The Nature Conservancy in Idaho announces the purchase of a 634-acre property located 15 miles west of Yellowstone National Park. Located in one of the most ecologically significant regions of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, this project secures the protection of critical habitat and advances efforts to ensure the survival and resiliency of iconic wildlife in this area.
Much of the property and surrounding lands are situated within Henrys Lake Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and provide crucial connectivity to areas that support a diversity of wildlife in the Madison River Valley and Yellowstone National Park in Montana and Wyoming. The ranch had been platted for subdivision and fragmentation that would have been devastating for wildlife habitat and migration corridors.
TNC and partners have been working for decades to conserve the Henrys Lake area and have long identified the high conservation value of this property. The area’s native sagebrush steppe, open grasslands and wetlands are valuable habitat for a diversity of wildlife, including at-risk species like peregrine falcons, gray wolves, bald eagles, grizzly bears and trumpeter swans. Pronghorn rely heavily on the property seasonally and during migration. The property also encompasses portions of Howard Creek, which is a critical spawning stream for Yellowstone cutthroat trout.
“This project presents an extraordinary opportunity to protect irreplaceable habitat and migration corridors in a critical area,” says Tess O’Sullivan, TNC land conservation strategy lead. “Conserving this property advances years of work in the area and creates pathways to greater conservation outcomes in the future.”
Beartooth Group, a conservation investment firm, was a key partner to TNC and played an essential role in facilitating the transaction. “We are thrilled that we were able to move quickly, with our investors who immediately saw the value of this transaction, to secure a deal that worked for the landowner and The Nature Conservancy,” said Beartooth’s Ben Alexander.
TNC will leverage its local stewardship staffing expertise at its nearby Flat Ranch Preserve to manage the property until TNC can complete a conservation easement, at which point it will be sold to a landowner committed to stewarding and maintaining the working ranch into the future.
Neighbors and local agricultural producers also see benefits. “I’m just so happy to see this property not getting developed,” says local community member John Spencer. “And, it is staying in agriculture. I can’t think of a better outcome.”
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 70 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.