Unique Team Delivers Common Values on the Hill

In late February, Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV) Management Board members, partners, and staff traveled to our Nation’s capital to share messages about agriculture, western water, partnerships, and conservation success. Who better to tell these stories than the IWJV team – a group of ranchers, farmers, energy company representatives, and non-profit partners whose lives and livelihoods depend on finding win-win solutions to complex conservation challenges?

Throughout the week, the IWJV team met with Congressional members and their staff as well as DC-based leadership within Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and U.S. Forest Service. The purpose of the trip was to share messages with legislators and other decision-makers about pro-active public-private partnerships of the intermountain west. These diverse partners build cost-effective, community-based conservation that extends beyond migratory birds to benefit other wildlife, people, and the economy, and helps to further the priorities of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. Partners are especially proud of the fact that the IWJV leverages approximately $39 of non-federal resources for every $1 of federally-appropriated funding and provides tools to ensure those resources are invested strategically. This approach further increases the efficiency and effectiveness of conservation investments.

Though dozens of conversations occurred that week, the common thread was the message that voluntary conservation collaboration between public and private entities is critical for effective and long-lasting conservation. Jim Stone of Rolling Stone Ranch and Vice Chair of the IWJV Management Board perhaps said it best:  “It’s not about cows or wildlife, it’s about what we can do together. Without habitat, we have nothing; livelihoods, recreation, wildlife all go hand-in-hand. We really can’t be successful without each other.”

As the IWJV team returns to personal lives and work in the West, they remain committed to reaching beyond their region, landscapes, and on-the-ground activities to continue to include elected and appointed officials who propose, develop, support, and administer conservation programs that are critical to maintaining the momentum of our collective conservation work.

Pictured below: Jim Stone, Clen Atchley, Miles Moretti, Jay Tanner, Jim Faulstich, and Lesli Allison. These stellar folks represent agriculture, wildlife, and private landowners’ interests in the West.