Managing Resources. Provoking Thought.

Ranchers. Entrepreneurs. Environmentalists. Increasing biodiversity for a better ranch—and a better tomorrow.

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Experience from the high deserts of Texas to the Rocky Mountain West.

For 20 years, our family owned and managed Circle Ranch, 32,000 acres of high desert located in the Sierra Diablo Mountains of far-West Texas. Our goal? Leaving the land more diverse, and therefore healthier, than we found it.
We steward the resources in our care by considering delicate ecosystems as a whole. Looking at the big picture allows us to improve the land, the water and the wildlife in concert.
The hard-earned lessons of West Texas apply to the Rocky Mountain West.
Welcome to Pitchstone Waters, our newest living laboratory. Increasing biodiversity requires equal parts perspiration and inspiration. Join us as we manage the resources within our fence lines, but think beyond the box.

Alone in a New World With Vast Open Space, and Sheep

“ At Pitchstone Waters, our goat herders are seasonal workers from Peru.  

My Wild Land: Terry Creek Ranch – Trailer

  Al and Barb Johnson have witnessed the changing landscape of the West firsthand on their ranch, and in the surrounding area. Their land isn’t just home to a leased cattle operation, but also is […]

5,000 Years Later, Beavers Return to the High Plains

“The Brazos is the longest river in Texas. Beavers  were always found downstream. As discussed below, they are now colonizing the upper Brazos where dams have created large bodies of permanent water.  

Yellowstone and Grand Teton Park Attendance Falls Below 2021 & 2019

Contrary to the implications of the article below, the primary cause of 2022’s falling Yellowstone attendance is not road closures. Although some roads were closed in 2022, many miles that had been closed for 3-years […]

All About Moose for Kids

   The moose is the largest member of the deer family and one of the largest mammals in North America! With its distinctive antlers and unusual face, moose are easy to recognize! They live […]

Wolves 101

With their piercing looks and spine-tingling howls, wolves inspire both adoration and controversy around the world. Find out how many wolf species exist, the characteristics that make each wolf’s howl unique, and how the wolf […]

View all articles

Our Philosophy: wildlife and habitat only prosper when their ecosystem is in balance.

First at Circle Ranch and now at Pitchstone Waters, we manage by maximizing biodiversity. It’s good for production, it’s good for the bottom line and it’s good for the planet. In our world, we don’t label a species “good” or “bad.” We’ve come to understand all species can play a role in a healthy environment if—and it’s a big if—they are in balance.
Read our story

Holistic Management

Is a value-based decision-making framework that integrates all aspects of planning for social, economic and environmental considerations.

Industrial Agriculture

Efficiencies gained through chemical fertilizers and pesticides, allowing fewer people to produce more livestock and crops, intensifying and industrializing agriculture.

Institutions

Over time institutions—land grant universities, state and federal conservation agencies, NGOs and grassroots conservation organizations and big business—have become as inextricably linked as the ecosystems they explore, manage and regulate.

Invasive Species Biology

Since the beginning of time, species have spread and contracted their ranges. A variety of factors including weather and climate influenced their spread and movement.

Latest articles:

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Lose Grazing Animals, Gain Wildfires

“As discussed below, well-managed domestic cattle, bison, other livestock and grazing animals can restore ecosystems and biodiversity, upcycle grasses humans can’t eat into bioavailable nutrition, reduce wildfire risk, and help us create a better planet […]

Want to Fight the Feral Hog Problem in Texas? Start With $8k, a Helicopter and a Machine Gun.

“Feral pigs have become a problem for one reason: The food-safety agencies tasked to insure safe, wholesome, and affordable food have made them illegal to sell commercially. The commonsense solution is to put them back […]

Why Hunting is Necessary to the Health of Wildlife and Habitats

“Remarks by Christopher Gill to The International Order of St. Hubertus.   “If you have not adopted holistic thinking, you are part of the anti-hunting problem.”  

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Our Resources: the objective of biodiversity conservation is to maintain viable native animal and plant populations of all kind.

The complex issue of biodiversity encompasses virtually all plants and animals at genetic, species, community, and landscape scales. We provide resources and our working insights on the topic across the following areas.
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Fisheries

Fisheries, both freshwater and saltwater, serve as the proverbial canaries in the coal mine when it comes to water quality.

Rangelands

Rangelands act as nature’s factories, while also providing wildlife habitat and the viewsheds that lift the human spirit.

Forests

Native forests are as diverse as native rangelands or any other healthy ecosystem. Like rangelands, forests produce oxygen, sequester carbon, provide wildlife habitat and play a role in the water cycle.

Waterfowl

Waterfowl reflect the conditions of the land and the water across the North American continent. As they migrate from north to south and back again, they, depending on species, rely on a wide range of environments.

Livestock

Instead of being a threat, well-managed livestock can reinvigorate landscapes that have devolved into barren unproductivity, helping restore other essential ecological processes along the way.

Water Management

The quality and quantity of water available in America is directly correlated to the condition of the land.

Predators

When we look at nature’s big picture, we have to recognize the role predators play in the health of the natural world. True biodiversity must also include fangs and claws.

Wildlife

Wildlife are part of nature’s whole. To improve their future, we have to improve their habitat from the soil up.

Latest articles:

Read more about the topic areas listed above:

5,000 Years Later, Beavers Return to the High Plains

“The Brazos is the longest river in Texas. Beavers  were always found downstream. As discussed below, they are now colonizing the upper Brazos where dams have created large bodies of permanent water.  

All About Moose for Kids

   The moose is the largest member of the deer family and one of the largest mammals in North America! With its distinctive antlers and unusual face, moose are easy to recognize! They live […]

Wolves 101

With their piercing looks and spine-tingling howls, wolves inspire both adoration and controversy around the world. Find out how many wolf species exist, the characteristics that make each wolf’s howl unique, and how the wolf […]

View all related articles

Join us!

Follow along as we manage the resources within our fence lines, but think beyond the box.