In the last two months, RiGHT protected the Rocky River Ranch west of Del Norte, the Howard Lester Ranch outside of Monte Vista and the Clark Ranch south of Alamosa.
These projects are a continuation of the local land trust’s Rio Grande Initiative, an ambitious effort to protect private land along the river corridor through voluntary, incentive-based conservation easements.
Collectively these ranches contain irrigated fields, wet meadows and prime farmland soils. Their protection helps keep land and water dedicated to agriculture, one of the core pieces of our local economy and the way of life we enjoy here in the Valley. These ranches also protect the cottonwoods and willows along the banks of the Rio Grande, which provide vital habitat for migratory songbirds, raptors, waterfowl and waterbirds, mule deer, elk and many other wildlife species. Equally as important, conservation of these lands protects the scenic views that both residents and visitors treasure here in the San Luis Valley…
Funding for these projects came from a variety of resources, including lottery-funded Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the Conservation Resource Center and the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife’s San Luis Valley Habitat Partnership Program Committee.
These projects would not be possible without the dedication and generosity of the landowners who are protecting what they love about the San Luis Valley for future generations. “Thanks to their vision and commitment to conservation, we are helping ensure that the San Luis Valley we love today will still be here tomorrow,” commented RiGHT’s Executive Director, Nancy Butler.
While RiGHT works with landowners throughout the entire San Luis Valley, they have a special focus on protecting land and water resources in the Rio Grande corridor through the Rio Grande Initiative. RiGHT began the Initiative in 2007 in partnership with Ducks Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy. At the outset, there were 6,000 acres protected between 1986 and 2006.