August 30, 2011

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Michael managed Chico Basin Ranch for several years up until 2015.

Last week Charley Orchard from Land EKG came out to our sister ranch, Chico Basin, to teach a workshop on monitoring land health.

Charley’s system is recognized by most major agencies like the BLM and Forest Service as an acceptable, accurate and reputable method for measuring land health. Land EKG is comparable to a regular EKG, the machine they hook you up to in a hospital to monitor your heart and make sure you don’t flat-line (i.e. die), and is a system that allows you to measure land health year to year so that you can make management decisions based on the land’s status.

The best part about the system is that it’s easy to use and only needs to be done once a year. The gist of what you do each year is you return to set locations on your property and photograph the exact same locations each year to monitor plant and soil progress. The photographs and notes you take are then uploaded to an online database that is extremely easy to use, that allows you to compare pictures and notes side-by-side. So after loading this year’s photos I can compare them to the same points from the past three years and see whether or not there are new plants, new bare ground, etc and make management decisions based off of the progress.

The ease of use while remaining a professional tool is a big win for ranchers that allows us to have top-notch, accepted data at our fingertips and right online when we need it at the drop of a hat. Being able to easily show and document ranching as an effective land management tool is a very exciting thing.

Thanks to Charley and to everyone who made it to the workshop!