Poster for The Yolo Natural Heritage Program

Poster for The Yolo Natural Heritage Program

This bit of radio features Yolo County Rancher Scott Stone of the Yolo Land and Cattle Company. L Studio interviewed him for our work with the Yolo Natural Heritage program and he was photographed as one of the “Poster Children” to exemplify the county’s bioregional character.

This story holds new significance for us here at the studio for two reasons. One is that we’ve gained a some knowledge about cattle ranching through our work with Teton Water’s Ranch in Idaho’s Teton Valley. That operation is in the process of rehabilitating an industrial potato farm and converting it to native grasslands for pasture-raised cattle. Think of sustainable ranching as a land use that employs domesticated cows to do what the bison did in the Yellowstone watershed before the second half of the 19th century.

The second connection is with our current work for Marin County Parks and Open Space. Some of the land designated as “Open Space” in Marin is also ranch land. In an era of budget cuts, we may have to make choices that could end up altering the physical identity of our Golden State. What will happen if more more ranch lands are subdivided into suburban ranchettes? Clearly ranching comes with its own set of environmental impacts, but so does sprawling development. As citizens of one of the nicest places on earth, we shouldn’t take our public lands and open spaces for granted.


QUEST on KQED Public Media.