Leopold Conservation Award to be presented to Mesa de Maya Ranch

May 22, 2009
by WLJ
Leopold Conservation Award to be presented to Mesa de Maya Ranch

The Wisconsin-based conservation organization Sand County Foundation, in partnership with the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, and EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., is proud to name John and Carolyn Doherty’s Mesa de Maya Ranch as the winner of the 2009 Leopold Conservation Award in Colorado.

“The Doherty family is living proof that the land ethic, championed by Aldo Leopold, can be embraced generation after generation,” said Dr. Brent Haglund, Sand County Foundation president. “It is exceptional that three generations of Dohertys are working together to ensure that the land, water, and wildlife on the ranch are managed sustainably.”

The Dohertys have utilized several conservation initiatives on their ranch. They effectively manage water distribution through the installation of approximately 25 miles of pipeline that ties several watering facilities together, providing clean sources of water for livestock and wildlife. They also developed two erosion control dams/ponds that provide additional water. Brush control is used to improve the ranch’s grassland. The family has removed woody invasive species such as juniper, piñon and tamarisk from over 150 acres of the Mesa de Maya. Their water and brush management techniques have created outstanding habitat for numerous wildlife species, including Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, pronghorn, black bear, bighorn sheep, cougar, bobcat, red tail hawk, golden eagle, and prairie rattlesnakes.

The Dohertys like to take their commitment to conservation beyond the ranch’s borders. Mr. Doherty is dedicated to continued education and civic engagement. He has been a Soil Conservation District supervisor and a member of the Branson-Trinchera Conservation District for 40 years, helping to guide conservation efforts in eastern Las Animas County. He has provided his ranch for use as a demonstration site for new conservation methods and technologies and has been a leader in forming a prescribed burning cooperative. This will allow ranchers in the region to manage densities of juniper to improve watershed function, decrease erosion, and improve vegetation and forage for livestock and wildlife.

For more information, visit www.leopoldconserva tionaward.org, or contact Amy Bader, amy@colorado cattle.org. — WLJ