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An interesting trend that has grown in relevance and popularity in the present age of ranch ownership is the relationship between agricultural land use and recreational sporting opportunities and how to successfully maximize both attributes. A good example of this relationship are ranches characterized as riparian zones with a combination of quality operating features and live water capable of supporting a viable sport fishery. Many ranchers across the country have begun to realize the lucrative nature of balancing agricultural operations while also concentrating on improving wildlife habitat to maximize hunting resources and create a quality recreational fishery. While every riverine property is different there are a few simple practices that we have helped landowners with to maximize the overall value and utility of these multifaceted ranches.
Historical agricultural practices on many live-water alpine valley ranches have been a detriment to riparian habitats degrading the natural balance of native plant and animal species along these important ecological zones. Most agricultural practices on these properties have been to maximize space for haying and grazing operations which more often than not degrades streambanks and prohibits growth of native woody vegetation important to wildlife which both can severely degrade crucial riverine habitat. To protect these fragile ecological zones, we believe it is extremely important to restore buffer strips along the water’s edge which can be anywhere from 25-100 yards in width on both sides of the water’s edge. One good practice of this would be fencing off the river corridor with barbed/ and or hotwire from livestock with strategic placement of river access gates extending into natural riffles in the river/stream for stock water. The riparian corridor benefits immensely from using this practice and results like new vegetation growth and better bank stabilization can be seen quickly perhaps in as little as a year or two. Every property and streambed are different and could use a strategic plan to restore its productivity but with the right management approach and practice a ranch becomes multifaceted and therefore more valuable.
Having a strong base of knowledge and experience regarding wildlife, fisheries, and agricultural management; Hayden Outdoors Land Specialists Duncan Clark and Brent Hedrick are uniquely qualified to valuate and market western ranching operations. We believe that each property with balanced management of agricultural and recreational attributes maximizes the financial viability of the property and is thus more marketable. We have years of experience in brokering multiproductive ranches across the state of Colorado while collaboratively helping landowners maximize the agricultural and recreational potential of their property. If you have any questions regarding improvement of riparian habitat on your ranch feel free to reach out to Duncan Clark or Brent Hedrick, they would be glad to speak with you.