The Conservation Fund Protects Funnel Bottleneck On The Path Of The Pronghorn

February 1, 2010

pronghorn running

Pronghorn antelope. Photo by Mark Gocke/USDA/Flickr

Sublette County, WY — The Conservation Fund announced today a conservation easement on the only unprotected bottleneck along the “Path of the Pronghorn”—one of the longest land mammal migration routes in North America.

The conservation easement protects the northernmost 2,400 acres of Carney Ranch, located at the head of the Upper Green River Valley in Sublette County, by preventing future development of the land and ensuring its sound management. The Conservation Fund purchased the easement from the Carney family, which will continue to own the land and operate it as a working ranch as it has since 1963.

“This project protects the pronghorn and a working cattle ranch—two icons of the American West,” said Luke Lynch, Wyoming state director for The Conservation Fund. “The Carney Ranch and the entire Upper Green River Valley boast some of the highest quality habitat and open space in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and we thank the numerous partners for continuing to support the conservation of this important landscape for future generations. The Carney family made a significant donation to make this possible—we applaud the three generations of family members for their major commitment to conservation.”

“This easement achieves one of the long-term goals that my father, Otis Carney, had when they first fell in love with this valley in 1963,” said John Carney, president of Carney Ranch Company. “To see this pristine land preserved for posterity was his dream. He would be very pleased at this outcome. By using the funds to help purchase the historic DC Bar Guest Ranch, we achieved another family goal of adding to the base ranch and consolidating our holding there.”

The Conservation Fund purchased the easement using funding from the Acres for America program, a partnership established between Walmart Stores, Inc. and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

“Conserving land and managing natural resources further supports our larger goal to bring sustainability into the communities we serve,” said Matt Kistler, Walmart’s senior vice president for sustainability. “By helping preserve animal migration routes, the Carney Ranch project aligns with the Acres for America program.”

“Acres for America is a monument to the nation that continues to grow,” said Jeff Trandahl, the executive director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. “It bears testament to the great accomplishments that follow the convergence of corporate social responsibility and conservation innovation.”

Jonah Interagency Office (JIO), Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative, the Wyoming Wildlife & Natural Resources Trust and The Nature Conservancy, through a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, provided additional funding for the easement. In addition, the landowners made a significant donation to the project.

“I want to applaud the efforts of the JIO, The Conservation Fund and others involved in completing this project,” said Steve Ferrell, director of Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “This mitigation project will conserve and enhance habitat for sagebrush-dependent species potentially affected by development of the Jonah Field.”

“The Jonah Interagency Office is honored to be a major funder of this prized conservation project, especially considering its permanent protection of a critical pronghorn migration route and other immeasurable wildlife values,” said Jim Lucas, project coordinator for JIO.

Carney Ranch covers a large portion of the bottleneck, one of only three bottlenecks along the 200-mile route stretching from Grand Teton National Park in northwest Wyoming to the Rock Springs area in southwest Wyoming. Protecting Carney Ranch has been a high priority for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, as it provides habitat for 75 Species of Greatest Conservation Need – one of the highest counts ever recorded in the state, contains more than three miles of frontage of the Green River and lies adjacent to the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

The Conservation Fund and a host of partners launched the Upper Green River Valley Initiative in 2008 to conserve and enhance key wildlife habitat and agricultural lands in that special valley. To date, The Conservation Fund has worked with numerous public and private partners to conserve over 8,000 acres of private land and enhance over 90,000 acres of public lands, including key migration routes, miles of river frontage, sage grouse lek sites and crucial winter range for moose, elk, mule deer and pronghorn.

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than 7 million acres across America.