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Dedicated Stewardship: Awardees honored, new officers appointed at annual meeting

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Cody – During the 54th Annual Public Lands Council (PLC) Meeting, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and PLC presented several awards. 

At the conclusion of the annual meeting, new officers were appointed for year 2023. 

USFS award

The USFS awarded the Thunder Basin Grassland Prairie Ecosystem Association (TBGPEA) the Outstanding Rangeland Management Partner Award.

“This award is for external partners who have worked closely with our field and district offices to bring positive change to rangelands,” shared USFS Rangeland Manager Geri Proctor. “The recipient of this award was selected based on their demonstrated commitment to resource stewardship and collaborative efforts.” 

The association has been committed to maintaining and enhancing the economic and logical values of the Thunder Basin National Grasslands while addressing and partnering with local, national and international stakeholders, Proctor noted. 

“The TBGPEA has been committed to balancing various interests while making sound policy and management decisions based on current and local scientific information,” she added. “They have been more than willing to step in and ask what was needed – I don’t think the Thunder Basin Grassland would be in the shape it’s in without this association and the work they have been willing to do.” 

TBGPEA Chairman Frank Eathorne, Jr., TBGPEA Director John Riehle and TBGPEA Executive Director Dave Pellatz were present to accept the award.  

“We appreciate the recognition by the USFS for the work we’ve been doing,” said Eathorne. “We’ve found a lot of things we can do with this data we’ve been developing over the years, so we appreciate the USFS working with us.” 

In addition, the Fitch Ranch of Granby, Colo. was awarded the Rangeland Ingenuity Award for proactive efforts to adapt to changing conditions and develop creative solutions. 

BLM awards 

The BLM awarded the 2022 Rangeland Stewardship Award to Charles Hibner of New Mexico and the Sagebrush-Steppe Stewardship Award to the Cedar Creek Grazing Association (CCGA) of Montana. 

“These awards recognize outstanding investments and the people who continue to demonstrate livestock operations are critical to sustainability and resilience of Western landscapes,” said PLC President Niels Hansen. “PLC is proud to continue to work with the BLM to support the work these ranchers do to protect sage grouse habitat, encourage retention of native grass stands and improve diverse wildlife habitat. Congratulations to these recipients for this well-deserved recognition of their work supporting food and fiber production while making Western public lands healthier for us all.” 

Hibner was recognized for his long-standing work as a soil conservationist at the Natural Resources Conservation Service and his 50-year status as a grazing permittee. He also has worked to improve native vegetation and biodiversity near Cebolla, N.M.  

CCGA’s 20 members collectively work to improve sage grouse habitat through various grazing activities and have outlined several wildlife habitat improvements, riparian protection and noxious weed mitigation as high priorities during their 55-year history. 

PLC awards

The PLC recognized two individuals for their dedication and commitment to public lands stewardship.

BLM Rangeland Management Specialist Cheryl Newberry of Rawlins was selected for the 2022 Friend of PLC Award, and Dr. Dave Daley was recognized with the 2022 PLC Presidential Award. 

The Friend of PLC Award recognizes a person outside of PLC who goes above and beyond their duties to help the mission of public lands ranchers. The award is intended to honor individuals who work adjacent to the ranching industry and have made significant contributions to the economic, social and environmental longevity of grazing on public lands. 

“In both attitude and professional achievement, Cheryl epitomizes the best and highest potential of federal lands stewardship. Over her decades of service, Cheryl has made an indelible mark on the health of the landscapes we live and work on in south central Wyoming,” shared Hansen in a Sept. 2 news release. “I have no doubt her work, and the work of the numerous staff she has trained and mentored over the years, has made an immense positive impact on our risk of catastrophic fire, the resiliency and accessibility of our water sources and the ability to address the threat of invasive grasses.” 

He continued, “However, what truly differentiates Cheryl is not just her expertise, but her philosophy. While some in her position may avoid collaboration due to the work it makes for them, Cheryl embraces the opportunities a collaborative approach provides, and is willing to shoulder the work it takes to maintain those relationships. She approaches grazing permit administration as a genuine partnership of equals, and her approach yields better results for permittees, the land, wildlife and our local economy.”

He added, “She engenders trust and collaboration because she is consistently open, accessible and honest in her dealings with everyone. It is my privilege to honor Cheryl with this award and to extend our gratitude for her service to the industry.” 

The PLC Presidential Award was named at the discretion of Hansen. The award is intended to honor a permittee who has made exceptional contributions to the ranching industry in the West through their participation in PLC, science-based practices, community involvement and their work to push the industry forward.  

Daley ranches near the Plumas National Forest in California and has dedicated his time to serve as the administrator of the Paul. L. Byrne Memorial University Farm in addition to serving in various roles on the California Cattlemen’s Foundation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and local and state industry associations. 

“It is difficult to think of another permittee who has given more time, energy and personal mettle to the advancement and evolution of our industry than Dave Daley,” commented PLC Vice President Mark Roeber. “He is relentless in his pursuit of the facts, a true champion for science-based land management and flexible, ecosystem-specific strategies.”  

“Dave’s dedication to science-based management is anything but dispassionate. He couples his intense knowledge on the issues with a vivid and sincere commitment to advocacy,” he added.  

Appointed members 

At the conclusion of the meeting, a new team of volunteer leaders were appointed to lead PLC’s advocacy, education and outreach efforts in Washington, D.C. and across the West. 

Mark Roeber of Colorado was selected to serve as president; Tim Canterbury of Colorado as vice president; Ron Cerri of Nevada as secretary; Brenda Richards of Idaho as treasurer; and Niels Hansen of Wyoming as immediate past president. 

Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to 

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