Our Role

Fast forward 30 years to 2020. In what was one of his career highlights, Tom worked with various staff members, donors and landowners to protect the final piece of the Navajo River Watershed through a conservation easement funded by LWCF and a private foundation. Now these lands remain as private working ranches that will never be fragmented by development.

Why this project matters

The lasting impacts of this project cannot be overstated. This watershed provides a critical sanctuary for migrating elk and mule deer; preserves water quality for 1 million people in New Mexico, including 90% of Albuquerque’s surface water supply; and will support economic benefits to the entire region for generations to come.

Navajo River Watershed in Colorado quote

"Back in 1990, our western staff consisted solely of … me. I was spread pretty thin across the west but always kept an ear to the ground for opportunities in Colorado. I heard rumor of a wilderness ranch on the headwaters of the Navajo River, critical for wildlife migration and water quality, coming up for auction. I dropped what I was doing, went to the site and fell silent in awe. I immediately knew The Conservation Fund had to safeguard this wild valley forever.

As I reflect, I think about how this project will enable wildlife connectivity all the way downstream to tribal lands in New Mexico and how it preserves the historical range of grizzly bears in Colorado. Aside from these aspects, I also think a lot about how The Conservation Fund evolved over the life of this project—working with others to make these once-in-a-lifetime projects happen. There was always a community in the Navajo River Valley—the working ranchers, fourth and fifth generation families—and over time they bought into our wilderness preservation vision and became a part of it. We all left this place stronger than we found it.”

– Tom Macy, The Conservation Fund Colorado Representative  

back to our 2020 annual report