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Ling He, Rangeland Specialist Awarded the Hugh Hammond Bennett Award for Conservation Excellence

Contacts: Zoe Husnick, Natural Resources Executive Assistant, NCPP, Jim Cairns, Public Affairs Specialist, USDA-NRCS California, Photo Credit: David Fenton & USDA-NRCS

Davis, Calif., February 15, 2022 – Ling He, a Rangeland Management Specialist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Alameda County, California, has been named the winner of the Conservation Planner 2021 Hugh Hammond Bennett Award for Conservation Excellence for her outstanding efforts as a conservation planner.

“I am surprised and excited to receive the [Hugh Hammond Bennett] award. Thanks to the National Conservation Planning Partnership for the recognition and high honor. I’m feeling humble and very grateful for the support and recognition from my agency [NRCS] and colleagues. To me, this award goes to all the people I work with, my NRCS and RCD colleagues, local conservation partners, as well as the producers,” says He.

He serves in Livermore, California, covering all of Alameda County in the east San Francisco Bay area. She has worked in the Livermore Local Partnership Office for thirteen years and has been a certified conservation planner for over eight years. She serves as the office lead for addressing rangeland and plant-related issues and also manages the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for multiple rangeland clients. In 2018, she became a Certified Rangeland Manager, a professional certification provided by the California-Pacific Section of the Society for Range Management (CalPac-SRM), further demonstrating her abilities in this field.

He spends much of her spare time hiking and exploring the beautiful open spaces of the Bay Area. Her personal interests ultimately benefit her professional accomplishments, as she knows the landscapes, the growth patterns of our local plant communities, and sees the changes throughout the years. She brings that enthusiasm and awareness to each of our clients, providing recommendations that help achieve their individual goals.

He frequently provides translation support to Chinese producers in neighboring counties, such as Santa Clara, San Benito, and San Francisco counties. She provided translation assistance to Chinese producers at multiple workshops cohosted by University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), Loma Prieta Regional Conservation District (RCD), and NRCS on Water Quality Regulation, Weed Management, and Nutrient Management. She volunteered to provide translation review for five program appendices that were translated into Chinese.

He is a member of the Monarch Plant Material Work Group and the East Bay Monarch Work Group. Her involvement contributes to high-quality technical assistance for NRCS clients in weed management, plant selection and establishment, monitoring of milkweed and nectar plantings, and general technical support for the Alameda County Conservation Partnership’s Monarch Program to help partners and ranchers increase habitat for this declining species.

He collaborates closely with the Alameda County Resource Conservation District on several annual monitoring projects and assists with complex vegetation-related projects. She led and completed vegetation and photo monitoring for four riparian restoration sites and has coordinated with clients and subcontractors on maintenance activities with adaptive management strategies. She has also assisted with educational projects for local students.

As part of a larger-scale effort to improve the access and utilization of public lands for grazing, He served as facilitator and technical expert during negotiations between a local water agency and their grazing lessee. She assisted with a review of the grazing lease agreements, interviews of agency staff, and literature reviews. Much of Alameda County’s viable rangeland is owned by public agencies and leased to private ranchers. Her efforts help to ensure fair and equitable processes which ultimately result in better management of these critical lands.

The Hugh Hammond Bennett Award is named in memory of soil conservation pioneer Hugh Hammond Bennett, the first Chief of the Soil Conservation Service (now NRCS) who led nationwide efforts to raise awareness about the critical importance of soil conservation and to help farmers recover after the Dust Bowl. Bennett believed that real and lasting change on the land comes from developing and following a conservation plan that is designed to meet the unique needs of that land and based on the available resources, natural resource concerns and producer’s goals.

NCPP was formed in 2015 to emphasize the critical role that conservation planning plays in advancing voluntary conservation efforts on private lands. NCPP consists of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Association of State Conservation Agencies, National Conservation District Employees Association and National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils. For more information about the NCPP, visit

Watch Ling He accept her award at the 2022 NACD Annual Meeting here: 2022 NACD Annual Meeting

Source: NRCS

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