Colorado Open Lands is pleased to announce the permanent protection of this 272-acre agricultural property in Rio Grande County, which has been owned by the Schaefer family since the 1940s. It contains irrigated meadows and pasture and a ½-mile of frontage along the Rio Grande River. The entire property is visible to the public due to considerable frontage along US-285. Habitat is provided for big mammals like black bear, elk, mountain lion, mule deer, and pronghorn; as well as southwestern willow flycatcher which is federally designated as an Endangered Species. Additional habitat is offered for the burrowing owl and river otter, which are both designated as Threatened by the State of Colorado, and for the greater sandhill crane and ferruginous hawk, both Colorado Species of Special Concern. The Schaefer family manages the farm for hay, barley, canola production, and livestock grazing. It is their second conservation easement with COL, which protects the remainder of their farm, now totaling 910 acres.
Funding was provided by Natural Resources Conservation Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Great Outdoors Colorado and the Colorado Water Conservation Board.