Each year we celebrate a series of “wins” made possible by our generous donors, supporters, partners, and friends. There are 12 wins for 12 months in the year. We hope you enjoy reading about these successes and know the imporant part you have played in helping us achieve them.
10 Families Utilized Conservation Easements to Continue Ranching Legacies
CCALT partnered with ten ranching families from across Colorado to conserve some of Colorado’s most productive agricultural land. 64% of the ranches conserved in 2017 are owned and operated by multigenerational ranching families. Two ranches conserved this year are fifth generation.
Surpassed 550,000 Total Acres Conserved
PC: John FielderThis year CCALT conserved 55,759 acres of productive agricultural land in six different Colorado counties. In terms of acres conserved, CCALT is the fourth largest land trust in the nation. Each year, CCALT conserved ranches provide approximately $207 million in economic and environmental benefits to Colorado.
*Visualize CCALT’s success: one acre is approximately the size of a football field. That’s nearly 55,000 football fields conserved this year alone!
Received the Land Trust Alliance National Excellence Award
CCALT was awarded the prestigious Land Trust Excellence Award by the Land Trust Alliance for our transformational conservation work. This award was in recognition of tremendous conservation success over the past two decades. It was also a recognition of the foresight of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association to create a conservation organization dedicated to farmers and ranchers and the commitment of the many landowning families that have partnered with CCALT.
Visited and Monitored All Conservation Easements Held by CCALT.
In fulfilling our long-term obligations to ensure that the terms of the conservation easements held by CCALT are maintained, staff visited each of the farms and ranches that have partnered with CCALT over our 23 year history.
Increased Habitat Connectivity and Conservation for Native Species
CCALT increased habitat connectivity by protecting land near or adjacent to eight existing conservation easements, six of which are held by CCALT. CCALT’s 2017 conservation work also protected an entire swath of ranches along Poncha Pass, completed a final phase of conservation on a Grand County ranch, and conserved land bordering State Land Board land. This conservation work contributes to landscape level conservation and habitat connectivity in Colorado.
All eleven ranches that CCALT conserved this year provide habitat for a wide variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects that are native to Colorado. Specifically, CCALT conserved the following acres of important wildlife habitat this year:
- Greater Sage-grouse: 1,641 acres
- Moose: 2,572 acres
- Pronghorn: 36,461 acres
- Mule Deer: 10,650 acres
- Elk: 27,555 acres
- Bear: 26,458 acres
Hosted International Land Trust Community Tour
CCALT partnered with The Trust for Public Land and the Lincoln Land Institute to host a tour for nine European conservationists. The tour included a visit to the Steel Ranch in Chaffee County to learn more about private land conservation in the US. CCALT landowner, Geraldine Steel, was happy to welcome the visitors to her iconic Colorado property and answer conservation related questions, as well as share her family’s ranching history.
More than 65 Miles of Main Waterways and Major Tributary Creeks Conserved
This year, CCALT conserved 65.72 miles along major waterways and tributary creeks, including waterfront on the Arkansas River and Colorado River. Of the ranches conserved this year, two are home to Gold Medal classified water. In addition to protecting major waterways and tributary creeks, CCALT also conserved approximately 2,158 acres of irrigated hay meadows and the water necessary to ensure the ranches’ long-term productivity.
Engaged Communities in Ranchland Conservation
Each year CCALT staff works hard to share our work and mission with a broader community of Coloradans. This year, CCALT was a Colfax Marathon Charity Partner, participated in Pedal the Plains, and attended the Telluride Mountain Film Festival with CCALT Landowners and Ducks Unlimited. The Colfax relay team, the RancHers, won their division in the women’s relay, CCALT staff members Maggie Hanna and Jayne Thompson completed their first Century Ride on Pedal the Plains, and most importantly, CCALT landowner, Dallas May, presented and engaged with the audience at Telluride to get them thinking about the important role ranchers play in carbon sequestration and soil health.
Unobstructed Colorado Views Preserved
A benefit to all Coloradans, CCALT’s conservation efforts in 2017 resulted in the preservation of views iconic to Colorado – rolling prairies, mountain vistas, and meandering streams. Mountain views of the entire Front Range, from Longs Peak to Pikes Peak can be seen from two ranches conserved along the I70 corridor. The Flat Tops, Sangre de Cristo’s, Collegiate Peaks, Spanish Peaks, the Gore Range and Gore Canyon are all also visible from ranches conserved this year.
One U.S. highway, one state highway, and nearly 17 miles of Interstate 70 run along or through the properties that CCALT conserved in 2017, offering travelers unobstructed views of Colorado’s iconic natural beauty. Two scenic byways – The Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway and the Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway – were both impacted by CCALT’s work in 2017.
Conservation’s Return on Investment Study
CCALT worked with the Colorado land trust community and the Colorado Natural Heritage Program and Colorado State University’s Ag Economics Department to determine the return on investment for conservation easements in Colorado. The results showed that for every $1 invested in conservation, up to $12 of benefit is provided back to the people of Colorado. In total, residents of Colorado receive an estimated $5.5-$13.7 billion in economic benefits from land conserved by conservation easements, compared to the state’s investment of roughly $1.1 billion since 1995.
Celebrated CCA’s 150th Birthday!
CCALT was able to join the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association in celebrating their 150th anniversary. CCA was formed nine years before Colorado became a state, and is the longest running livestock association in the country. We look forward to continuing to work side by side with the membership of CCA in 2018.
Tour of Southeastern Colorado with Conservation Partners
CCALT staff and board hosted a three day tour of southeast Colorado with the president of the Land Trust Alliance, Andrew Bowman, and leaders from The Nature Conservancy and Palmer Land Trust. The tour highlighted the importance of water to the region, gave attendees a chance to see several large conservation projects in the area, and allowed landowners, partners, and friends of CCALT a chance to connect over a local meal in Rocky Ford.
Thank you to everyone who helped make 2017 a successful year for CCALT. These “wins” are because of you!