Balancing conservation with the needs of private property owners can be challenging, but win-win outcomes are possible. This was the case for 360-acre wetlands site on Crystal Creek, a spring creek tributary to Upper Klamath Lake in southern Oregon.
The Crystal Creek site is habitat for many “at risk” species including the federally endangered shortnose sucker and Lost River sucker, the federally threatened bald eagle and bull trout, and species designated as “sensitive” in Oregon: spotted frog, pond turtle, and redband trout. However, the long-time landowner wished to use the land for grazing cattle and as a site for residential development. With the help of a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Landowner Incentive Program, TPL purchased a conservation easement on the Crystal Creek property in March 2007 and conveyed the easement to the Wetlands America Trust, a subsidiary of Ducks Unlimited.
The easement allows the landowner to continue to graze cattle and enjoy one home site on a portion of the land, but prevents two other potential home sites and cattle grazing on sensitive wetland areas. The Wetlands America Trust will serve as long-term steward of the property.