MISSOULA, Mont.–The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation teamed up with a conservation-minded landowner and the Southern Nevada Water Authority to permanently protect 1,480 acres of key elk habitat in eastern Nevada. The completed conservation easement was recently transferred to the RMEF.
“This is exciting for elk country in Nevada because it marks our second conservation easement in the state,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “We especially appreciate families like the McBeaths who have the foresight and passion for elk and other wildlife to conserve vital habitat like Cave Valley.”
“As a third generation Nevadan who grew up hunting and fishing in this area, I take great pride in being able to help conserve critical land and wildlife habitat in Cave Valley for future generations,” said landowner Bill McBeath.
The property is located south and east of Great Basin National Park, approximately 90 minutes south of Ely, in a remote area near the Nevada-Utah border. It holds a growing population of some 300 elk, 100 antelope, 75 mule deer, other wildlife, sage grouse and bird species. It is also highly valued by sportsmen.
“The watershed is unique and has special value to wildlife because of surface water that rises from a cave near the ranch headquarters and flows down the valley,” added Henning. “The springs and seeps are critical to wildlife in such an arid, high desert environment.”
The conservation easement permanently protects the habitat by prohibiting subdivision. It allows traditional agricultural and ranching activities on the property that is within and adjacent to the newly established Mt. Grafton Wilderness.
Since 1988, RMEF completed nearly 200 projects that protected or enhanced more than 277,000 acres of Nevada habitat including the funding of a conservation outreach project on the property in 2008 to restore degraded winter range for elk and other wildlife. RMEF secured its first conservation easement in Nevada in September 2012 near Wells in the northeast part of the state.