The Nature Conservancy (TNC) will accept a fully donated conservation easement of approximately 285 acres in Douglas County, Nevada from the owner, CCT Founders, LLC. The property is located along the West Walker River and includes approximately 6,000 feet of river corridor as well as riparian and sagebrush habitat. TNC’s acquisition of this easement will prevent inappropriate floodplain development and protect habitat for many wildlife species, including the Greater Sage-grouse and Lahontan cutthroat trout.
Unsustainable development and large wildfires are the biggest threat to this reach of the West Walker River system. Nevada is one of the fastest-growing states in the country, and Douglas County is an increasingly popular destination for home buyers due to its rural setting and proximity to the Reno-Tahoe area. The region is also already experiencing the loss of important winter and migratory sage-grouse habitat from wildfires fueled by non-native cheatgrass. The acquisition of this easement will prevent the development of this area, protect its important floodplain function, and prevent critical wildlife habitat from fragmentation.
“Adding this proposed conservation easement to two other easements TNC already owns along the West Walker River will increase the acreage and connectivity of important habitat,” says Heather Giger, strategy director for land and stewardship at The Nature Conservancy in Nevada. “Sound management of the property and habitat improvement projects will also increase through good working relationships with the landowner and agency partners with similar organizational missions to protect and improve river health and conserve wildlife habitat. Acquiring this easement adds to our previous properties in the Walker system and continues our thoughtful engagement in this area.”
This project also supports TNC’s ambitious global 2030 goals to save healthy lands for a healthier planet, conserve the world’s freshwater and tackle carbon emissions by:
- Permanently protecting nearly 300 acres of riparian and sagebrush steppe habitat through a conservation easement that joins a larger protected network of 4,500 acres.
- Conserving 1.1 river miles of the Walker River from unsustainable floodplain development, which helps to preserve water quality, endangered fish species habitat and compatible recreational uses. In total, nearly 5.5 miles of the West Walker River will be protected through this conservation easement and two adjacent easements.
- Protecting naturally resilient floodplains that buffer core riverine and riparian habitats from increased degradation caused by climate change. In addition, developing an elevationally-distributed array of conserved areas along the West Walker River has increased connectivity between the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin ecoregions and should help accommodate the expected shift of species and ecosystems in response to climate change.
Quote: Heather Giger
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.