Western Ranch Management and Ecosystem Stewardship

What We Do

The Western Ranch Management and Ecosystem Stewardship Program, hosted by the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University, is a developing academic and research initiative aimed at addressing today’s challenges of ranching in a rapidly changing world. Our program is founded on understanding the diverse ecosystems that define western landscapes, and the natural resources and processes that support ranching communities. We work closely with ranch owners, managers and stakeholders to identify education and research needs specific to the Rocky Mountain West. Ranches serve as the classroom and laboratory so students can learn by hands-on experience, interact with practitioners, and see first-hand the strategies used to keep working lands sustainable.

Support higher education, applied research and professional development for future generations of ranchers, producers and land stewards through experiential learning and engagement in the Rocky Mountain West.

Promote sustainable ranching practices through traditional and contemporary approaches that support our forests, rangelands, wildlife and water while fostering livelihoods and strengthening the resilience of working landscapes.


  • Information Session on March 28

    Join us for an information session about the program on March 28 from noon – 1 PM in room 243 of the Michael Smith Natural Resources Building. Come to learn about the summer field course, the masters degree, scholarships, and applied research projects. Pizza lunch provided.

  • Summer 2024 Field Course Now Open for Registration

    Registration is now open for the 2024 Ranch Management and Stewardship Field Course (NR 536). The course will run from July 17 – 26 and July 31- Aug 9, hosted at a wide range of ranches in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. The course is open both to CSU students as well as those who are not CSU students. We welcome graduate students as well as junior and senior undergraduate students. More information about this class can be found on the Education page.

  • Scholarships Available for Students Enrolling to Start Master’s Program Summer 2024

    Four, $5,000 scholarships are available for students enrolling to begin the Western Ranch Management and Ecosystem Stewardship Masters Specialization in summer 2024. Students must apply by April 30 to be considered for this scholarship. See the Education page for more information about applying.

  • WRMES Partners with Jemez Pueblo and The Nature Conservancy to Explore Applications of Virtual Fencing

    Researchers at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory have recently launched a four-year project working with Jemez Pueblo Natural Resource Department to improve management and conservation of range and water resources using new virtual fencing technologies. Funded by The Nature Conservancy, the project aims to strengthen resilience of natural resources and biodiversity in light of recent droughts.

  • WRMES Research Team Awarded $1 million NASA Grant to Advance Remote Sensing Tools for Ranch Management

    The NASA Acres consortium is NASA’s U.S. focused agriculture program. The research team from the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory is working with ranchers and associated organizations in the arid Western U.S. to understand the most impactful opportunities for remote sensing to support rangeland management and developing use cases for the application of remote sensing to rangeland and ranch management.