Size: 3,220 acres
Location: Luna County, Sierra County
Eco-Region: Chihuahua Desert
Conservation Values: Agriculture, Scenic Open Space, Wildlife Habitat
Type of Project: Donated Conservation Easement
Date Completed: December, 2009
Often, the conservation of important lands takes time, and this was the case with the Diamond Cross Ranch. After many years of considering their options, NMLC is thrilled to have completed a conservation easement for the Diamond Cross Ranch with landowners Doug and Elizabeth Craig.
As part of the local ranching community, the Diamond Cross Ranch includes 3,220 acres of deeded land as well as over 12,000 acres of leased Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and State Trust lands. The Diamond Cross Ranch will continue to contribute to the local and regional agricultural economies of the area by grazing livestock on the property.
Perhaps as important as the agricultural values of the ranch are the natural habitat values. The area contains two prominent natural communities unique to southern New Mexico—Chihuahua Desert Grasslands and Chihuahua Desert Scrub—which are known locally as the Nutt Grasslands. These communities support a host of mammal and avian species native to New Mexico, most notably Pronghorn antelope and Aplomado falcons.
The ranch is also located along New Mexico State Highway 27—the Lake Valley Back Country Byway— which has been designated as a national back country byway and is administered by the BLM. The protection of Diamond Cross Ranch will preserve the viewshed along the scenic byway running through this unique and historic part of New Mexico.
The protection of Diamond Cross Ranch increases the total area of land under conservation easement in the Lake Valley area to over 12,000 acres. NMLC will continue with its efforts in the Lake Valley area to support agriculture and to protect the unique Chihuahuan Desert landscape of this part of southwestern New Mexico.