Deputy Director, Regenerative Grazing Lands Strategy, North America Agriculture Program
As deputy director of The Nature Conservancy’s Regenerative Grazing Lands strategy in North America, William leads on-the-ground testing and research of improved ranch management frameworks and tools, and he regularly communicates results with ranchers, land managers and other partners within the beef supply chain. He also supports the strategy’s policy, science, and corporate engagement work.
In early 2022, William led the launch of a 5-year, multi-state pilot project on working ranches to learn how people can graze cattle differently with virtual fence technology to improve conservation, business, and soil carbon outcomes. He also helps lead TNC’s work with the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, manages a range of sustainable sourcing projects with supply chain partners, and guides TNC’s internal ranch and grasslands conservation learning networks.
William’s work is informed by 15 years of practical experience improving outcomes for people and nature through the planning and management of livestock operations at TNC’s 14,000-acre Fox Ranch Preserve, as well as other TNC operations in eastern Colorado.
In addition to his grazing lands work, William’s accomplishments include advancing the sustainable use of the Ogallala Aquifer in Colorado, partnering with landowners to protect vital lands in eastern Colorado through conservation easements, and helping shape renewable energy strategies for TNC’s Colorado program and North America Region.
William, who first joined TNC in 2005, earned his MBA and MS in environmental policy at the University of Michigan and his BS in wildlife management and biology at the University of Wisconsin– Stevens Point. Outside of work, William enjoys life in Colorado with his awesome wife and two delightful daughters.
Ahlering, M., Lendrum, P., Borrelli, P., Burnidge, W., Clark, L., Ellis, C., Gadzia, K., Gelbard, J., Gennet, S., Goodwin, J., Herrick, J., Kachergis, E., Knapp, C., Labbe, N., Maczko, K., Porzig, E., Rizzo, D., Spiegal, S., Kazanski, C. (2021) A Synthesis of Ranch-Level Sustainability Indicators for Land Managers and to Communicate Across the US Beef Supply Chain. Rangeland Ecology & Management. 217-230. 10.1016/j.rama.2021.08.011.
Barton, E., Bennett, D., Burnidge, W. (2020) Holistic perspectives—Understanding rancher experiences with holistic resource management to bridge the gap between rancher and researcher perspectives. Rangelands. 42. 10.1016/j.rala.2020.05.003.
Burnidge, W. (2000) Cattle and the management of freshwater neotropical wetlands in Palo Verde National Park, Guanacaste, Costa Rica (Thesis).