Audubon Conservation Ranching Program

Since 1970, North American grassland birds have suffered the greatest decline in population – nearly 80% for some species – due to a combination of factors resulting from habitat loss and fragmentation. In the United States alone, 360 million acres of grassland habitat have been lost to agricultural conversion and tree encroachment.

Despite the steep decline in both bird habitat and population, efforts to conserve and improve existing habitat have proven successful. One of these efforts, Audubon’s Conservation Ranching initiative (ACR), aims to increase the resiliency of existing privately-owned grassland habitat by working with ranchers. Ranchers implement management practices that improve bird habitat in exchange for a certification that their beef or bison is “grazed on bird-friendly land”.

By receiving the certification, Audubon incentivizes ranchers to both improve rangeland quality and access market opportunities.

ACR in Alameda County

In Alameda County, rangeland and woodland cover approximately 500,000 acres, with a reported 135,000 acres managed as either range or pasture. Since 2022, Alameda County RCD has partnered with Audubon California to work with ranchers in the county to participate in the ACR program, acting as Audubon’s local partner.

ACRCD works with ranchers to:

  • Assess rangeland quality and fit with ACR
  • Develop a habitat management plan (free for ranchers)
  • Provide technical assistance
  • Conduct monitoring once ranches are certified

If you are interested in learning more about the program or would like to enroll, contact:

Owen Sowerwine – [email protected]


Looking to support conservation efforts with your purchasing power? Click HERE for information on where to buy beef or bison certified by the Audubon Conservation Ranching program


Audubon California – (Audubon Conservation Ranching)
Private landowners