In Eastern Oregon, a rancher has put over 10,000 acres of wildlife habitat under protection with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which they acquired a conservation easement through.
This is permanent protection and will ensure the future of the winter ranges that the regional herd of 600 to 800 elk will need to survive. Patricia and John Habberstad of China Peak Ranch, close to Monument, have put 10,334 acres under the easement with RMEF in three stages dating back to 2002.
In January, an additional 5,101 acres was added to the total. The RMEF lands program manager for Oregon, Bill Richardson, said “The Habberstads are doing a wonderful job of managing their land for the benefit of wildlife. They have worked to rejuvenate decadent fields, control invasive weeds like juniper, and establish water sources and develop springs. The native bunchgrasses on the ranch are flourishing and the habitat quality is on an upward trajectory.”
He went on to say “We appreciate the Habberstad family for the conservation ethic and generosity that led to this donated conservation easement and a guarantee of outstanding wildlife habitat forever.”
The Habberstad`s ranch is a private working ranch that has cattle and timber operations south of North Fork John Day River and north in an area known as Rudio Mountain.
This ranch is also home to eagles, hawks, mule deer, pronghorns, black bears, mountain lions, neo-tropical migratory birds, and too many other species to name. The conservation easement will ensure the property will remain much like it is today even after the lifetimes of the Habberstads and all future owners. It would be wonderful if there were more Habberstad`s like these, in the conservation world.
Image source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elk