A major focus of the ranch is to increase and maintain the current biodiversity balance on our land and in our water sources. From where we stand working with nature and increasing biodiversity makes good economic sense. Through intensive management and controlled grazing and the promotion of what we have termed Ranch-Maxi-Eco-Sites we work towards balancing our lives and land with natures needs.
Our controlled and intensive grazing program allows us to maximise our grazing efficiency while limiting the stress on the environment by our cattle. We accomplish this by limiting the amount of time out cattle have access to small pieces of land at one time. By limiting their time in areas it quickly relieves stress from areas that can be sensitive to animal exposure and encourages rapid re-growth.
Our Ranch-Maxi-Eco-Sites program is based around the protection of riparian areas. Riparian areas are the areas around waterways such as rivers, streams, creeks and dugouts that can be sensitive and damaged by animal pressure. We protect wash areas, and areas that we view as being sensitive to cattle exposure. The areas are fenced off and only exposed to animals to control weed growth and to reduce the threat of fire. Along with protecting riparian areas we also fence off many of our dugouts (man made livestock watering holes), thereby offering protection to the rodent, reptile, avian, small predator species and other mammals that make their habitats in these areas. Essentially these are buffer areas around our water sources that also help to act as a screen to any negative runoff that could come from oil patch and uncontrolled neighbour farming activities.A simple depiction of a Ranch-Maxi-Eco-Site is shown below. The buffer area represents the protected habitat for the organisms that live near the water source including both flaura and fauna. The offsite controlled water area is for the cattle that will travel to the water site from one or several pastures. The picture to the left of the diagram is of an active site after being protected for a number of years.