But it’s a haven for more than just deer
Deer Haven’s heaven for plenty of other wildlife, too. Insects living in the fields feed turkeys, pheasants, and a wide variety of songbirds that thrive in the willow and shrubs which grow along the one-and-a-half miles of streambank that sinuously slithers through the properties’ west reach. Those willows and shrubs create habitat and shade for trout, while the undeveloped ground prevents soil and chemicals from spoiling the water which helps keep the Tongue River clean. Moose are also frequent visitors to the stream – a big bull’s taken up residence in recent years.
And all with an unbroken view of the Bighorns!
Conservation easements made financial sense, too
Still, for this Sheridan County farm family, a conservation easement didn’t just make sense in their hearts, it also made sense in their wallets. SCLT was able to help the family meet its goals by utilizing federal Farm Bill funds designated to conserve farmland and State funds designated to conserve wildlife habitat. That gave the family a sizeable payment upfront and a tax benefit for the following 15 years. With 30 years of farming the property under their belt, the conservation easement will also make it easier for this family to get Deer Creek to the next generation of family farmers when that times comes.
Of course, successful projects like the Deer Haven Conservation Easements aren’t accomplished in a vacuum. SCLT greatly appreciates the time, talent, and treasure shared with us by Prestfeldt Surveying, LLC, Wilcox Abstract & Title Co., WWC Engineering, Lonabaugh & Riggs, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resource Conservation Service, the State of Wyoming-Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, Sheridan County Conservation District, and an anonymous donor.
As SCLT executive director Brad Bauer explained, “At the end of the day, nothing changes. Their goal was to have everything remain the same – just like the working agricultural lands on the neighboring properties.”
And for that, the Deer Haven Conservation Easements truly are a haven – for agriculture, for wildlife, for unspoiled views, for clean water, for Sheridan County, and…for deer, of course!