Rangeland Economies for Rainfall Detention

If you own or manage California annual rangelands, there’s a very good chance those lands lie in watersheds feeding economically important, including overdrafted, groundwater basins, such as those for which Groundwater Sustainability Agencies have formed.  

Rainfall to Groundwater proposes shifting rangelands cover from annual to perennial, including woody, vegetation.  (See Rainfall to Groundwater Concepts, Context)  Given existing rangeland economies, such a shift would seem to mandate corresponding economic changes.  

And Rainfall to Groundwater offers some ideas on that.  

Captivating findings to date of scientists at the Jornada Experimental Range, a USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) site in Southern New Mexico, offer a window into one intriguing line of possibilities.

Please refer to the pages linked below for a suggestion of how this potential opportunity could play out in California.

Criollo Cattle?  

Livestock Appellations for California?

This course is intended to function as a catalytic collaboratory.  Rainfall to Groundwater intends only to get folks considering these options and sharing ideas in ways that can synergistically expedite their implementation.  

It will be up to rangeland owners/ managers, the academicians who support them, and the corresponding Groundwater Sustainability Agency funders to implement these concepts locally in ways that make the most sense to all concerned – given local ecohydrological and water economic realities.

In contrast to other Rainfall to Groundwater courses, this one requires no prerequisite – a synopsis of the basic principles (skipping over most of the supporting science) will be presented.  

A series of online go-at-your-own-pace learning modules will present basic information for consideration/ stimulation.  Idea exchange will occur via a private Rangeland Economies online forum, teleconferences and field trips.  Ideally, some enrollees will provide field trip venues.

Enrollment Includes: one year (renewable) subscription to the Rainfall to Groundwater Rangeland Economies private online forum; eight (two-hour) Rangeland Economies teleconferences (recorded for subsequent access), eligible for field trips.

Online video learning modules, estimated at 30-40 minutes each, will cover the following topics (at minimum).  Some topics will be covered in two video modules.  Feedback and input from early enrollees may result in expanded/ refined offerings.

  • Rainfall to Groundwater operative principles synopsis
  • Overview history and prehistory of California rangelands
  • Overview history of California’s cattle industry
  • Misconceptions applied to California rangelands
  • Overview of Criollo cattle research and documentation
  • Microsite environmental diversity of California watersheds
  • Rainfall to Groundwater rangeland restoration scenarios
  • How restoration of indigenous terroir could play out for livestock – cattle, goats, wild game, wild honey
  • Potential marketing of California livestock appellations – terroir/ romance, nutritional aspects, locovore & Paleo diets
  • Potential for developing “naturalized”  livestock lineages over time, further distinguishing appellations
  • Other economic options – materials for indigenous traditional, even modern, arts and crafts; textile dyes;  sustainable herb wildcrafting – medicinals;  potential financial support from nearby farmers for pollinator services, etc.
  • How to bring these possibilities to fruition?
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