Trout Stalker Ranch
has over 1000 acres
in Land Conservation
Trout Stalker Ranch is located along the Rio Chama, just south of the Village of Chama, and approximately 8 miles south of the Colorado border, along the scenic US 84/64 highway corridor. The property contains significant and unique natural resources, in part because it includes more than 4 miles of the Rio Chama and the Rio Chamita.
Because the ranch encompasses the convergence of several different natural communities (riparian woodlands, aquatic, wetland meadows, dry uplands) the ranch supports an unusual diversity of plants and animals. The riparian woodlands along the Rio Chama are especially suited for nesting birds. Wet meadow habitats are relatively rare in northern New Mexico and Trout Stalker Ranch contains approximately 68 acres of habitat for migrating birds, frogs and garter snakes, the savanna sparrow, wilson snipe, western harvest mouse, and possibly the endangered meadow jumping mouse. Here is a comprehensive BIRD LIST that have been seen at Trout Stalker Ranch!
As the stewards of the land, we are keeping the acequia-irrigated pastureland in production for rotational grazing cattle.Trout Stalker Ranch has invested in extensive habitat restoration in the Rio Chama to improve the trout fisheries as well as benefiting other wildlife and plan to do the same types of habitat restoration projects to the Chamita River in the near future.
With the donation of the conservation easement, we have made a significant contribution to protecting the historic character of the Rio Chama Valley as well as protecting and enhancing important wildlife habitat in northern New Mexico.
In 2013, we began our efforts to assist the Village of Chama to clean up its waste water treatment plant north of the Ranch. These efforts led to an $8 million capital outlay grant from the state of New Mexico to the Village to build a brand new waste water treatment plant. Completed in early 2018, the Village's waste water treatment plant now discharges clean water totally in compliance with EPA standards.
Additionally, we have built raptor perches that have been strategically placed in areas that had been heavily logged in the past. An after effect of the heavy logging, has created open prairie land where the prairie dogs have become over-populated. The perches provide a resting stop for various birds of prey, in their natural territory, to scope out the prairie dog towns and keep the populations at bay. We have also supported the coyote populations in these areas to bring the ecosystem back into balance around the ranch. Trout Stalker Ranch has also partnered with a bat conservation specialist to build "bat boxes" to improve the bat habitat.
Since our fundraising efforts to support the maintenance of the waste water treatment plant upstream of us, beavers have come back in healthy populations to the Chamita River! Beavers build dams to slow water flow and create "flooding" which is a necessary act in order to have a healthy Bosque aka "riverside cottonwood forest". Did you know that in order for a cottonwood seed to germinate it needs to have gone through a flood? We protect the Bosque of the ranch as a calving grounds for elk and deer, keeping it quiet and allowing it to be a sanctuary for the local herds.
So far we have had AMAZING results with all of our conservation efforts and have more projects planned for the future. Some of our plans in action are river restoration on the Chamita River, strategic juniper eradication, beaver & porcupine guards along the bottoms of specific trees and holistic grazing practices that build soil.
Our most current pursuit in our conservation efforts is becoming a Certified Bird Friendly Ranch through the National Audubon Society.