Stegner Center Green Bag
Biodiversity and Habitat Conservation: Lessons from Working Ranches
Rick Danvir, Wildlife Manager, Deseret Land & Livestock; Bill Hopkin, Director, Utah Grazing Improvement Program, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food
S.J. Quinney College of Law, Room 106
1 hour CLE.
William (Bill) Hopkin was born and raised on the family ranch in Woodruff, Rich County, Utah. While spending the summers of his high school and college years tending the cattle on the family summer range, he became obsessed with the relationship between healthy rangelands, wildlife populations, and using domestic livestock as a tool to improve watershed health and wildlife habitat. In 1983 he was hired by Gregg Simonds, an innovative mentor, as the cattle manager of the 205,000 acre Deseret Land & Livestock Ranch (DL&L), where he became the General Manager in 1992. Working with a small but dedicated team of employees, and over a 20 year period, DL&L became a prominent example of financial and ecological sustainability in the west. Through dedicated planning and implementation the ranch doubled livestock and Elk numbers, increased pronghorn from 0 to 700, increased sage grouse 5 fold, changed the bottom line from a half million dollar loss to a 1.5 million dollar profit. In 1998 Audubon named DL&L as “An important Global Bird Area” with over 175 species observed, and in 2004 the Society for Range Management presented the ranch with its most coveted award, “W. R. Chaplin Land Stewardship Award” at its International conference in Vancouver.
Since 2006 Bill has been the State Director for the Grazing Improvement program (GIP), a division within the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Over the past 4 years the program has provided cost-share funding for 300 projects that have benefited 1.6 million acres of Utah’s rangeland. Current GIP focus is on several landscape scale management plans that combine Federal, State, and private lands into one management unit to improve watershed health and wildlife habitat in an economically sustainable way. Success in improving the health of public land will depend on our ability to follow proven management principles to create the ecological values we all desire.
Rick Danvir received an Associates Degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from the State University of New York at Cobleskill in 1975. After working as a wildlife research technician for several years with the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation, the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Rick received a Bachelors degree in Wildlife Science from Utah State University in 1982. He began his career as a wildlife biologist at Deseret Land and Livestock ranch in 1983, and has been the wildlife manager since 1990. His wildlife research experience includes studies of black bear, prairie dog, cougar, mule deer, elk, pronghorn and greater sage grouse ecology. He has managed wildlife on ranches and reservations throughout the Intermountain West, the Great Plains, Maine, Florida, Alberta and Argentina. Rick has served as a Utah Fish and Game Commissioner, on the Utah Habitat Council, as a board member of the Utah Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit Association, the Utah Foundation for Quality Resource Management and the BEHAVE Advisory Board. His principle management interest is integrating agricultural production and wildlife management for ecological and economic sustainability.