ELKO — The Elko BLM District and Maggie Creek Ranch working cooperatively have been able to complete a number of range improvement projects that have resulted in improved riparian and upland vegetation.

Since the early 1990s, Maggie Creek Ranch has been a key partner in a collaborative effort to restore the Susie Creek watershed on both public and private lands with the goal of re-establishing Lahontan cutthroat trout, a federally listed threatened species. Over 25 miles of Susie Creek and its tributary streams have been improved through a combination of fencing and application of prescriptive grazing practices.

Improvement of stream and riparian habitat conditions has been dramatic and recovery is to the point where cutthroat trout will be released into the system within the next few years. As part of this effort, the Maggie Creek Ranch has worked with the Nevada Department of Wildlife to develop Safe Harbor Agreements for private lands and with the Elko District for development of grazing prescriptions and cooperative monitoring efforts within the Susie Creek Basin.

In 2005, the Elko District, in cooperation with the Maggie Creek Ranch, Trout Unlimited and local mines, worked to replace a problematic diversion structure with a new structure designed to provide for both upstream and downstream passage of fish including Lahontan cutthroat trout while still allowing for the irrigation needs of the ranch.

In conjunction with constructing the new structure, the Maggie Creek Ranch has supported other components of the project including monitoring fish passage in cooperation with Trout Unlimited and the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

Maggie Creek Ranch has also been a key partner in the Elko District’s effort to improve stream and riparian habitat conditions within the South Fork of the Humboldt River canyon. This effort has included construction of innovative livestock water gaps allowing for recovery of the river corridor while providing for continued grazing of adjacent uplands.

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In addition to riparian and upland rangeland improvement through improved grazing management, ongoing cooperative noxious weed treatment work between Maggie Creek Ranch and the Elko District has resulted in effective treatment of thousands of acres of scotch thistle and Russian knapweed. These efforts are ongoing and involve noxious weed treatments public and private lands.

Thanks to the cooperation of Jon Griggs we continue to expand our treatment efforts while maintaining our existing treatment areas. Through this cooperation we are able to see that our combined efforts are being effective, which gives us even more of an incentive to expand our treatments to adjacent areas.

Changes in stream and riparian habitat conditions along Susie Creek between 1991 and 2008 are in response to prescriptive livestock grazing practices employed by the Maggie Creek Ranch. In May of 2014, the Susie Creek Cooperative Restoration Project was featured on the PBS program, Nature.

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