Chaffee Common Ground investments will help protect 2,400 acres of rural lands through a package of conservation easements announced by the Central Colorado Conservancy.
Conservation easements on four ranches will protect critical agricultural lands, water, and wildlife habitat for generations to come. Within the 2,400 acres, projects include the Centerville Ranch, totaling 650 acres, the Arrowpoint Ranch, totaling of 598 acres, and the Tri Lazy W Ranch, totaling 760 acres. Common Ground invested nearly $1 million in these easements. The Conservancy further partnered with Trust for Public Land and Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust to protect Pridemore Ranch, totaling 392 acres.
The overall project features the protection of working ranches and native grasslands, several miles of stream, wetland, and riparian corridors along the Upper Arkansas River and near Browns Canyon National Monument.
“We are on a roll with conservation projects in Chaffee County,” Conservation Director Lucy Waldo said. “Central Colorado Conservancy and our partners are really blessed to have strong community support for conservation in the Arkansas River Valley. The Common Ground Fund was key to help us leverage large grants to conserve these 2,400 acres. These conservation easements will have a lasting impact on this community. A huge chunk of wildlife habitat, stunning views along the scenic byway, and productive ranch lands will be protected forever.”
The Conservancy and its partners secured more than $3 million in matching funding, including $1.6 million from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), $1.55 million from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, $410,500 from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and $95,000 from private foundations and the local community. Projected closing dates are in 2021 and 2022.
“The goal of the 1A ballot measure creating the Chaffee Common Ground program was to leverage local support in addressing landscape-scale challenges to our community,” Commissioner Greg Felt said. “To be awarded a $1.6 million grant from GOCO to protect these iconic agricultural properties is an early success that exceeds my greatest hopes. To the Central Colorado Conservancy, to the Common Ground team, and to our community – congratulations!”
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