Shared Capacity, Shared Success

By Greg M. Peters

When Rebecca Burton arrived at the NRCS office in Craig, Colorado, she wasn’t quite sure what to expect for her first day of work. It was 2019 and even though she would be working on private lands conservation under the direct supervision of NRCS staff, Burton wasn’t officially an NRCS employee.

Rebecca Burton is one of 19 “swatters” adding capacity to the NRCS’s efforts around the West.

Like more than 19 other conservation professionals across the West, Burton works to advance rangeland conservation through the Sage Grouse Initiative as a Strategic Watershed Action Team (SWAT) member. Many “swatters,” as they’re affectionately known, are trained in rangeland ecology or wildlife biology (like Burton), and their work on western rangelands is part of a shared-capacity approach to conserving the biologically and culturally rich sagebrush sea.

Burton and her counterparts are employed by one of a handful of the NRCS’s Western Working Lands for Wildlife partner organizations; in Burton’s case, it’s Pheasants  Forever. Through a multi-year agreement with the NRCS, these organizations can hire and manage these partner positions to add much-needed capacity to the important private lands conservation work that is the NRCS’s specialty.

Michael Brown oversees SWAT staffers across the West (Brown is also a Pheasants Forever employee in a shared-capacity position), and the crew is busy indeed. According to Brown, collectively these positions have developed customized grazing plans on over 2.95 million acres, worked to remove over 333,000 acres of encroaching conifers, and marked or removed 318 miles of fence since SGI started.

So, even though Burton may not have known just what to expect on her first day in the office, the Craig, Colorado NRCS staff was ready for her.

“Basically, they told me, ‘You’re the partner biologist, and you’ll be working on sage grouse and other wildlife-related projects,’” she explained. “The office had a long list of producers who had requested a variety of technical assistance help. That’s where I started – working through that list with a focus on wildlife projects.”

It didn’t take her long to start making a difference. Kendall Smith is the District Conservationist in the NRCS’s Craig/Meeker Office, and he’s thrilled with the added capacity Burton provides.

Click here for the entire article

Northern Colorado Pheasants Forever – Super Sweepstakes is LIVE!

We are excited to announce the launch of our first fundraiser of 2021. We did not let COVID slow down our outreach and habitat improvement efforts, but we did temporarily pause our fundraising. We now need more help than ever to replenish our coffers, which will enable us to continue to do all of the great things you’ve come to expect from Northern Colorado Pheasants Forever. Details on the event are below.

2021 Super Sweepstakes Details

Our super sweepstakes is an amazing opportunity to win one of 12 fabulous prizes.

  • The grand prize includes a beautiful shotgun, rifle, high-end binoculars, and a premium cooler!
  • The remaining 11 prizes are a variety of shotguns and rifles from Beretta, Weatherby, Browning, Benelli, Franchi Henry and more!
  • The total prize value is over $13K!!!
  • Don’t delay; the drawing is on July 9th.

Click here for more details!

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Appoint Jeff Yost to Colorado State Coordinator

Veteran biologist set to lead staff and partnership efforts for statewide upland successes

Denver, Colo. – April 9, 2021 – Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, and its partners are pleased to announce the hiring of Jeff Yost as the very first Colorado state coordinator. Yost will partner with the Colorado-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and local chapters to coordinate and lead wildlife conservation efforts throughout the state focused on pheasants, quail, and sage grouse, in addition to increased public access.

“I am extremely excited to welcome Jeff into the Pheasants Forever family. He brings a tremendous track record in natural resources management to our team for delivering landscape-level conservation efforts across most of the state and is positioned to be a wonderful mentor for his new team members,” stated Al Eiden, west region director for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever.

In his new role, Yost responsibilities will include overseeing Pheasants Forever’s biologist partnership, expanding Pheasants Forever’s role in working with conservation partners throughout Colorado, and overseeing habitat conservation programs such as Colorado’s Corners for Conservation. Likewise, he will also assist in helping implement conservation programs for lesser prairie chickens, sagebrush restoration, and public access.

