Blaine County and The Nature Conservancy recently took steps to protect a working ranch that contains vital wildlife habitat and migration corridors in Central Idaho.
The county, the Conservancy and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service combined efforts to acquire a 732-acre conservation easement on the Bar B Ranch owned by Jim and Susan Barton. The Ranch is located 10 miles north of the town of Carey, in southeast Blaine County. The Conservancy will monitor and enforce the easement in perpetuity.
“Thanks to all the people involved in helping us achieve a lasting legacy for our ranch and preserving land for raising food and protecting wildlife,” said Jim Barton.
The ranch lies in a transition zone between the Pioneer Mountains located to the north, and the Craters of the Moon National Monument to the southeast. In addition to acting as critical sage grouse habitat, this 2.4-million-acre landscape is home to raptors, songbirds, sage thrasher, pronghorn, elk, deer and many others species. This area, known as the Pioneers-Craters landscape, has been identified as a conservation priority in Idaho by numerous studies, planning efforts and conservation organizations.
The land ownership in this area is a complex pattern of private, state and federal property. Each key parcel of land conserved, including the Bar B Ranch, contributes to the permeability of the landscape through which wildlife can travel.
“This project has been about working collaboratively with partners to find ways to ensure the Barton family’s ability to continue making their livelihood on the land; and, at the same time, ensuring large landscapes, such as the Pioneer Mountain region, remain intact for wildlife and people into the future,” said Mark Davidson, senior conservation manager for the Conservancy,
“Thank you to the hard working people from Blaine County and the NRCS for seeing this project to completion.”
Blaine County Commissioner Larry Schoen added, “We appreciate the Barton’s diligence in pursuing the best solutions to permanent conservation of their ranch. They demonstrated leadership in their collaborative effort and in being one of the first families in their area to conserve such important habitat on their working ranch using conservation easements.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
Senior Conservation Manager