Places We Protect

Fox Ranch


Fox Ranch in Colorado
Fox Ranch Lush riparian habitat along a pond in a channel of the Arickaree river in northeast Colorado. © Harold E. Malde

Where east meets west for a variety of birds.



Preserve Highlights

This is a meeting ground for bird species from the eastern and western United States, many of which find themselves at the farthest extent of their ranges. Rare fish and amphibians, like the orange-throated darter and the plains leopard frog, reside in the Arickaree River, which flows through the ranch.

The Arickaree may be Colorado's last intact example of a relatively free-flowing plains river. Coaxed from deep underground aquifers, it is narrow, shallow and slow-moving.

The lush, green cottonwood forest along the riverbanks of the ranch provides a welcome oasis in the midst of an agricultural community. The surrounding prairie paints a landscape of diverse textures, shapes, and colors. 

Why TNC Selected This Site

The Fox Ranch is home to high-quality examples of native prairie and streamside plant communities that support a diverse range of wildlife. Some examples include:


  • Big bluestem/indiangrass wet tallgrass prairie
  • Bluegrama grass shortgrass prairie
  • Little bluestem/side-oats grama great plains
  • Needle-and-thread mixedgrass prairie
  • Northern sandhill prairie

Aquatic Fishes and Frogs

  • Brassy minnow
  • Northern cricket frog
  • Orange-throated darter
  • Plains leopard frog
  • Plains minnow (historic presence)
  • River shiner (historic presence)


  • Bell's vireo
  • Burrowing owl
  • Ferruginous hawk
  • Lark bunting (Colorado's State Bird)
  • Sparrows (at least three species)
  • Swainson's hawk
  • Upland sandpiper

What TNC Has Done/Is Doing

The Conservancy acquired the 14,070-acre ranch in 1998. We manage the ranch for both conservation and agricultural values. We maintain cattle grazing leases on-site and use grazing management plans compatible with our conservation goals.

Conservation priorities include the following:

  • Management of invasive species (both noxious weeds and non-native animals)
  • Hiring locally-based staff to create relationships and partnerships within the community to ensure long-term research and protection within this region
  • Education and outreach activities focused on riparian habitat and the role of groundwater




14,070 acres

Explore our work in this region