Mike Sauber by Mike Hudak
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An Experience with the Quivira Coalition
Before moving to New Mexico in 1978, Mike Sauber had given little thought to livestock grazing. His interest markedly increased, though, when he found that New Mexico’s open-range law left his market garden vulnerable to invasion by hungry bovines. Years later, when the US Forest Service planned to construct earthen water tanks in nearby wilderness areas to benefit cattle rancher Kit Laney, Sauber and his partner, Susan Schock, formed the environmental organization Gila Watch to oppose the project.

Author Dan Dagget has touted the riparian habitat along the Gila River as it flows across the U Bar Ranch in southwestern New Mexico as possibly the healthiest in North America. The region is home to a flourishing population of Southwestern Willow Flycatchers as well as two species of threatened fish. In June 2001, the Quivira Coalition, an organization that promotes “sustainable ranching” held a weekend workshop in Silver City, NM, that included a tour of this riparian area. In this video, Mike Sauber recounts his experience of attending that workshop and the visit to the U Bar Ranch. He reveals that there’s more to the story of this healthy riparian area than ranching advocates have publicly acknowledged.

Recorded in July 2003. This video is an excerpt from Mike Sauber’s interview in Western Turf Wars: The Politics of Public Lands Ranching.