Emily Downing

The State of Conservation: Spotlighting the IWJV Management Board

The people and partnerships of the Intermountain West Joint Venture strive to build landscape resiliency and connect communities to conservation, especially during this time of social distancing, disconnectedness, and uncertainty. In a Q&A series, we asked members of the IWJV Management Board to highlight conservation work being done across the Intermountain West and to share photos of what conservation looks like at the moment for them. We’ve been posting these short interviews on our Facebook and Instagram accounts, and there are still more to come. Follow along to learn a little bit more about our Management Board and what conservation looks like for the IWJV and our partners right now.

Highlights

Kim Brackett, Cattle Rancher, Brackett Ranches, Idaho, IWJV Management Board Member since January 2020
What current conservation challenges are you confronting during this time?
The main pandemic challenge we face is simply being unable to meet with agency folks who are working from home and not allowed to travel. We miss their regular visits at the ranch. Our biggest challenges, however, have been business decisions related to challenging cattle markets and reduced processing capacity.

Brian Rutledge, Sagebrush Ecosystem Initiative Director for the National Audubon Society, IWJV Management Board Member since 2009
What’s a conservation effort that you (or your staff) have initiated during this time to make conservation relevant today and for the future?
The Black Birders Initiative and expanding social outreach are two focus points at the moment. The future of conservation depends entirely on creating an inclusive and diverse base.

Photo of Colorado Parks & Wildlife staff.

Dan Prenzlow, Director, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, IWJV Management Board Member since January 2020
How are you/your organization adapting your work in response to current challenges?
Most of our staff has adapted very quickly to working from home with the major CPW offices being closed. We have been able to keep our State Parks open the entire time, which has allowed Coloradoans to recreate in a safe manner outside. All of our offices and visitor centers are now open again with social distancing requirements in place. The move to working remotely has been very successful and effective. CPW has developed a strong social media and online presence, which has made communication with our public seamless.

Jean Semborski, Senior Coordinator, Environmental, ConocoPhillips Company, IWJV Management Board Member since January 2010
How are you/your organization adapting your work in response to current challenges?
We have focused financial support for conservation on the sagebrush and grasslands biomes and have focused resources on organizations that are recognized leaders in collaborative conservation and science.

Photo of Wyoming Game & Fish Department staff.

Brian R. Nesvik, Director of Wyoming Game and Fish Department, IWJV Management Board Member since 2019
Why is the IWJV important to you?
The JV represents a broad group of important players in western conservation. It’s a model for how partnership and synchronized conservation priorities can be resourced efficiently.  Additionally, the JV gets stuff done and that is a tall order when you consider the diversity and number of member organizations that are involved.

John Ruhs, Idaho State Director, Bureau of Land Management, IWJV Management Board Member since 2020
What current conservation challenges are you confronting during this time?
The pandemic we have before us has really brought to the forefront one very challenging issue that’s facing the Bureau of Land Management, and land management, in general. We’ve got to figure out how to find a better balance of public lands recreational use with the other multiple uses of these lands. This is a conflict that comes up with any group you participate in. We all want to enjoy this countryside through hunting, fishing, boating, birding, etc. and the challenge we are facing with the multitude of people trying to recreate right now is very difficult. 

Photo of Mule Deer Foundation partners.

Miles Moretti, President and CEO of the Mule Deer Foundation, IWJV Management Board Member since 2002
What current conservation challenges are you confronting during this time?
Of course, at this moment in time, the COVID-19 pandemic is our greatest challenge. We are not able to conduct our large fundraising events or complete some of our habitat projects. The next biggest challenge is finding new sources of funding for habitat restoration projects. We’re looking at pivoting away from a local fundraising banquet model to an organization funded through grants from private foundations and state and federal agencies.

Ron Alvarado, State Conservationist, NRCS Oregon, IWJV Management Board member since 2011
What’s a conservation effort that you (or your staff) have initiated during this time to make conservation relevant today and for the future?
There are many to talk about. We’re making huge strides in central Oregon, for example, by assisting local irrigation districts modernizing their irrigation infrastructure, resulting in huge water savings, providing yearly instream water, and eliminating electric irrigation pumping costs [for local water users].

To learn more about the IWJV Management Board, click here.