Yost brings more than 25 years of conservation experience to his new position, having worked in nearly every ecosystem throughout the state. Yost graduated from Colorado State University in 1993 with a major in wildlife and a minor in range management. He began his conservation-focused career as a Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) technician, focusing on upland research and the Pheasant Habitat Improvement Program (PHIP) in northeastern Colorado. In 1997, Yost transferred to a new position as a terrestrial biologist in southeast Colorado, spending eight years working on everything from pheasants, bobwhite and scaled quail, and lesser prairie-chickens to waterfowl, big game, and non-game species. His most recent biologist position with CPW was located in the region of Steamboat Springs, focused heavily on management efforts for bighorn sheep, deer, elk, moose, and pronghorn.

“When I retired from CPW, I never planned to stop working in conservation, but rather adjust to new challenges and new opportunities,” said Jeff Yost. I am ecstatic to be selected as the Colorado state coordinator and feel as if my entire career has been preparing me to seize this moment with Pheasants Forever, contributing to wildlife habitat conservation across the eastern plains and the western slope of Colorado. How cool is that!”

Having developed a deep appreciation for the conservation opportunities and challenges in Colorado throughout his career, Yost is excited to engage landowners and conservation partners throughout region. For more information about Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever in The Centennial State, contact Jeff Yost at jayost@pheasantsforever.org.

About Pheasants Forever

Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 125,000 members and 750 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent over $975 million on 560,000 habitat projects benefiting 20 million acres nationwide. In fact, more than 210,000 of those acres are now permanently protected as public lands. 

Media Contact

Jared Wiklund
Jwiklund@Pheasantsforever.Org
(651) 209-4953

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Volunteers Launch First-Ever Chapter on Western Slope of Colorado

Committee members are developing future plans for habitat, access, and R3 initiatives

Montrose, Colo. – April 19, 2021 – Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever in Colorado is pleased to announce the first-ever chapter launch on the state’s Western Slope. Officially chartered as the Western Colorado Chapter of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever #978, local volunteers have begun planning outdoor education opportunities, learn-to-hunt events, and future habitat conservation projects to promote the region’s hunting heritage, protect public lands, and conserve critical wildlife resources.

“The mission of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever aligns closely with the outdoor passions shared by our motivated committee,” stated Ranae Williams, newly elected president for the Western Colorado Chapter of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “Although western Colorado lacks vast acres of CRP, we feel the local chapter model could have wide sweeping, positive impacts for habitat conservation efforts of iconic upland birds and other wildlife. We have big dreams for this chapter and feel that the sky is the limit for what we can accomplish with the right support and enthusiastic volunteers.”

Since 1988, chapter volunteers of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever in Colorado have made impressive strides to conserve wildlife habitat and promote youth education. As a whole, volunteers have spent $15.9 million to complete 8,931 habitat projects to improve 126,317 acres for pheasants, quail, and other western wildlife species. It is this grassroots, local conservation model that will be embraced by Western Colorado Chapter of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever as they contribute to further habitat improvement projects, state initiatives, and hunting/outdoor education events in their region.

Initial steps for the chapter’s launch include partnering with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to promote the group’s Hunters Education instructors, in addition to establishing annual youth and women’s events with local hunt club affiliations. Connecting to the organization’s core mission, volunteers are prepared to begin implementing quality habitat projects for quail, chukar, grouse, and pollinators throughout the region.

“Pheasants Forever in Colorado is thrilled to have a chapter on the Western Slope that can help support our existing Working Lands for Wildlife biologist who has been on the ground for two years,” said Bob Hix, regional representative for Colorado. “The mission of Pheasants Forever transcends the bird on our logo to include diverse species and stakeholders; all of which our new chapter hopes to engage with. Additionally, their fondness for education and outreach will help this dedicated group deliver each pillar of the organization’s mission.”

The chapter will host monthly meetings on the last Sunday of each month at 9am. Hunters and conservationists interested in joining the chapter as volunteers are encouraged to attend. For more information about the chapter or to become involved, please contact chapter president, Ranae Williams, at ranae.williams@csuglobal.edu.

For more information about Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever in Colorado, to join a chapter or inquire about starting a chapter, contact Bob Hix at (303) 743-8957 / Email.

About Pheasants Forever
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 130,000 members and 780 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent over $950 million on 560,000 habitat projects benefiting 20 million acres nationwide. In fact, more than 212,000 of those acres are now permanently protected as public lands.

