Our Philosophy

Biodiversity = sustainability.

To date scientists have described 1.7 million of the world's species of animals, plants, insects and algae—and they’ve not all been described…or discovered. The number, while vast, is less important than the point it makes: nature requires diversity.

Ecosystems and food chains are intricately woven from a wide variety of plants, animals and soil life that have evolved and adapted to their specific location. Diversity of life, known as biodiversity, provides an insurance policy against uncertainty. For instance, a drought descends. Some plants can tolerate the intermittent dryness better than others. Those that do continue to provide food and cover during the extreme period, helping sustain the wildlife.

Biodiversity also ensure necessary relationships exist. Pollinators and plants. Predators and prey. Even legumes and nitrogen fixing bacteria in the soil. When those vital relationships function optimally, the overall health of the attendant ecosystem is elevated.

Biodiversity minimizes risk and increases sustainability. A monoculture, whether in production agriculture or in a pasture of introduced grass, is a weak link in life’s chain. A single disease. A single catastrophe. A single drought can wipe it from the earth’s face without a replacement.

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.

As a result, we focus on the big picture. We truthfully assess where the land and the wildlife are now, using proven scientific methods and ongoing observation to ground our findings in truth. Then, we determine where we want the land and the wildlife to be in the future, striking a balance between the needs of the species as well as ecological and economic necessity.

Holistic management, the process of looking at the whole picture, is not a quick fix but a series of slow, measured steps toward healthier and better. Quite honesty, there are often missteps along the way. The beauty of paying close attention, though, is that you notice things going wrong before permanent damage is done.

Nature didn’t put all of her biological eggs in one basket—and neither do we.

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.

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.

Restoring Bison at the American Prairie Reserve

Buffalo were the keystone grazing animals of the American Great Plains. At the American Prairie Reserve in Northeastern Montana, the plan is to recreate the world’s largest bison herd.   NOTE: this post was origibnally […]

See Why the Mysterious Mountain Lion Is the ‘Bigfoot’ of Big Cats

Much like the legendary Bigfoot or Yeti, the elusive mountain lion has also acquired its own mythical status.   

Securing a Future for Wolves in the West

Another excellent article by the Property and Environmental Research Center (PERC) the free market conservation think tank based in Bozeman.   This one is about how to address people and livelihoods while achieving the essential ecological […]

The Sounds of Elk

Most Texas elk hunters must draw permits in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico etc., pay many thousands of dollars and travel out of state for a chance to hunt free-ranging trophy elk. Yet, elk are native […]

The Life and Legend of America’s Most Famous Wild Horse

Picasso is a nearly 30-year-old pinto who still roams free in the Sand Wash Basin in northwestern Colorado.   

Grand Teton Cull Ends With 58 Mt. Goats Killed, Primarily in Park’s North End

According to the article below, the National Park Service (NPS) has decided to exterminate wild mountain goats in the Teton-Yellowstone Parks because they (1) are non-native, (2) “compete” with bighorn and (3) might infect them […]

Restoration of Beaver in Arizona’s San Pedro River

Beavers are a keystone species in desert ecosystems. See how beaver restoration is healing a degraded Arizona river and its Mexican tributaries.   NOTE: this post was originally published to this site on May 28, […]

It Began as a Tool to Save Wild Elk. A Century Later, Feeding Threatens Iconic Herds

Here is a Washington Post article on the CWD threat from elk feeding. The paper says CWD was “identified” 50-years ago. The ‘rest of the story’ is that the  “identification” occurred in a Colorado state […]

‘A Barbaric Federal Program’: US Killed 1.75m Animals Last Year – or 200 Per Hour

As reported below, the federal “war on wildlife” is alive and well.  

Gulleys for Desert Grassland Restoration #2

Using a gulley to create a riparian meadow in the desert.   NOTE: this post was originally published to this site on May 31, 2017      To see another example of this practice, […]

Rangeland Restoration: Subsoil Contour Plowing at Circle Ranch, in far-West Texas

Subsoil contour plowing is an excellent way to increase water absorption in the desert grasslands of far-West Texas and Southern New Mexico. The effectiveness of the practice is shown in these before-and-after comparisons.  

Chihuahuas and Keyline

“Chichuahuas and Keyline” explains Chocolate the Keyline Dog’s take on contour subsoil plowing.   NOTE: this post was originally published to this site on September 13, 2017.  

Gulleys for Grassland Restoration: #7 Best Equipment

When we divert rainstorm runoff from eroding gulleys to restore desertifying canyons and grasslands, what are the best equipment & practices? Our conclusions might surprise you.   NOTE: this post was originally published to this […]

The Once-Extinct Aurochs May Soon Roam Europe Again

According to the article below, restoring large wild grazers like bison and aurochs (wild giant cattle) will enhance the health of European forests.   Quoting the authors, “By disrupting forest growth, these mammals created varied […]

Gulleys for Grassland Restoration #5: Upper Pennel Canyon at Circle Ranch

Using a mountain gulley for erosion control and desert grassland restoration at Circle Ranch in far-West Texas.   NOTE: this post was originally published to this site on August 14, 2017.   

Using an Eroded Gulley to Recreate a Wet Meadow

This video, #8, is a companion piece to #3 in the series. It shows how Fred’s Dam works during a rain, how the redirected water has created a seasonal wet meadow, what is happening to […]

Grazing to Promote Riparian Health on a Private Ranch in Nevada

On this Nevada ranch, cattle numbers were tripled under planned grazing, with transformational results.   NOTE: this post was originally published to this site on August 4, 2017 

The Magic of Cow Manure

Animal wastes from confinement feed operations, trapped in giant lagoons, are an environmental disaster. The putrid lagoons and manure piles are rightly criticized for pollution and increasing atmospheric methane. They also poison groundwater and streams […]

Drought Busters 101

“Drought Busters” is an inexpensive, quick, physiologically and economically sustainable method of habitat and wildlife restoration. We call it Drought Busters because it increases effective rainfall by rebuilding soil fertility and the soil’s ability to […]

Gulleys for Grassland Restoration #3

Eroded galleys can be used to restore desertifying grasslands – alongside creosote bush –  without chemicals. Third in a series filmed at Circle Ranch in far-West Texas.   NOTE: this post was originally published to this […]

Keyline 101: Desert Grassland Restoration

This 18-minute video explains how we use P.A. Yeomans’ Keyline concepts to improve water function at our family’s 32,000-acre Circle Ranch in the Chihuahuan high-desert grasslands of far-West Texas. The Keyline explanation is followed by […]