The Rio Grande Basin Roundtable approves conservation easement request for the Haywood Ranch

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From the Del Norte Prospector (Stan Moyer):

More than 37 percent would be put up by a combination of $25,000 from the local Roundtable and $400,000 from the CWCB’s Water Supply Reserve Account (WSRA).

Focusing on the 400-acre Haywood Ranch, it was noted that the owners “contribute through a charitable portion of the value of of their conservation easement — in this project, an estimated value of $400,000.

“The land and water are available for the long term, and the environmental and recreational water benefits are sustained in perpetuity,” according to the application submitted by the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT). Nancy Butler is executive director of the Del Norte-based organization…

The potential catch in the creation of the conservation easement is that the Roundtable proposal for funding is contingent on receipt of about $300,000 in funding coming from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), to meet the total estimated purchase costs of $1.125 million…

Among theses benefits are the “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recently produced habitat maps that show the Haywood Ranch as being within a zone of irreplaceable habitat,” including quite likely the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher and the Yellow Billed Cuckoo, which are in the Rio Grande Water Conservation District (RGWCD)’s effort to create a “Habitat Conservation Plan.”

The application emphatically details the importance of the success of the easement in protecting wildlife:

The project parcel submitted is within the Rio Grande’s floodplain and includes approximately 2/10 of a mile of the river, 160 acres of important wetlands and the No.1 senior water right on the river that sustains them. Riparian areas and wetlands along the river corridor provide highly important habitat for Haywood Ranch wins Roundtable nodall the area’s wildlife and several endangered species.

More IBCC — basin roundtables coverage here.

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