2020 proved to be CCALT’s busiest year to date. Our work last year and the success it brought are a direct result of the support we received from our community. Read on for a list of wins that YOU helped to make possible for CCALT in 2020.
WIN #1: 11 Families Utilize Conservation Easements
CCALT partnered with 11 ranching families across the state to conserve some of Colorado’s most productive agriculture land and pristine open space. 77% of the ranches conserved in 2020 are owned and operated by multigenerational ranching families.
WIN #2: Surpassed 678,000 Total Acres Conserved
In 2020, CCALT conserved 38,747 acres of productive agricultural land in nine different Colorado counties.
WIN #3: Added Three New Staff Members
This year our team grew by three! With your support, we were able to welcome the following individuals to CCALT’s staff and expand our capacity:
- Morgan Weinrich – Morgan joined the CCALT team as the Events and Logistics Manger. In that role, Morgan coordinates CCALT’s fundraising and outreach events, manages grants, and provides administrative, logistical, and organizational support to the Executive Director.
- Sally Ross – Sally joined CCALT as the Restoration and Resiliency Program Director. Sally will work to develop and implement CCALT’s new restoration program in support of CCALT’s long term land stewardship goals.
- Brendan Boepple –Brendan joined the CCALT team as a Conservation Manager at the end of the year. Brendan most recently worked in land conservation in Connecticut for the Housatonic Valley Association. Brendan will support the conservation team in completing new and existing conservation projects.
WIN #4: More than 30 Miles of Major Waterways and Tributary Creeks Conserved
In 2020, CCALT conserved 30.73 miles along major waterways and tributary creeks, including the Elk River, Toponas Creek, and Flag Creek.
In addition to protecting major waterways and tributary creeks, CCALT also conserved approximately 2,653 acres of irrigated hay meadows and the water necessary to support the species that depend on these habitats.
WIN #5: Expanded Habitat Connectivity and Conservation for Native and Migratory Species
All of the ranches that CCALT conserved in 2020 provide important habitat for a wide variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish that are native to Colorado. Specifically, CCALT conserved habitat for the following species in 2020:
- Greater Sage-grouse: 7,035 acres
- Moose: 6,446 acres
- Pronghorn: 27,466 acres
- Mule Deer: 38,757 acres
- Elk: 28,298 acres
- Bear: 27,114 acres
WIN #6: Monitored All 445 Conservation Easements Held by CCALT
In light of COVID-19 travel restrictions and out of precaution for our landowner partners and rural communities, the CCALT staff used new tools to remotely monitor all of our conserved properties in 2020.
WIN #7: More Iconic Colorado Views Protected
In 2020, CCALT’s conservation work preserved views of six mountain ranges across the state, including views of Mt. Princeton from the Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway.
WIN #8: Hosted Virtual Ranch Tours
It isn’t often that you get to ask landowners questions about their operation face to face, or zoom square to zoom square. Your support enabled us to host virtual tours of the Knott Ranch in Oak Creek, the Fetcher Ranch in Clark, and the Jenkins Creek Ranch in Larimer County.
Each tour helped CCALT expand our relationships, provide opportunities for important discussions, and continue to build bridges. Keep your eyes peeled for more virtual ranch tours in 2021!
WIN #9: Launch Restoration and Resiliency Program
We’ve been dreaming about offering additional conservation services to our landowner partners for some time, and with this new program, CCALT will be able to partner with landowners who have already conserved their property to implement restoration work that supports their long-term stewardship goals.
WIN #10: Move Conservation Policy and Practice Forward
CCALT was proud to be able to partner with Keep it Colorado and the Trinchera Blanca Foundation to work directly with Colorado State University on two conservation related studies that will positively impact all land trusts across the state.
- Study 1: “Economic impact of future federal conservation easement investments on (rural) Colorado communities”
- The study demonstrates the important economic impacts that potential future funding from the federal agricultural conservation easement program (ACEP) could have on the state of Colorado. The study found that if $88.9 million in federal ACEP payments (the estimated current need for active conservation projects in Colorado) were secured, this funding would generate up to $195 million in economic activity and create more than 1,200 jobs in Colorado. The investments would help bolster the state’s rural economies, as the study estimates that as much as 80 percent of this economic activity would be directed to rural communities.
- Study 2: “Alternative methods for substantiating payments for conservation easements in Colorado”
- The study will enable conservation practitioners in Colorado to assess alternative ways of valuing conservation on private lands. Instead of being valued by development loss, the land would be valued according to the resources we are working to conserve. Such benefits include healthy wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration (keeping carbon in the ground), clean water and reduced soil erosion, among others.
WIN #11: Land Trust Alliance – Accreditation Renewal
CCALT staff member, Bob Tate led a multi-year effort to successfully renew CCALT’s accreditation with the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.
Accreditation is awarded to land trusts who meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever and must be renewed every five years.
WIN #12: Hosted Successful Virtual Forever Colorado BBQ and 25th Anniversary Celebration
While we may have been sitting in different living rooms across Colorado, we were together virtually. With your help, CCALT raised enough money to conserve another 5,000+ acres during our virtual event. It was CCALT’s most successful “BBQ” to date!
We’re excited to incorporate a virtual component to our 2021 Forever Colorado BBQ.
Save the Date for our annual event on August 7, 2021.
As always – thank you for your support of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust. Our work doesn’t happen alone, and in 2020 we were once again reminded of how important our community of supporters, landowners, and partners is. Thank you for making these “wins” possible.