Early in 2005, Shasta Land Trust completed a conservation easement on the 1,467-acre River Ranch. River Ranch is located in northeastern Shasta County near Fall River Mills, in the Fall River Valley. The ranch includes nearly three miles of frontage along Fall River, pastures supporting an organically raised cattle herd, and fields growing wild rice and hay.
The Fall River, ranked as one of the top ten trout streams in the country, is home to many important and rare wildlife species including the Shasta crayfish (Pacifiastacus fortis) and wild rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). River Ranch is managed so that productive agricultural practices also provide important wildlife habitat. The flooded fields used for the organic wild rice are also utilized by a wide variety of shorebirds and waterfowl. Many raptors and large mammals, such as deer and elk, also depend on the open space of River Ranch.
The rural character and agricultural economy of the Fall River Valley face many threats related to increasing land values as more vacation homes are built in this beautiful setting. By protecting the conservation values of the River Ranch, while enabling its continuing contributions to the local agricultural economy and ranching way of life, this conservation easement creates a winning situation for the landowners, wildlife, neighbors, and the economy.