WERA_OLD1008: Rangelands West Partnership
Statement of Issues and JustificationRangelands are the most extensive class of lands in the eleven western states (about 70% of the land area) and are also important in the Great Plains states. These lands provide many ecological services including forage production, wildlife habitat, watersheds, and recreation. Rangelands that are managed by federal and state agencies are commonly used by livestock operators as a critical component to whole ranch systems, complementing privately owned lands. One of the issues in the management and conservation of these lands is the ability of state land-grant universities to provide quality information and support through the Internet. As more people use the Internet for their first line, if not main source, of information, land-grant universities have the obligation to ensure that there is a source of credible information on the management and conservation of rangelands. This requires collaboration between subject, information, and technology experts. The Rangelands West Partnership http://rangelandswest.org/ has been meeting for the past four years and involves a collaboration of rangeland specialists and agricultural and natural resource librarians from 19 western land-grant universities. This partnership is currently building a comprehensive web resource for rangelands information as part of the Agriculture Network Information Center (AgNIC) initiative. The proposed formation of the WCC is to formalize and facilitate this land-grant university partnership in the implementation and maintenance of state and regional web portals relevant to rangelands.
The general mission of the partnership is to provide researchers, educators, and public and private land managers with electronic access to the full scope of information in the field of rangeland ecology, management, and conservation. This is accomplished by collecting, creating, evaluating, and organizing relevant data, information, and educational modules.
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