Conservation grazing is a type of managed grazing that uses livestock to improve and maintain wildlife and plant habitat. Implementing conservation grazing on public lands creates an opportunity to harness the positive environmental benefits of livestock, providing ecological benefits while lowering management costs.
In 2014, the Wallace Center’s Pasture Project began a public land grazing collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WIDNR) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW). This project builds on an established, though informal, history of grazing on WIDNR sites that included UW research collaborations. By the end of the first phase of the project in 2020, WIDNR had developed grazing plans and implemented conservation grazing on 46 sites representing a total of 6,713 acres. Additional sites have been identified for grazing planning and implementation in the future.
This project supported the nascent WIDNR grazing program, which now can provide a model for similar efforts by other public land agencies. Current work is focused on how WIDNR’s model of conservation grazing might be adapted in other contexts and by other agencies across the Upper Midwest. These efforts include building networking and educational opportunities for public land managers in the region.
Years Active: 2014 – 2023
Conservation Grazing on Public Land in the Upper Midwest >>
This report seeks to understand the current landscape of public land grazing activities in a six-state region in the Midwest and assessed the challenges and opportunities to advancing conservation grazing on public land.
Grazing Public Lands 101 Convening >>
This four-part series is from a two-day virtual convening hosted by the Pasture Project and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) on grazing public lands. The convening featured a range of sessions related to public land grazing.
Grazing Public Lands in Wisconsin >>
This two-pager, written in early 2020, summarizes the collaboration between WDNR, Wallace Center’s Pasture Project, and UW-Madison’s Agroecology Program in the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences and provides an update on the program’s progress.