permaculture food forest at her home near Bozeman, Montana. As you’ll hear in this episode, Becca started in adventure storytelling, but has since expanded her focus to include private land stewardship and sustainable food production, topics that are now central to her outlook and way of life. As she wrote in a piece she co-authored in the inaugural issue of On Land, Becca describes herself as having a foot in two worlds: in one world there is the recreation-based environmentalist, in the other world there is the ranching family that works to sustain biodiversity and open landscapes while producing food for their community. Becca’s journey parallels many people’s, including my own. Despite our age of polarization, many folks in both of these communities are realizing they have more in common than they previously understood. Becca’s work continues to bridge these two worlds, from the center…
Jul 29, 2021
Painting the Rural West with Melissa DiNino
Having moved out to remote areas of Montana for work after college, Melissa DiNino found herself in places that were steeped in quiet contemplation. As a range rider, she worked at the heart of small ranching communities where she monitored cattle and tracked wolves and grizzlies by horseback. She learned how the resiliency of rural communities relies on its relationships - both human and non-human. When she began painting in 2018, she turned to the subject matter that was most familiar - the rural west and traditional ties to the landscape, but through a feminine lens. Show Notes: https://onland.link/podcast Subscribe to On Land Magazine: https://onland.link/social-subscribe
Jul 22, 2021
Healing the Landscape with Nicole Masters
Nicole Masters is an independent agroecologist, systems thinker, educator and author of “For the love of soil.” She has a formal background in ecology, soil science and organizational learning studies. She is one of a growing number of people who are facilitating the rapidly expanding world of quality food production and biological economies. As you’ll hear in this episode, Nicole will also be a keynote speaker at the Women in Ranching virtual Confluence this fall. Show Notes: https://onland.link/podcast Subscribe to On Land Magazine: https://onland.link/social-subscribe
Jul 12, 2021
On Land Season 1 Trailer
Welcome to the first season of the On Land Podcast! On this show we’ll be bringing you thoughtful conversations with the people who are living and working on the land and shaping the future of stewardship in the American West. Be sure to follow us wherever you get your podcasts, and listen to a new episode every Thursday. Or subscribe to the On Land newsletter at onland.link/podcast.
Jul 8, 2021
Feeding the Community with Kelsey Scott
Kelsey Scott is a fourth generation rancher, artist, entrepreneur and leader in her community on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Like the open prairie she calls home, this conversation is an expansive look into Kelsey’s relationship with the land. Kelsey Scott (neé Ducheneaux) is the 4th generation of The DX Ranch on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. She is the owner of DX Beef, which offers locally raised beef for direct sale, and serves Project H3LP!, a nonprofit organization which utilizes horses to practice their Lifemanship philosophies with youth. Kelsey also works as the Natural Resources Director and Youth Programs Coordinator for the Intertribal Agriculture Council, which presents her with a unique opportunity to support the improvement of Indian lands for Indian peoples across the nation. Her father Zach Ducheneaux was recently appointed Administrator of the USDA Farm Service Agency. Show notes: https://onland.link/podcast Subscribe…