Joel Ferry has been awarded the IWJV’s 2017 Private Landowner Conservation Champion Award, which recognizes and honors private landowners for their contributions to natural resource conservation and management in the Intermountain West in alignment with the goals, objectives, and priorities of the IWJV.
Joel Ferry is the youngest current representative of J Y Ferry and Sons, Inc., a livestock and farming operation near Corinne, Utah. J Y Ferry and Sons, Inc. is a fifth-generation operation. Throughout the years, they have worked to improve the property they own and manage in Box Elder County by using livestock to improve wetland conditions.
Through grazing management on wetland areas adjoining the Great Salt Lake, including their private property, the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, and state management areas, the livestock graze phragmites (an invasive plant), stressing it, reducing the height, and creating open water areas for waterfowl and shorebird use in the large monotypic stands. J Y Ferry and Sons, Inc. has removed invasive salt cedar within the Bear River riparian corridor and is currently working on revegetating the riparian areas on the Bear River.
Wetland management has also been a focus for the Ferrys, and they have replaced and installed over 80 water control structures to facilitate the management of water levels benefitting livestock, waterfowl, and shorebirds. The Ferrys have implemented conservation practices in cooperation with numerous conservation organizations including: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Natural Resources Conservation Service, Ducks Unlimited, and Utah Department of Environmental Quality.
Joel worked with the National Wildlife Refuge Association, contacting private landowners and discussing their interest in the development and designation of a conservation area in the Bear River Watershed. These landowner discussions were important because FWS was interested in pursuing the ability to utilize conservation easements to provide long-term protection of private property in the Bear River Watershed, but landowner involvement was critical to ensure that the project would be successful. FWS developed a program to pursue voluntary easements within the watershed, and the Ferrys set the tone by donating the first easement which allowed the appropriation of funding for the purchase of future easements within the watershed.
Joel has also championed conservation by participating in the planning efforts by The Nature Conservancy for the Bear River Watershed and serving as a member of the IWJV’s Utah State Conservation Partnership and helping rank conservation-based funding requests.
For these reasons, Joel has been awarded the IWJV’s 2017 Private Landowner Conservation Champion Award, which recognizes and honors private landowners for their contributions to natural resource conservation and management in the Intermountain West in alignment with the goals, objectives, and priorities of the IWJV. Joel is a true community-based conservation leader and helps to promote this conservation at model scales.