Size: 22,965 acres
Location: Socorro County
Eco-Region: Great Plains, eco-region Level III
Conservation Values: Scenic Open Space, Wildlife Habitat, Cultural/Historical, Agricultural
Type of Project: Dept. of Defense Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program
Date Completed: August 2019
Monte Prieto lies in the northern half of the Chupadera Mesa and contributes to a large region of a relatively unfragmented landscape comprised of U.S. National Park Service (White Sands), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Bosque del Apache,) U.S Forest Service, New Mexico State Lands, U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM),and Department of Defense (DoD) lands.
Thanks to a variety of ecological influences including the Southern Rocky Mountains, the Chihuahuan Desert, and the Great Plains Prairie, the area supports a great diversity of plants and animals.
The ranch, which has been in the owners’ family since the early 1960s, has historically been utilized for livestock production and continues today as a “working ranch,” which includes a beef operation and a recreational big-game hunting operation (elk and pronghorn antelope.) The owners are actively involved in sustainable ranch management which emphasizes a holistic approach to landscape-scale conservation and ecology. The property also serves as a recreational ranch for the owners as many of their large family gatherings take place onsite where they can enjoy the scenic landscape, open-lands, wildlife viewing, land restoration projects, and “working ranch life.”
The easement was purchased through the U.S. Army’s Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB ) Program aimed at preventing (or reducing) land uses that are incompatible with military training and testing operations conducted at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). These funds are appropriated under the Dept. of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program, which simultaneously protects WSMR’s “buffer zone,” enables landowners to continue ranching, and protects a large, unfragmented portion of important natural habitat for a diverse range of wildlife.