Size: 910 acres
Location: Grant County
Eco-Region: Arizona-New Mexico Mountains
Conservation Values: Agriculture, Scenic Open Space, Wildlife Habitat
Type of Project: Donated Conservation Easement
Date Completed: November 2014
Landowner(s): Johnnye Lewis and Vern Westerberg
The Ancheta Springs Ranch is a 910-acre property on the west side of the Black Range in Grant County, NM. The ranch is adjacent to the Gila National Forest and New Mexico Highway 152, which is part of the Southwest Birding Trail. In addition, NM 152 is part of the 154-mile “Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway” which emphasizes both scenic and cultural resources. Travelers heading west on NM-152 can see the ranch just south of the highway as they exit the National Forest.
The ranch consists of piñon-juniper woodland interspersed with oak and some elements of Chihuahuan desert scrub. A 2½-mile reach of Ancheta Creek, a tributary to the Mimbres River, is positioned along the west boundary of the property. The property provides significant natural habitat and wildlife values for numerous species, and important water filtration and storage capacity for the Mimbres watershed.
The ranch has historically been used for cattle grazing and the landowners continue to graze a small number of cattle on the land. The landowners have been engaged in watershed restoration activities in Ancheta Creek and three tributaries since the purchase of the property and this has had a significant positive effect on conservation values. In arid southwestern New Mexico, Ancheta Springs Ranch provides biological value far beyond what meets the eye.