Jefferson Island Ranch

1,652 acres located on the banks of the Jefferson River near the town of Whitehall, west of Bozeman, Montana.
project detailsview gallery

Details

Location: Montana
Acquired: 2012
Sale: 2014

Value Creation

Legal/Title Cleanup, Hazardous Material / Chemical / Other Cleanup, River/Creek Restoration, Wetland Restoration, Regenerative Agriculture

conservation impact

Climate Change Mitigation, Climate Change Adaptation, Regenerative Agriculture

Suffering from several legal/title issues, years of overgrazing, creek degradation, and a great deal of structural deferred maintenance, we cleaned up the legal/title and structural problems, converted to organic agriculture and restored one and a half miles of spring creek.

Before & After

Slide the arrows from left to right to see the transformation.

Experience The Ranch

The Challenge

The land itself was in moderately good shape, but we saw an opportunity to restore a spring creek that others had not seen. The structures had many problems, ranging from asbestos and mold to prior methamphetamine contamination. The owner did not have, nor want to spend, the money to fix these problems. Needing to sell the property quickly for financial reasons, he was searching for an honest, reputable buyer who would do right by the family ranch. We were able to (literally) sit down at his kitchen table, build mutual trust through open, honest conversation, and ultimately negotiate a deal that worked for all involved.

The Solution

We acquired this ranch in 2012, partnering with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and Trout Unlimited to restore a spring creek and wetland complex. In 2013, we completed more than a mile and a half of restoration work on Moose Creek, an old meandering channel of the Jefferson River. What was once a slow-moving slough full of frog water, is now a deep, narrow channel with meanders, pools, riffles, backwater wetlands, and giant brown trout. Our work created a healthy channel that serves as spawning and rearing habitat for brown and rainbow trout in addition to a coldwater sanctuary for trout during the warm summer months. To support healthier populations of whitetail deer, pheasant, turkey, and waterfowl, we planted wildlife food plots and gained organic certification for the ranch’s hay and pastureland. We added a third irrigation pivot and new wheel line, and began running organic sheep and cattle on the ranch.

The Future

After completing the restoration, we sold the ranch to a buyer to be used as his family’s hunting and fishing retreat. 

Jefferson Island Ranch Areas of Value Creation

Wetland Restoration

Restored acres of wetlands in conjunction with the creek restoration work.

River/Creek Restoration

Partnered with the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and Trout Unlimited to restore 1.5 miles of spring creek.

Hazardous Material / Chemical / Other Cleanup

Asbestos, mold and methamphetamine remediation.

Legal/Title Cleanup

The property’s title report had a cloud related to a former methamphetamine laboratory; we ensured that the cleanup was completed correctly and had this removed from the title report.

Regenerative Agriculture

Organic certification for hay, organic sheep and cattle ranching, and the addition of a new pivot irrigation structure and a wheel line.