Easement Conserves Habitat For Gunnison Sage-Grouse in Colorado

gunnison sage grouse by BLM

February 27, 2017

The following story was summarized from this article in the Crested Butte News by Mark Reaman

The NRCS-led Sage Grouse Initiative helps fund conservation easement that keeps ranchland open and protects wildlife for generations to come

The first step to conserve 6,000 acres of prime ranchland in Gunnison County became a reality with the completion of the 1,447-acre Trampe Home Ranch conservation easement on February 17. This easement protects the Trampe Home Ranch headquarters and will protect Gunnison sage-grouse habitat for generations to come.

“This land has been the heart of our ranch for more than 100 years,” said Bill Trampe. “The meadows and pastures are the resource base for ranch production, and also provide habitat for Gunnison sage-grouse and other wildlife species. Conservation of our home place means this land is available forever for agriculture.”

The goal is to put the entire Gunnison Valley ranch — one of the most significant ranches in Colorado — into conservation easements by spring of 2018, which will keep the property open and in the ranching business.

Funding for this first phase came primarily from a $3.8 million Natural Resources Conservation Service grant through the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI), along with additional funds from Great Outdoors Colorado. Trampe Ranches donated 25 percent of the value of the conservation easement. The Nature Conservancy holds the Trampe Home Ranch conservation easement. The Trust for Public Land also played a role in conserving this ranch.

The NRCS Agricultural Conservation Easement Program protects private ‘grasslands of special significance’, and was an ideal funding vehicle for the Trampe Home Ranch because of the quality habitat the ranch provides for Gunnison sage-grouse. It is the first of several pending projects in Colorado using these NRCS funds through the Sage Grouse Initiative.

This June, SGI will host our annual meeting in Gunnison, Colorado, where the team will learn more about habitat conservation efforts like this easement. Stay tuned for more upcoming success stories on how voluntary, incentive-based practices are benefiting the Gunnison region’s working lands and wildlife.

Learn more about Gunnison sage-grouse

Learn more about SGI conservation practices

The Sage Grouse Initiative is a partnership-based, science-driven effort that uses voluntary incentives to proactively conserve America’s western rangelands, wildlife, and rural way of life. This initiative is part of Working Lands For Wildlife, which is led by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.