WASHINGTON – The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is putting into practice its precepts for responsible energy planning and development in a fish- and wildlife-rich region of the Rocky Mountain West. In partnership with The High Lonesome Ranch in west-central Colorado, the sportsmen’s group is pioneering an effort to formulate a landscape- and watershed-scale model of how to develop oil and gas resources without impairing the environment, jeopardizing fish and game or diminishing hunting and angling.
“Our partnership with The High Lonesome Ranch represents a huge opportunity for landscape-level energy development that will allow us to balance resource cultivation with conservation,” said Steve Belinda, TRCP senior advisor on energy programs. “The TRCP is making a change from theory to practice, basing our activities on decades of research and working to fill existing knowledge gaps while addressing our society’s need for home-grown sources of energy.”
Comprising nearly 300 square miles of deeded and permitted lands, The High Lonesome Ranch is a mixed-use landholding that takes a conservation-minded approach to all its uses. It includes a guest and dude ranch, conference facilities, cattle operation, guided big game and upland bird hunting and angling, and expanding science research programs to be housed in the High Lonesome Institute.
“To the extent that the TRCP can help demonstrate responsible energy development on The High Lonesome Ranch,” continued Belinda, “we are seeking collaboration and coordination with energy companies, adjacent landowners and the BLM, both to help conserve those lands and to provide a model for other land managers that demonstrates how to simultaneously pursue energy development and conserve fish and wildlife populations.”
The TRCP/High Lonesome Ranch development effort will be based on the TRCP’s FACTS for Fish and Wildlife, a set of principles that address key factors in determining whether and how energy projects should be pursued on lands containing valuable fish and wildlife resources. The FACTS principles were formulated by the TRCP Fish, Wildlife and Energy Working Group, a team of biologists and experts representing TRCP partner groups and sportsman-conservationists.
“By working hand in hand with the TRCP, The High Lonesome Ranch has the opportunity to put into practice the conservation values and mixed-use philosophy that have influenced our vision for the ranch from day one,” said The High Lonesome Ranch CEO Paul R. Vahldiek Jr.
“Fundamentally, conservation of large landscapes is expensive and requires revenue generation to keep lands intact,” Vahldiek continued. “The TRCP’s approach to energy planning and production will enable us to undertake a full-fledged development plan with fish, wildlife and conservation at the forefront of our efforts. As stewards of this landscape, it is our responsibility to avail ourselves of this opportunity.” Vahldiek is a member of the TRCP board of directors.
Belinda will shift from director of the TRCP Center for Responsible Energy Development to TRCP senior energy advisor, leading The High Lonesome Ranch efforts. Effective April 1, Dr. Ed Arnett will become director of the TRCP Center for Responsible Energy Development. Arnett joins the TRCP from Bat Conservation International, where he is director of science and policy. He has extensive experience as a wildlife biologist – with the federal government, nonprofit conservation and private industry – and is a member of the TRCP FWEWG.
“We are thrilled to have Ed join the TRCP team,” said TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh. “He has been on the front lines of the renewable energy debate, and his stature within the wildlife professional community is second to none.”
In another staffing change, Neil Thagard is expanding his role from Western energy coordinator to TRCP Western outreach director, where he will build partnerships fostering responsible energy development throughout the West.
“The TRCP, as well as most sportsmen, are in favor of developing our nation’s domestic energy resources,” stated Fosburgh. “We have consistently and openly supported energy development that sustains our fish and wildlife and outdoor opportunities. Our partnership with The High Lonesome Ranch takes the logical next step in implementing our ideals. We’re thrilled to embark upon this on-the-ground effort to show how energy development can be done right – from the ground up – with partners like the BLM, industry and the conservation community.”
Learn more about the TRCP’s efforts to promote responsible energy development.
Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations
and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions
of hunting and fishing.