The Sheridan Community Land Trust (SCLT) has been granted $235,000 to secure two voluntary conservation easements in Sheridan County.
The two easements will help the organization maintain not only the land and water resources but also habitat for animals like greater sage grouse, mule deer and several species of migratory birds.
One easement is located near Ranchester and the other is in eastern Sheridan County. Both are working farms and ranches that total a little over 550 acres.
A press release from the SCLT says the property close to Ranchester "safeguards seasonal wetlands utilized by a plethora of birds, frogs and turtles within the Tongue River watershed," reads a press release from the SCLT.
The eastern Sheridan County property includes a two-mile stretch of Clear Creek and will be home to rehabilitation efforts for the greater sage grouse.
SCLT Executive Director Brad Bauer said while the land is not for public access, the owners saw the value in maintaining their properties for the area.
"They want to ensure the legacy that they developed on their properties are maintained for generations to come, and that's where voluntary conservation agreement is right for them," he said.
The funding from the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, coupled with other fundraising efforts, will help to settle the conservation agreements in the coming months, Bauer said. SCLT has about $20,000 thousand dollars left to raise for the projects.
"We'll need to negotiate the actual deed of conservation for the easement and do some baseline habitat assessment monitoring. That's the stage we're at now is finalizing the actual agreement," he said.
Those final steps could take another two years to complete.
The SCLT currently has voluntary conservation agreements with property owners at 11 sites throughout Sheridan County, which include 3,500 acres.
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