The Nature Conservancy Acquires 7J Ranch in Southern Nevada
The 900-acre ranch at the headwaters of the Amargosa River protects critical land, water and habitat.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) purchased the 900-acre 7J Ranch near Beatty, NV, which is located at the headwaters of the Amargosa River. The 185-mile long Amargosa River is one of the world’s longest underground rivers, flowing through Nevada and California largely unseen, except where it surfaces sporadically and creates ecologically rich oases.
“The 7J Ranch’s unique position—where the Great Basin meets the Mojave Desert— and its importance as habitat for rare and endemic species makes it a site of international significance for conservation of biodiversity,” explains TNC’s Southern Nevada Conservation Director, John Zablocki. “The 7J is a link between land and water that sustains the ecology of a vast region far beyond the view of the ranch itself.”
“7J Ranch is a truly special place,” says Jennifer Satre, member of TNC’s board of trustees. “We especially want to thank the committed donors who made it possible for us ensure that future generations of Nevadans will have the opportunity to experience this rich natural and cultural heritage of our state.”
With TNC’s acquisition, the ranch’s land and water will continue to be available for migratory birds, waterfowl, coyote, bobcat, kit fox, pronghorn antelope, mule deer and more. TNC is partnering with local ranchers to develop a grazing plan and exploring avenues for using the property to boost visitation and support economic development in Nevada’s Oasis Valley.
David Spicer, a rancher, miner, local entrepreneur and conservation leader, has developed more than 8 miles of trails on his property in order to attract recreational users to the area. He sees “conservation through recreation” as essential to the future of the community in Oasis Valley. “I’ve been partnering with TNC for more than 20 years,” Spicer says, “and the acquisition of the 7J Ranch is the culmination of a partnership that has come a long way. I am happy to have TNC participate at a level we’ve always hoped they would and join in the effort to really get people out on the land so they can see it, feel it, and experience it. Having those awakening moments is what creates conversations for conservation and inspires people to care for the natural world.”
The 7J will be The Nature Conservancy’s flagship property in Southern Nevada. In addition to restoring and conserving wildlife habitat, TNC’s vision is for this property to become a center of excellence for science, arts, education, and getting youth into the outdoors, while supporting Nevada’s rural way of life.
TNC’s legacy on the Amargosa River demonstrates the group’s dedication and perseverance when it comes to taking care of Nevada’s most important land and water. “Conserving the 7J Ranch has been a goal for TNC for decades,” says Len Warren, Amargosa River Project Manager for TNC. “Because the ranch includes the headwaters of the Amargosa River, securing its future means helping ensure the viability of the river and all of the places we and many community partners have worked so long to protect for people and nature.”
Brian Brown who runs a date farm on the lower Amargosa River says, “As a landowner who has been working with The Nature Conservancy for over 15 years at the southern end of the Amargosa River, I am delighted to hear about their acquisition at the northern end. Working with TNC has allowed us to assure that our property will always be ecologically sound and protected, while also allowing us to operate a profitable business. As a business man I realize that what we have to offer visitors is the desert itself, and the beautiful places along our remarkable little river are some of the best of those places.”
Susan Sorrells, landowner and manager of Shoshone Village in the Amargosa River basin, says, “For our family, having stewarded this land for more than four generations, it’s more than just a business, it’s a love. I’ve worked with The Nature Conservancy for 15 years, and they have been instrumental in protecting and stewarding the area. All the staff I’ve worked with are dedicated to the land and preserving it for future generations.”
TNC has worked for more than three decades on projects along the Amargosa River that benefit people and nature, partnering with local groups and landowners on efforts from Tecopa, California to the Oasis Valley, and now up to the very headwaters with this acquisition. Spicer described the conservation approach, which has been recognized numerous times by agencies and other organizations for its successful collaborations, saying, “What we’ve developed in the Oasis Valley is a model of conservation that can be exported in the West and beyond. It really shows what working together can do.”
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 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.