Excellence in Range Management – 2017 – John and Lynne Breese

Lifelong Oregonians, John and Lynne represent the best in who and what we in the Pacific Northwest hold dear. The Breeses are among the pillars of the Pacific Northwest Section, Society for Range Management. They have proved, time and time again, how committed and dedicated they are to the betterment of the land and to the people associated with it.

John’s ancestors homesteaded the land on which they live and work. Lynne’s family was involved in the OSU research community, where her dad was the superintendent of the Malheur Field Station in Ontario.

Following college, a stint in the US Army as a helicopter pilot in Viet Nam, and early careers in teaching and extension, John and Lynne returned to the ranch where daunting tasks lay ahead. The Breese Ranch in central Oregon is in the heart of the Intermountain West and the “epicenter” of Western Juniper expansion.

Western Juniper responds quickly into an ecological void created by the prevention of fire in the course of events germane to this region. In the one hundred plus years since homesteading and fire prevention measures, this sagebrush/steppe region had turned into a juniper woodland. In order to restore the ecological balance of the land, John and Lynne have worked for decades to control juniper with a surrogate to fire—a hand held chainsaw and lopping shears! Since fire carries its own package of dangers (legal, ecological, and smoke-related), this labor intensive method of weed control was the method of choice. After decades of hard work, the Breese properties look like the area would have a century ago. Shrubs and grasses dominate the meadows and rolling hills. Meadows are green and support a variety of native, hydric vegetation. Wildlife, both watchable and big game, flourish and a sustainable beef product has been made possible.

In addition to this wonderful restoration of the vegetation, John and Lynne have launched an active—and successful– campaign against invasive, non-native weeds and grasses .

In addition to the above, they are fully committed to their community and to the education of the next generation. The Breeses have hosted numerous educational tours and programs for decades. Notable among these have been a series of Nan’s Weekends; Oregon State University rangeland tours; Central Oregon Community College tours and workshops; High School tours and workshops; and OSU Master Natural Resource Training workshops. They also give generously to several local watershed and woodland association programs in Crook County.

The Society for Range Management is their “home” professional society. Within the PNW Section they are known as movers and shakers, dedicated to the advancement of the Society and those associated with it. Their efforts have been recognized through a number of awards the PNW is authorized to bestow. John and Lynne Breese represent the best which land managers and the PNW have to offer.   The Section is pleased to present them with the 2017 Excellence in Range Management Award!