USDA looks to protect Jack’s Valley Ranch lands | NevadaAppeal.com

USDA looks to protect Jack’s Valley Ranch lands

Nevada Appeal staff report

A map of Jack's Valley Ranch.

SPARKS — The USDA Forest Service has purchased a conservation easement on Jack's Valley Ranch approximately six miles southwest of Carson City. The property lies between National Forest System lands on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest's Carson Ranger District and the Jacks Valley Wildlife Management Area.

The conservation easement is a legal agreement between the landowner and Forest Service that protects the conservation values of the property from development. The purchase of a conservation easement permits the ranch to stay on Douglas County's tax rolls and allows the continuation of ranching, an economically and ecologically sustainable land use. Conservation easements are granted in perpetuity and apply to the land regardless of who may own it in the future.

The Conservation Fund initially purchased the easement as an intermediary for the Forest Service. The Forest Service then utilized the Southern Nevada Land Management Act Funds to purchase the easement from The Conservation Fund. The Conservation Fund or another eligible entity will monitor the easement to ensure terms are being met.

"Thanks to the foresight of ranch owner John Ascuaga and The Conservation Fund, the unique resources on this property will be protected from development while allowing agriculture to continue," said Forest Supervisor Bill Dunkelberger.

The Jack's Valley Ranch contains 737 acres of irrigated pasture, six acres of ponds and wetlands, 377 acres of mixed conifer forest, and 111 acres of sage and bitter brush. It provides crucial habitat for winter and summer resident populations of mule deer, and is located within a regionally significant migratory corridor. The streams and springs within the ranch support waterfowl such as egrets, sandhill cranes, and herons.