Media Contact
Jared Wiklund
Jwiklund@Pheasantsforever.Org
(651) 209-4953

Morgan County Pheasants Forever – Sporting Clays Shoot & Meal

Join us on Friday, June 11, 2021 at 8604 County Road 6, Wiggins, Co for the Sporting Clays Shoot & Meal.

Pre-registration appreciated, please call, email or online at www.morgancountypf.org
Early Bird Registration Drawing for Case of Shotgun Shells, June 1st deadline
Tim Amen, 970-380-8281, Tim.Amen79@gmail.com
Scott Bryan, 970-380-4854, Scottbr2@msn.com

Check in time opens 12:30 pm, Team instructions 1:45 pm, First Station 2:00 pm,
Meal and Games for Shooters and Non-Shooters approx. 4:30 pm

Event, Station, and Course Sponsorships available—See Sponsorship Opportunities
Shooter price $500/4 person team, $625 5 person team, $125/Individual shooter
All includes Meal and PF Household Memberships
Non-Shooters Meal Only and Membership $50, additional meals $15

Meal following shoot at 4:30 will include some of our traditional games including the popular shot shell drawing, dog tag drawing, card draw and silent auction items. We encourage non-shooters to play the games early and view the action all afternoon!

Downloads:

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Unveil Ambitious National Campaign to Conserve 9 Million Acres

Wet Meadow Restoration: Greater Sage Grouse in NW Colorado

Early September the PF Seed Program, helped sponsor a project to restore riparian and wet meadow habitat near the town of Craig in northwestern Colorado. Pheasants Forever Working Lands for Wildlife Biologists from Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah all participated in the event organized by the USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, NRCS/PF-Working Lands for Wildlife, Bio-Logic, Wildland Restoration Volunteers (WRV), and Visintainer Sheep Co, where the project took place.

Wet meadows, or mesic areas, contain crucial brood-rearing habitat for the Greater Sage Grouse and host numerous benefits to other wildlife and livestock. In these sagebrush rangelands of northwestern Colorado elk and mule deer along with neo-tropical migratory birds use these wet meadows at some point throughout the year. Over time the meadows have been damaged by erosion and lower water tables altered by drought, intense rain events, and a changing climate.

Using simple but innovative techniques derived from restoration guru Bill Zeedyk the group was able to start restoring the meadow with rock, or “Zeedyk” structures. The goal with these structures is to raise the water table, slow erosion, and support a diversity of plants and insects. These wet meadows are crucial to the Greater Sage Grouse as within the first few weeks of being hatched chicks need high protein insects to survive into adolescence and these mesic areas provide this excellent habitat. The wet meadows also allow plants to stay green, and grow later in the season, providing excellent forage for elk, deer, and livestock. Since soil disturbance is an integral facet of the rock structure implementation the PF Seed Program was able to provide a native pollinator forb seed mix in and around these structures to promote greater insect pollinator activity, providing excellent early brood rearing habitat for Greater Sage Grouse. The South Denver Metro Pheasants Forever Chapter of Colorado donated the seed and PF Chapters in CO help contribute to our private land’s biologist program ensuring that projects like these continue to grow.

Dozens of volunteers were mentored and led by Bob Timberman of USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Shawn Conner of Bio-Logic, Brian Holmes of CO Parks & Wildlife, William Vieth of Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, and Rebecca Burton a Working Lands for Wildlife Biologist with Pheasants Forever/NRCS. Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, a Colorado based non-profit who organizes volunteers to work on conservation projects in Colorado and southern Wyoming, was an integral component of the project as they organized and provided the manpower to make quite an impact. The Covid-19 pandemic brought additional challenges implementing the project, but by limiting the group size to 25 volunteers per day, maintaining social distancing of 6+ feet whenever possible, and wearing masks while working in close proximities allowed to make it a reality.

Throughout the 4-day event almost 50 structures were built, new partnerships developed, and numerous encounters with the Greater Sage Grouse to the point where a few were able to harvest this iconic bird on surrounding public lands. Special thanks goes out to all the partners involved while Pheasants Forever looks forward to other opportunities of wet meadow restoration in the West.

