FRIANT, Calif. (AP) — Across the nation, conservation groups in partnership with ranchers are using cattle to restore native plant species. Others are working with fishermen to protect ocean habitat, and using logging and mining profits to pave way for forest restoration.
Experts say there's been a shift to working more with industries once seen as harmful by environmentalists. The use of conservation easements to retire development rights on private working land has also exploded.
In the Fresno area, the Sierra Foothill Conservancy is raising its own beef herd. The conservation group uses cattle grazing to benefit the environment and to improve its bottom line.
Other conservationists are teaming up with private timber investors to acquire quality habitat that doubles as timberland. They're also leasing fishing permits to fishermen who agree to fish sustainably.
Critics say such practices can damage the land and destroy wild, undisturbed habitat.