Progress on the Conway Ranch Conservation Easement Project
In our last update, written over a year ago, we described the beginning of an important conservation easement project involving the Conway and Mattly ranches, located in the northwest corner of the Mono Basin. This project is unusual in that it involves a property owned by a governmental entity – Mono County – that was purchased with grants that restricted the future allowed uses. These grant restrictions were put in place before conservation easements were widely utilized for working lands such as these ranches, so understanding what was allowed to take place on the property was challenging.
Intensive efforts by Mono County and ESLT have produced a draft conservation easement and management plan that translates those grant restrictions into a clear and binding agreement that will permanently protect the important resources on the land. With input from local advisory groups and the grantors, we have developed an easement that ensures that the beautiful meadows and scenic vistas will be preserved forever, while the historic uses of the property – public access, sheep grazing, and aquaculture – will also continue. Under the draft easement, the commercial aquaculture may be expanded within a 75 acre portion of the property, with limits on building size, design, and location. A management plan will provide for adaptive actions designed to respond to natural and climatic changes to the property. ESLT will be charged with safeguarding those special resources through providing oversight of aquaculture development and annual monitoring of the property.
The draft conservation easement and management plan are now undergoing review by the public and the grantors, with a goal of finalizing these documents by July 1. For more information or to receive a copy of the documents, please contact the ESLT office or email the project manager, Karen Ferrell-Ingram, at email@example.com. Click here to read a summary of the project, and a brief history of the site.
Karen, the Conway Ranch Project Manager for ESLT, is a co-founder and former Executive Director of ESLT. She worked on the first 17 conservation projects completed by ESLT.