Protection for large family ranch and imperiled greater sage-grouse

Submitted on Wed, 01/22/2020 - 12:25

WENATCHEE — The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust (CDLT) and the Keane family have entered into a conservation easement to permanently protect a 6,723-acre family ranch in Douglas County to support farming and provide habitat for the imperiled greater sage-grouse. The Keane family has been farming their Douglas County ranch for five generations and with this agreement, will continue that tradition for generations to come.

Located in prime sage-grouse and mule deer habitat, the Keane Ranch is operated by brothers Jeff and Dane Keane and their families. The conservation easement forever protects the Keane Ranch from development and connects more than 8,000 acres of state, federal and private land. The ranch is in the heart of the strongest remaining population of sage-grouse, which has lost over 90% of its historic range in Washington State due to habitat loss and fragmentation. The Ranch’s combination of dryland grain and native plant shrub-steppe supports the bird’s habitat needs.

The Keane family worked with CDLT, The Trust for Public Land, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Sage Grouse Initiative, and Pacific Power to develop and fund the agricultural conservation easement. The Keane Ranch is the largest NRCS-funded agricultural land easement in Washington State. 

protected habitat for greater sage-grouse
good habitat for the greater sage-grouse

“It has been a real honor to work with the Keane family and our conservation partners,” said Mickey Fleming CDLT’s Lands Program Manager. “A project like this shows what can be accomplished when we work together around a common goal – protecting this beautiful land that is productive for both food and wildlife.”

The Keanes credit their parents, Lucille and Delbert Keane, and earlier generations with building the ranch and persevering through many hardships, allowing the family to carry on the ranching tradition. There is no public access on this private ranch.