By Published On: February 19, 2021

Boldly Stepping Up to the Conservation Challenges Ahead

Partnerships are the lifeblood of the Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV) and Partnerscapes. 

Working With Our Neighbors: IWJV and Partnerscapes are working together to communicate how the most effective large-landscape conservation efforts involve voluntary, collaborative approaches across jurisdictional boundaries and scales. This is achieved through championing working lands conservation that embraces livelihoods, the economic vitality of rural communities, and healthy wildlife populations. We believe in building trust and credibility through public-private partnerships is the cornerstone to sustaining conservation efforts for generations to come.

IWJV has built a solid foundation for the delivery of coordinated habitat conservation by assembling strong and diverse public-private partnerships. We work hand-in-hand with programs and initiatives that benefit birds and other wildlife, ranching, industry, tribes, outdoor recreation, and economic livelihoods of western communities. We help partners build capacity, apply science, and leverage funding to achieve conservation at landscape scales across the Intermountain West.

Partnerscapes is a landowner-led organization that connects private landowners to partner organizations and agencies that share a common purpose to sustain working lands. Partnerships and collaborations across the West are playing a significant role when it comes to conserving natural resources and supporting communities. Every landscape has potential partners that are, or can, work together to sustain working lands for natural resources and people. Partnerscapes speaks to that potential and the partnerships that can serve our landscapes now and going forward. 

Water & Wetlands: Wet meadows on irrigated agricultural lands comprise 62 percent of the wetland habitat in snowpack-driven systems of the Intermountain West. These lands provide vital habitat for migratory birds, sustain floodplain function, and recharge aquifers, but are at risk of fragmentation from rural subdivision, competing water demands, and the ongoing impacts of climate change.

Sagebrush Rangelands: Millions of acres of sagebrush rangelands are vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire, annual invasives like cheatgrass, and conifer encroachment—exacerbated by the impacts of climate change. Sagebrush now occupies less than 60 percent of its historical extent and several sagebrush obligate species have been petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act.


30×30 Partnership-based Conservation: The most effective large-landscape scale conservation efforts involve voluntary, collaborative approaches across jurisdictional boundaries and scales through working lands conservation that embraces livelihoods, the economic vitality of rural communities, and healthy wildlife populations.

In the Intermountain West, shifting air and stream temperatures, precipitation, reduced snowpack, and changes in peak runoff and flows will impact water management, and fish and irrigation efforts will become more complicated. Similarly, in associated rangelands and forests, increased drought in summer will increase the likelihood of wildfire frequency and invasive species will be favored by changes in wildfire regimes. 

We believe in the following concepts that will be pivotal to 30×30: 

  • Support partnerships with a proven track record of bringing people of different perspectives together to achieve durable, science-based, landscape-scale conservation.
  • Engage private landowners as leaders and champions in conserving valuable working lands that sequester carbon and greenhouse emissions, provide habitat for wildlife and fisheries, deliver an array of ecosystem services, and support rural economies. Focus on the integration of solutions and an inclusive set of conservation tools. 30×30’s ultimate success depends on conservation/wildlife-oriented private landowners who control the largest landmass in the U.S. 
  • Strengthen voluntary, partnership-driven conservation programs and collaborative approaches via increased funding, capacity, and innovation to increase the pace and scale of working lands conservation. Ensure federal funding reaches local communities and grassroots groups, and is flexible to develop solutions that address 30×30 goals.  
  • Advance efforts to mitigate climate change in the Intermountain West by preventing catastrophic wildfire fueled by invasives, addressing chronic water shortages, and conserving wildlife habitat with programs that bolster resilient and connected landscapes. While grasslands and forests have received important attention due to higher levels of organic carbon, semi-arid lands sequester inorganic carbon in the soil. Focus coordinated efforts on improving the productivity and ecological health of rangeland biomes to improve carbon storage, including mesic rangelands and wet meadows.