Persistence On The Path

November 4, 2011

pronghorn running

Pronghorn running. Photo by Mark Gocke/USDA/Flickr. 

Land Preservation Agreement Enhances Protection for Pronghorn Migration Route in Western Wyoming

Pinedale, Wyo. — Today, The Conservation Fund announced the permanent protection of 1,000 acres along the Path of the Pronghorn—the longest land mammal migration route in the continental United States. A conservation easement will secure the natural resources and habitats on Carney Ranch Company lands within the Pronghorn Funnel Migration Bottleneck at the head of the Upper Green River Valley.

Located amidst some of the most ecologically important lands in the southern part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the conserved properties will successfully link significant wildlife habitat between the Bridger-Teton National Forest and other privately protected areas while continuing to be used as working ranchlands. Featuring a variety of habitat including 25 glacial-pothole wetland ponds and more than two miles of frontage on the Green River, the lands provide ideal seasonal habitat for elk, moose, mule deer, Greater Sage-grouse and trumpeter swan.

“This project provides a key link for wildlife and creates a 6,000-acre contiguous block of privately-conserved lands,” said Luke Lynch, Wyoming state director for The Conservation Fund. “We’re thankful for the broad suite of supporters who made this possible, helping to ensure that one of the most sensitive migratory bottlenecks along this significant migration route will be protected from development and habitat fragmentation.”

“Our family has watched the pressures of civilization impact this valley since 1963,” said John Carney, president of Carney Ranch Company. “The persistent effort of The Conservation Fund has helped our large extended family to realize my parents’ dream to preserve this beautiful place. We are grateful to be able to leave this ranch as part of our legacy for the future.”

The Conservation Fund purchased the easement with support from the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), a federal program managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that provides matching funds for the purchase of agricultural easements on land. The matched funds were strategically provided by Jonah Interagency Office the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, through a grant from the Turner Foundation. The landowners also made a significant donation to this project.

“Conservation easements like this keep ranchers in Wyoming working on their properties, maintaining the economic viability of these lands while securing critical habitat for iconic western species like Greater Sage-grouse,” said Xavier Montoya, State Conservationist for Wyoming with the NRCS.

“The pronghorn have traveled through this corridor for at least 6,000 years, and this conservation achievement will make sure that they are able to do so into the foreseeable future,” said Eric G. Decker, project coordinator for Jonah and Pinedale Anticline Interagency Office. “We appreciate the opportunity to participate in this effort and are dedicated to insuring improvements to wildlife habitat with the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.”

Carney Ranch covers a large portion of 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. It is the only bottleneck to occur on private land. 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.

The Conservation Fund and a host of partners launched an initiative in 2008 to conserve and enhance key wildlife habitat and agricultural lands in Wyoming’s Green River Valley. To date, The Conservation Fund has worked with numerous public and private partners to conserve and enhance over 13,000 acres of private land and enhance over 90,000 acres of public lands in the Green River Valley.

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.

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