Sites were selected down a major drainage on the property where piles of rocks from a local quarry were staged for the event.
Shawn Conner of Bio-Logic, (far right), explains the proper method for building the rock structures.
Left to Right: Annelyse Matzinger and Rebecca Burton of Pheasants Forever mask up as they put finishing touches on a rock rundown structure.
Left to Right: Brian Holmes of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Bob Timberman of USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program led this effort by selecting project sites, landowner relations, and inclusion of partners.
Left to Right: Jason LeVan, Michael Peyton, Larry Glassburn (WRV volunteer), Rebecca Burton, Annaelyse Matzinger, and Charlie Holtz of Pheasants Forever were grateful to assist on this unique opportunity.
Multiple forb species growing throughout the wet meadow whereby adding a diverse native pollinator seed mix in and amongst the rock structures will help ensure forb integration after project disturbance has ceased.
Western yarrow pokes through rocks where after applying the native forb seed mix this fall will promote greater diversity of pollinator species that bloom throughout the growing season, providing insect rich habitat for Wester Sage Grouse.
Left to Right: Pheasants Forever Biologists Jason LeVan of Lander, WY – Michael Peyton of Tremonton, UT, – Rebecca Burton of Craig, CO, – Charlie Holtz and Annelyse Matzinger of Vernal, Utah take a breather after building a “Zuni bowl”.
Left to Right-Pheasants Forever Biologists Michael Peyton, Jason LeVan, and Charlie Holtz mid-day before all three were able to harvest Greater Sage Grouse, which was a first for Jason and Charlie.

Morgan County Pheasants Forever – Sporting Clays Shoot

Join us on Saturday, April 18, 2020 on 8604 County Road 6, Wiggins, CO

Call, email or register online at www.morgancountypf.org by April 13th
Early Bird Registration Drawing for Case of Shotgun Shells, April 1st deadline
Tim Amen, 970-380-8281, Tim.Amen79@gmail.com
Scott Bryan, 970-380-4854, Scottbr2@msn.com


Check-in time opens 8:30 am, Team instructions 9:30 am, First Station 10:00 am,
Luncheon and Games for Shooters and Non-Shooters 12:00 noon.

Table, Station, and Course Sponsorships available—See Sponsorship Opportunities
Shooter price $500/4 person team, $625 5 person team, $125/Individual shooter
All includes lunch and PF Household Memberships
Non-Shooters Lunch Only and Membership $50, additional meals $25

The lunch event will include many of our traditional games including the ever-popular shotshell drawing, dog tag drawing, card draw, and silent auction items. We encourage non-shooters to attend!

Click here to register

Corners for Conservation (C4C)

Are you new to the state? Need information about where to hunt upland game in Colorado? Want to know about Pheasant’s Forever’s contribution to conservation and hunting access?

Great! The best program (in my mind) for the combination of information to answer those questions is found in the descriptions of the Corners 4 Conservation (C4C). C4C is a partnership between Pheasant’s Forever, farmers, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Natural Resources Conservation service, High Plains Land Conservancy, and Muley Fanatics to create habitat for birds, bees, bucks, & butterflies that helps farmers make their land more profitable and gives the public open access for hunting! What a win for everyone, especially the wildlife.

SO, if you need hunting access, want to see PF at work through their wildlife biologists, or want to see conservation at it’s best, get yourself a booklet showing where the walk-in acres are. Those can be found free at your local sporting goods stores. Or better yet, follow these links for more information at the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website. See you in the field.

https://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/RulesRegs/Brochure/LateCropland.pdf#search=corners%20for%20conservation https://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/Commission/2017/March/Item_20-PowerPoint-Corners_Conservation-MArch2017-PWCMtg.pdf#search=corners%20for%20conservation

2019 Colorado Pheasants Forever Banquet Schedule

2019 Fall Banquet Schedule for CO PF

Opening Weekend of Pheasant Season

  • November 8– Northeast CO PF (Sterling) Amber 970-466-9455
  • November 9 – Phillips County PF (Holyoke) Gary 970-520-1154
  • November 9 – Yuma County PF (Yuma) Matt 970-630-0250
  • November 9 – Southeast CO PF (Lamar) Kevin 719-688-9866
  • November 9 – Baca County PF (Springfield) Tara 719-353-1582

For more information contact Bob Hix 303-743-8957 Bhix@pheasantsforever.org