North Forty Ranch Conservation Easement

North Forty Ranch Conservation Easement

17.46 acres donated on June 23, 2010.
Conservation Values protected:

  • Agricultural Open Space: The property has an agricultural history dating back to the early part of last century; it has been used for growing and harvesting hay and/or pasture for livestock for almost 90 years. Currently the landowner has an agreement with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to limit grazing on the property.
  • Scenic Open Space: This undeveloped property is very scenic along the Fraser River corridor and wetlands. It can be viewed by the public from Highway 40 and County Road 83. The property is directly south of two other easements held by Colorado Headwaters Land Trust and a third easement held by Grand County, creating together about 600 acres of conserved land.
  • Wildlife Habitat: This property provides habitat for migratory songbirds, waterfowl, birds of prey, small mammals and large mammals. The Fraser River is well known for its trout fishery, including a robust population of macro invertebrates and small prey-base fish, including sculpin.
  • Wetlands and River Corridor: The primary conservation value of this property is the Fraser River and its associated riparian corridor and high quality wetlands. Although the flow of the Fraser River has substantially decreased from upstream withdrawals by Denver Water, City and County of Denver, the Fraser River is a critical water source in Grand County and has been declared, by American Rivers, as one of America’s most endangered rivers. The river corridor is vital to the Fraser Valley, carrying water from high elevations to downstream habitats and communities. The riparian wetlands protect the river by absorbing flood flows, capturing sediment and processing nutrients, and then releasing shallow groundwater back to the river during low flows. The river corridor has historically been subject to overgrazing, which reduced wildlife values and threatened water quality. Recent efforts along the river, including the easement donor’s efforts to enhance fishery habitat and limit grazing to a sustainable cycle, are having positive effects on the river corridor. The landowners have participated in three river and riparian wetland improvement projects; this conservation easement is part of the third project where the landowner partnered with Rendezvous Colorado and Grand Environmental Services in a wetland enhancement project.