Size: 1,004 acres
Location: Rio Arriba County
Eco-Region: Southern Rocky Mountains
Conservation Values: Agriculture, Scenic Open Space, Wildlife Habitat
Type of Project: Donated Conservation Easement
Date Completed: December 2013 – December 2018 (easements combined)
Watch their video: “The Accidental Ranchers”
Trout Stalker Ranch is located along the Rio Chama, just south of the Village of Chama, along scenic U.S 84/64 highway about 8 miles south of the Colorado border. A significant stretch of the Rio Chama and the Rio Chamita run through the property, and the landowners have invested in extensive restoration of the river to improve Trout fisheries and wildlife habitat.
Several different natural communities converge on the ranch ─ riparian woodlands, aquatic, wetland meadows, dry uplands ─ which support an unusual diversity of plants and animals. The riparian woodlands along the Rio Chama are especially suited for nesting birds. Wet meadow habitats are relatively rare in northern New Mexico and Trout Stalker Ranch contains about 68 acres of habitat for migrating birds, frogs and garter snakes, the savanna sparrow, Wilson snipe, western harvest mouse, and possibly the endangered meadow jumping mouse.
NMLC completed the first conservation easement on a portion of the Ranch in 2013, followed by a second easement in 2017. In December 2018, the landowner “stitched” together their existing easements and added another 250 new acres, creating one easement of roughly 1,004 acres of prime agricultural and riparian upland habitat right in the heart of the village of Chama.
This new easement includes almost two miles of the Chama River corridor and secures several hundred acre-feet of water rights which are now permanently tied to the land, protecting the future agricultural values and the habitat along both the Rio Chamita and Rio Chama rivers. We’re excited to be working with these landowners as they continue to develop a conservation legacy in northern New Mexico.