Section Awards

Outstanding Contribution to Range Management
2009 Recipient:  Mike McMurry

Mike McMurry

The Outstanding Contribution to Range Management award is the highest honor we bestow on one of our own. The OCRM award has been given each year for the past 50 years.

This year's recipient has been making outstanding contributions to our profession for many years. You may have seen him at meetings, field days, seminars, workshops, but probably not on center stage. He is not one to grab headlines or seek the spotlight. His MO is to work quietly, persistently and effectively, mostly behind the scenes. His primary skills and leadership lie in forging relationships, building partnerships, and initiating teamwork. The results have been widespread and successful, demonstrating the value of teamwork and synergism.

He was born and raised not too far from here in the Spring Branch community, when it was still rural. It was here that he developed a love of the land and a passion for conservation. He graduated with honors from Texas Tech in 1970. In the 39 years since that time, he has worn several different hats. He worked for TPWD for several years in South Texas. He worked for University Lands in West Texas, where he helped manage 133 grazing leases and worked with wildlife management and oil field development on 2 million acres.

Then he went to work for the San Pedro Ranch in Dimmitt County for the next 14 years as General Manager. In this position, he supervised and managed all aspects of the ranch operation. During these years, he learned the practical aspects of range management, conservation and land stewardship in the context of a working ranch.

In 1991, he went to work for the Texas Department of Agriculture where he is currently employed in the Pesticide Division. He has become one of the leading voices for compatible management of livestock grazing, riparian health and endangered species in Texas. He continually works for win - win solutions to potentially divisive issues.

He has worked to bring people together who sometimes don't trust or understand each other. He has worked with the Central Texas Cattleraisers to implement an aggressive program of cowbird trapping for the benefit of the black-capped vireo. He was instrumental in getting hundreds of landowners and contractors trained and certified to conduct compatible brush control in GCW areas. He has worked with EPA, landowner groups and other agencies to get approval to treat salt cedar along the Pecos River.

His contributions encompass an amazing scope of diversity. He serves on the NRCS State Technical Committee as well as the State Prescribed Burn Board and the Upland Game Bird Technical Committee. He has worked with a number of wildlife management associations bringing together his expertise in range and wildlife management. He has been active in HRM of Texas and the training of landowners and agencies in the principles of holistic management.

Joseph Fitzsimons, owner of San Pedro Ranch states: "Our family is deeply indebted to Mike McMurry for taking our conservation intent and turning it into practice". This is what characterizes this year's recipient of the OCRM award - working for the benefit of others and working for the betterment of rangeland and natural resources.

TSSRM honors the 2009 recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Rangeland Management, Mike McMurry. We are all indebted to you and we thank you for your hard work on behalf of rangelands and the people who use them.


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