Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
ARCATA: California Rancher Steve Hackett Wins Partners for Fish and Wildlife Award
California-Nevada Offices , October 30, 2007
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Rancher Steve Hackett delivers remarks during the national Partners for Fish and Wildlife conference Oct. 30, 2007 in Oklahoma City. (Photo: USFWS)
Rancher Steve Hackett delivers remarks during the national Partners for Fish and Wildlife conference Oct. 30, 2007 in Oklahoma City. (Photo: USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a

By Paula Golightly, Arcata Fish & Wildlife Office

Steve Hackett, a well-known rancher in the Lower Eel River Valley of northern California, was the Region 8 (CNO) winner of the 20th Anniversary Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program Award.  Hackett was presented with the award at the national conference and meeting of the Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) Program October 29-31 in Oklahoma City.  Hackett and his family own and manage the Howe Creek Ranch, a 3,600-acre cattle and sheep ranch that has been in his family for generations.

Hackett has been a participating in the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program since 2001, working with Paula Golightly and Greg Gray at the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office. He is a strong supporter of the program and says he was thrilled at the opportunity to travel to Oklahoma City and talk about his experiences with the Fish and Wildlife Service program.  In his presentation to the more than 300 Service employees in attendance, Hackett spoke about having difficulty in the past working through a multi-agency regulatory process following the listing of the northern spotted owl in the early 1990s.  By the time all of the involved agencies had new guidelines in place, several years had elapsed and the Hackett ranch was was in need of determining a new range of options for future management of the property.  Hackett began his work with the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in Arcata as he worked to obtain a conservation easement on his property.  Together with California Department of Fish and Game, the Service funded one of the very first restoration projects using Partners for Fish and Wildlife funds.

Through the success of this project Hackett became a strong supporter of the program, and its pro-active non-regulatory approach.  During his talk in Oklahoma City, Hackett emphasized that the PFW biologists and the program had the right approach to working with private landowners and encouraged everyone to keep doing what they were doing.  He also said the people in this program were key to making it work for private landowners.  Judging by their reaction, his words and message were well received by the crowd.

Hackett has worked tirelessly to conserve habitat for fish and wildlife, and at the same time works to preserve the culture of working landscapes.  His accomplishments include the development of conservation easements on more than 10,000 acres of ranch lands as part of an effort he initiated called the Six Rivers to the Sea Project.  He continues work to secure funding for several thousand additional acres of land to be placed into conservation easements.  These easements are not only important for fish and wildlife but critical for landowners to keep their land un-fragmented and still in the family.  

Hackett has also developed and implemented countless restoration projects focused on improving streams and riparian areas for federally-listed anadromous fish and other sensitive species.  Many of these projects were partially funded by the Partners Program at Arcata.

Steve Hackett has shown great enthusiasm for improving habitat, and is a strong advocate for the Partners program.  His work has contributed to the success of the program in a remote California landscape where large tracts of undeveloped land are privately owned and the opportunities to conserve and improve habitat make for significant partnership


Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov
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