Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Nature Conservancy Acquires Henry's Lake Conservation Easement

The Nature Conservancy has announced the purchase of a 160-acre conservation easement on a working cattle ranch in the Henry’s Lake area. The easement is the latest in the Conservancy’s Henry’s Lake Ranchland Protection Project, with the goal of protecting wildlife habitat and working ranches in one of the fastest growing areas in the region.

The easement is on the Pearson Ranch, a working cattle ranch located at the foot of the Henry’s Lake Mountains west of Henry’s Lake. The ranch borders the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and provides important habitat for big game species including moose, elk, mule deer and pronghorn. The easement also protects .5 miles of Duck Creek, which is used by Yellowtone cutthroat trout for spawning.

Conservation easements—also commonly referred to as conservation protection agreements—are voluntary, legal agreements that allow the owners to continue traditional uses of the land while protecting wildlife habitat from development in perpetuity.

The easement was funded by the congressionally appropriated Land and Water Conservation Fund and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. The Nature Conservancy worked with partners including the Bureau of Land Management and the Teton Regional Land Trust.

The Bureau of Land Management will hold the conservation easement.

“This property is an excellent addition to the conservation work that has already occurred around Henry’s Lake,” says Chet Work, Conservancy spokesperson for East Idaho. “The Nature Conservancy is thankful for the generosity of the Pearson family. Without the foresight of landowners like the Pearsons, much of the land surrounding Henry’s Lake would already be developed. Instead we will have working landscapes and wildlife habitat for future generations to enjoy.”

The Nature Conservancy and its conservation partners have protected more than 4000 acres on 14 ranches through conservation easements and the Henry’s Lake Ranchland Protection Project. The Conservancy also owns the Flat Ranch Preserve on the Henry’s Lake Flats, open to the public for fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing. The Henry’s Lake area is considered by the Conservancy to be vitally important for the migrations of Yellowstone’s famous wildlife, including moose, pronghorn, elk and grizzly bear.

“The Henry’s Lake area is loved by so many people for its open spaces, rural character and abundant wildlife,” says Work. “Conservation easements help protect what is so special about this place. Easements offer a means to balance the traditional ranching economy, outdoor recreation and wildlife habitat.”

No comments: