“Our public lands support some of the West’s most unique and at risk wildlife, yet they face enormous pressures. Collaboration between private conservation groups and public agencies is crucial to the future of species like the Mojave desert tortoise.”
– Ann McLuckie, Wildlife Biologist, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
More than 70 percent of Utah’s lands are public, encompassing our most iconic canyons, forests and deserts, and supporting the majority of our unique plants and wildlife. Ultimately, the health of these lands affects our economy, our quality of life and our identity as Utahns.
But our public lands—and the many resources they offer—are at risk. Agency resources are stretched thin, leaving vast areas and wildlife vulnerable to unmanaged recreation, intense resource development and the spread of invasive species. Our public land managers rely on limited budgets and staff time to make and enforce management decisions that impact the health of millions of acres.
Through the Nature of Utah Campaign, the Conservancy will join with federal and state agencies in new partnerships to share science and tools that will improve plant and animal habitat on 60 percent of Utah’s public lands.
Together, Conservancy scientists and land managers are using “Landscape Conservation Forecasting™,” a breakthrough technology and process that allows partners to predict how specific management actions—such as mechanical vegetation treatments or prescribed burns—will affect key habitats. This glimpse into the future enables public agencies to spend limited budgets on management actions that will most benefit ecosystems and wildlife.
Working with public and private partners, the Conservancy is launching a statewide rangelands initiative to assess sagebrush health and identify restoration projects.
Conservancy scientists have pioneered a land use planning tool that’s striking a new balance between energy development and land protection. Known as “Energy by Design,” this tool is now being applied in Utah’s Uintah Basin, a prime area for resource development and a home for many sensitive plant and animal species. The Conservancy is using this technology to help companies and public land agencies identify options for avoiding, minimizing and offsetting the impacts of energy exploration and development.