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Sadle Cattle Co. receives conservation award

December 20, 2017 GMT

Sadle Cattle Co. is the 2017 recipient of the Keith-Arthur Counties Conservation Award.

For 37 years, the Twin Platte Natural Resources District has presented the award to landowners who show passion and dedication to preserving, protecting and improving the land, according to a press release.

The ranch sits on land near Paxton purchased by Bill Sadle in the late 1920s. It became Sadle Cattle Co. in 1975 after Bill’s son, Byron, incorporated the ranch. It is now owned by Bill’s granddaughter, Shari, and her husband, Chuck Flaming.

Shari and Chuck have spent years working on conservation and restoration projects on the land. Although he doesn’t hunt ducks or geese himself (“But I do enjoy hunting deer!”), Chuck Flaming said his favorite improvement is reclaiming wetlands for waterfowl. Sadle Cattle Co. has been instrumental to many such projects.

The first restoration project was an old slough along the North Platte River. It took many years to complete, but the area now has three ponds that contain islands for nesting birds.

“I remember years where we had no geese in our valley,” Flaming said.

Now the area hosts approximately 75 Canada geese each spring.

Among the Flamings’ many other projects are more reclaimed sloughs, redeveloped ditches and newly established ponds.

Flaming said the projects have taken a lot of time and work, but it’s always beneficial.

“Once you establish wetlands, you don’t just walk away,” he said. “It’s a process that keeps a guy busy. If you start something, you have to manage it.”

Flaming said it’s a process where if he sees an area that might work, he’ll consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department, and if they say it’s doable, work can begin.

He said working with Fish and Wildlife has been great. He appreciates their help and insight.

“They’re good people with good ideas,” he said.

He also wanted to thank Linda and Ivan of Regier Land Improvement. He said Regier has done all of the work on his land moving materials to make the habitat look natural.

“They are the best, bar none,” he said.

Regier also sponsored this year’s award.

Flaming said he never thought they would win an award for their efforts.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” he said. “We didn’t do the work — and it ended up being a lot of work — to win any awards. We did it because it’s something worth doing, and this is just a bonus.”

Shari, he said, now suffers from Alzheimer’s, but she would be proud to receive the award.

“She was always involved, we were a team,” he said. “If she could understand, she would be so pleased.”

Flaming said it has been a blessing and a challenge to make the lands better. He said they have the resources to improve the wetland and it’s been a lot of fun.

“Financially, it doesn’t make any sense,” he said, laughing. “But it’s a joy for me to observe wildlife. Seeing the birds and their babies as they come through, it’s a beautiful sight.”