The mission of the Northwest Rangeland Trust is to help Oregon, Washington, and Idaho ranch and farm landowners protect and preserve the long-term viability of their ecologically significant private lands.
General Information and History
The Northwest Rangeland Trust (NWRT), formally Oregon Rangeland Trust, a non-profit 501 (c)(3) corporation, was established in October 2001 and formally organized in March of 2002. Created by a vote of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, the Northwest Rangeland Trust is aligned with that organization but not a formal part of the cattlemen’s association. Working with the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, the Northwest Rangeland Trust was registered in the State of Washington in 2008. In 2014, working with the Idaho Cattle Association, Northwest Rangeland Trust expanded into the State of Idaho. The NWRT enables us to provided services in the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho to ranching and farming families without necessitating the formation of a new land trust and the funding and staff that would be required. The NWRT volunteer Board of Directors, a majority of which must be beef producers, are all members of the Oregon, Washington, or Idaho Cattlemen’s Association.
Initial funding was provided by The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which awarded NWRT a matching-funds grant that made possible the planning session and resulting materials, production of a brochure, additional fund-raising efforts and the hiring of an Executive Director effective January 1, 2006. In 2006 and 2007 funding was secured for NWRT’s Development Project from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, William G. Gilmore Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation, and The Collins Foundation. This funding will provide the resources necessary for the expansion and development of NWRT through 2010.
Working with the ranch landowners and The Trust for Public Land, NWRT’s first conservation project was finalized in June 2004 when it became the holder of a conservation easement on an 11,400-acre ranch in Lake County, Oregon. The purchase of the easement was funded by the Natural Resource Conservation Service Farm and Ranchland Protection Program, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) and by the donation of a portion of the easement value by the landowners. A monitoring fund is in place to enforce the terms of the conservation easement.
Since 2004 NWRT has finalized easements in Lakeview, Wallowa, and Grant Counties, in Oregon. Additionally, NWRT has closed on two easements in Thurston County, in Washington. Working with Ducks Unlimited and utilizing funding provided by North America Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) NWRT secured an easement on the Maxwell Ranch that protects riparian habitat on 400 acres and over 2.2 miles of Cox and Bauers Creeks. Working with local ranchers and farmers NWRT was able to secure an easement protecting the delivery of irrigation water for the Wallowa Valley prior to the land being sold to the State of Oregon. Currently NWRT holds easements on approximately 22,000 acres in Washington and Oregon. Additional, we have projects throughout the Northwest in different stages of the transaction process.
Board members and volunteers working with NWRT have actively participated in conferences and meetings such as the Land Trust Alliance Rally, One Thousand Friends of Oregon meetings, Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts, Partnership of Rangeland Trusts, Chelan-Douglas Counties’ “Building a Vision”, the Rules Advisory Committee for the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board Land Acquisition program, Oregon State University Succession Planning Workshop, Washington Association of Land Trust (WALT), and other meetings that have added to their knowledge of land-use and land trust issues. Participation has been as presenters and as attendees.
NWRT has established working relationships with a number of organizations involved in land conservation including The Trust for Public Land, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, OWEB, Natural Resource Conservation Service, The Conservation Fund, Intermountain Joint Venture, Sustainable Northwest, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Ducks Unlimited, the Partnership of Rangeland Trusts, the California Rangeland Trust, Collation of Oregon Land Trusts, Washington Association of Land Trusts, and others.