Conservation Buyer Sought for Idaho Ranch in the Pioneer Mountains

Sage Grouse Habitat Conserved in Partnership with Local Ranchers

Conservation effort is part of the Pioneers Alliance

AUG 25, 2016 UPDATE: The Nature Conservancy Announces Request for Purchase Proposal from a Conservation Buyer for Cenarrusa Ranch 

Cenarrusa Ranch at sunrise. Photo by Kelsie Kitz.

Cenarrusa Ranch at sunrise. Photo by Kelsie Kitz.

HAILEY, IDAHO — A large working ranch located in vital greater sage grouse habitat has been permanently conserved by the Cenarrusa family and The Nature Conservancy.

“We appreciate that the Conservancy will take care of the ground, keep it a working ranch and allow the livestock and wildlife to carry on,” said Jim Cenarrusa, the ranch’s owner.

The 8,890-acre ranch contains important greater sage grouse habitat, with wet meadows and mating grounds, making it critical to recovery efforts for the imperiled bird. Habitat fragmentation is among the leading threats to sage grouse.

Additionally, the ranch  provides critical open access to wildlife migrating through southern Idaho. One of the farthest pronghorn migration routes in the West crosses over the Cenarrusa Ranch. The route, which is more than 160 miles round trip, stretches from the base of the Pioneer Mountains to the continental divide’s Beaverhead Mountains, passing through Craters of the Moon National Monument.

“Together with the Cenarrusa family, we’ve taken a huge step forward in protecting greater sage grouse and Idaho’s ‘Serengeti’,” said Toni Hardesty, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Idaho.

The Cenarrusa Ranch is located along Fish Creek and the east fork of Fish Creek, a few miles east of Carey.  Along with the incredible wildlife habitat the ranch has to offer, Fish Creek drainage is a popular hunting and fishing destination for folks in the area.  This project will protect open natural spaces for all to enjoy.

The Conservancy recently purchased the property with plans to place conservation easements on it and resell it to conservation buyer(s). Through these easements, the property will remain open and undeveloped for generations to come. A conservation easement is a voluntary and legally binding agreement that compensates landowners for limiting certain uses or development on their property.

The Cenarrusa Ranch is among the largest of several private ranches that have been conserved within the vast area between the Pioneer Mountains and the Craters of the Moon National Monument. The open space, wildlife, water, agriculture and recreation found in this area are vital to the economies, communities and visitors to south central Idaho.

The protection of the ranch builds upon the work of the Pioneers Alliance, a coalition of ranchers, local residents, conservationists, scientists, businesses and elected and agency officials working together to protect the region between the Pioneer Mountains and Craters of the Moon. The Nature Conservancy is a member of the Pioneers Alliance.

“It’s a special place out here,” said Kathy Molyneux, a member of the Pioneers Alliance and recent conservation easement partner. “I am excited that the Conservancy recognizes how much this land means to us as neighbors and has stepped up to protect it for the long term.”


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Want to read more? Check out this great article by the Idaho Mountain Express.

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The Pioneers Alliance is a cooperative effort by ranchers, local residents, conservationists and public lands managers to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural values of the Pioneer Mountains and Craters of the Moon landscape of south-central Idaho.

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