Field Notes

A view of the Mancos Valley from the Hackley Place, a new conservation easement project by Montezuma Land Conservancy.

A sweeping view of the Mancos Valley from the Hackley Place, a 720-acre ranch set to be permanently conserved in the coming year.

June 24, 2024

MLC Receives $125,000 for Two New Conservation Easements

Montezuma Land Conservancy has received $125,000 from the nonprofit coalition Keep It Colorado to help cover transaction costs associated with two upcoming conservation easement projects that will permanently protect a combined 1,020 acres in Southwest Colorado!

The historic 720-acre Hackley ranch in the Mancos River watershed boasts excellent water rights; prime soils; productive meadows; healthy ponderosa pine forests; and 17 acres of wetlands and riparian habitat. Half of the property is set within San Juan National Forest, creating a buffer and extending migratory pathways for wildlife. The largely forested property helps increase snow accumulation and moderate spring runoff, benefiting the local water supply. The landowner’s work to improve forest health for the watershed will have enduring impact for area residents.

In Dolores County, the Sturdevant project will permanently conserve 300 acres along nearly two miles of the West Fork of the Dolores River that are surrounded on all sides by San Juan National Forest. In combination with another MLC easement, and Forest Service land, it will help create an uninterrupted 5.1-mile length of river corridor, riparian habitat and wetlands, and protect historic agriculture fields from development. The landowner plans to work with Trout Unlimited to improve aquatic habitat for the four species of trout that reside in the river, creating lasting impact for the river ecosystem. In addition to funding received through Keep It Colorado, this project was additionally funded in partnership with the Walton Family Foundation.

“More than ever before, we’re able to really move the needle on conservation across the state by supporting land trusts and their partnerships with landowners,” said Amy Beatie, executive director for Keep It Colorado. “Supporting Colorado’s conservation goals protects lands for the future and provides benefits every day to the people and wildlife that call Colorado home. Coloradans tell us time and time again that this is a priority, so we’re grateful for the chance to heed that call.”

MLC joins nine other land trusts in receiving transaction cost assistance grants from Keep It Colorado, helping to advance 15 conservation projects across the state. The awards are made possible thanks to investments from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), Ducks Unlimited and the Walton Family Foundation, which invested a total of $840,000 in Keep It Colorado’s Transaction Cost Assistance Program’s Spring grant cycle. Through a competitive grant application process, projects were evaluated based on how well they address one or more goals of Conserving Colorado: A 10-year Roadmap for the Future of Private Land Conservation; create connectivity to other conserved or public lands; and meet the landowner’s needs.


About the Transaction Cost Assistance Program

Since 2021 when Keep It Colorado formed the Transaction Cost Assistance Program in partnership with GOCO, it has awarded more than $2 million in grant assistance to Colorado nonprofit land trusts. This aid enables land trusts to help landowners complete 45 conservation projects and protect nearly 43,000 acres of critical habitat, local food systems, iconic viewsheds, wetland and river corridors, and places of historic and cultural significance across the state. In providing this assistance, Keep It Colorado eases the financial burden on landowners and enables them to move forward with protecting critical landscapes that are at imminent risk of being subdivided or converted to other uses.

About Keep It Colorado

Keep It Colorado serves as a unified voice for conservation organizations focused on private lands conservation, and does so by bringing together land trusts, public agencies and conservation champions around a vision to create a Colorado where people, lands, waters and wildlife thrive. Keep It Colorado advocates for sound public policy; provides connection and collaboration opportunities for conservation partners; offers a forum to address emerging conservation issues and opportunities; pursues sustainable funding and programmatic tools and solutions; and works to advance a culture of conservation in Colorado. Learn more at this link.

About Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. To learn more, visit this link.