Historic Disaster Peak Ranch Preserved for Conservation Efforts

Historic Disaster Peak Ranch Preserved for Conservation Efforts

The 3,345-acre property on the Nevada-Oregon border provides critical habitat for the imperiled Lahontan cutthroat trout

HUMBOLDT COUNTY, NV – The Lahontan cutthroat trout, designated as the state fish of Nevada, at one time thrived in streams throughout the Great Basin. However, today their existence is threatened by the loss of critical cold-water habitat, as well as the encroachment of non-native fish.

As part of an effort to conserve and restore habitat for the Lahontan cutthroat trout, Disaster Peak Ranch, a sprawling 3,345-acre property straddling the Nevada-Oregon border, has been secured through a collaborative effort led by Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC), the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), the Nevada Division of State Lands (NDSL), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Situated approximately 20 miles west of McDermitt, Nevada, with 655 acres in Humboldt County, Nevada, and the remaining 2,690 acres in Malheur County, Oregon, Disaster Peak Ranch is a critical habitat for not only Lahontan cutthroat trout, but various native wildlife species, including mule deer, Columbia spotted frog, greater sage-grouse, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep. The ranch encompasses the heart of the McDermitt Creek basin, boasting more than 55 miles of creek and interconnected tributaries. These stream systems are a lifeline for Lahontan cutthroat trout, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Recognizing the ecological significance of this diverse landscape, the collaborating agencies moved to secure the property when it was listed for sale. The preservation of Disaster Peak Ranch aligns with the shared goal of maintaining the historic ranching character of the land while safeguarding key habitats for endangered and native species.

Western Rivers Conservancy spearheaded the initial acquisition, successfully purchasing the property from the private seller and then subsequently selling the Nevada portion (655 acres) of the ranch to the State of Nevada. “The Nevada Division of State Lands represented NDOW through this transaction and was instrumental for the well-organized and timely closing of such a critically important acquisition on our behalf,” said Caleb McAdoo, Deputy Director of Operations of the Nevada Department of Wildlife. “Successful collaboration, perseverance, and commitment were key in navigating the complexity of this multi-year, inter-agency, and cross-State project to protect critical wildlife habitat.”

"Conserving Disaster Peak Ranch is not just about conserving land; it's about safeguarding a vital habitat for Lahontan cutthroat trout and a myriad of other native wildlife species. This collaborative effort underscores our collective commitment to preserving our natural heritage for future generations," said Alan Jenne, Director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

"Through the power of collaboration in conservation, we have secured the preservation of a historic landmark and vital natural resources that are home to many native wildlife species,” said Charlie Donohue, Administrator for the Nevada Division of State Lands. “This achievement underscores Nevada’s commitment to preserving our natural heritage for generations to come."

The purchase of Disaster Peak Ranch marks a significant milestone in conservation efforts, ensuring the continuity of ranching activities while facilitating restoration initiatives to enhance the recovery of Lahontan cutthroat trout populations. The current ranch operator will continue to maintain the entire Disaster Peak property as a working ranch in coordination with NDOW, Western Rivers Conservancy, and ODFW’s fisheries restoration efforts.

This landmark achievement was made possible through Recovery Land Acquisition grant funds provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, underlining the importance of partnerships in preserving our natural heritage. Recovery Land Acquisition grants promote state and federal cooperation in listed species conservation by leveraging funds to acquire specific parcels of land in support of listed species recovery.

About Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC) Western Rivers Conservancy buys land along the West’s finest rivers and streams to conserve habitat for fish and wildlife, protect key sources of cold water, and provide public access for all to enjoy.

About the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) The Nevada Department of Wildlife is responsible for the protection, restoration, and management of nearly 900 different species of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and their habitats throughout the Silver State.

About the Nevada Division of State Lands (NDSL) The Nevada Division of State Lands upholds Nevada’s conservation values through land stewardship, environmental improvement, and responsible land-use planning. The Division works collaboratively with state agencies and partners to secure land in support of their missions, and then assigns land to state agencies for day-to-day management.

About the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to protecting and enhancing Oregon's fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations.

About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service   works with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.