03.10.2016 SAN LUIS VALLEY, CO – Colorado Open Lands (COL) today announced that a generous grant from The Trinchera Blanca Foundation, the Colorado affiliate of Louis Bacon’s Moore Charitable Foundation, will not only support its ongoing partnership with the acequia community to increase awareness of conservation options, but will also directly support the permanent protection of an iconic acequia-irrigated ranch.

Acequia is an Arabic word that means “water bearer.” An acequia is a physical irrigation system – a ditch – but the term “acequia” in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado also describes a philosophy about water and community. The acequia philosophy sees water as essentially communal; a resource that must be shared.

Funding from The Trinchera Blanca Foundation will enable the permanent conservation of the Rio Culebra Ranch, located just outside of the town of San Luis, Colorado’s oldest town. The ranch protects critical viewsheds from the town and from the famous Stations of the Cross. The designated Centennial ranch has been in the same family for over 150 years and has a rich multi-generational tradition of stewardship.

The ranch is irrigated by the San Pedro ditch, the second most senior acequia in the watershed, and one of the oldest water rights in the state of Colorado. Consequently, conservation of this historic working ranch will keep critical senior water rights in agriculture.

The San Luis Valley’s unique acequia heritage has given rise to multiple federal designations, including the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area and the Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area. However, Colorado Open Lands and The Trinchera Blanca Foundation recognize the critical role private lands play in sustaining the Valley’s ecology and culture. Colorado Open Lands appreciates the Foundation’s partnership in providing incentives to families who wish to see their own farms and acequia communities continue to flourish.

“We commend COL’s unique approach to conservation across the state and we are proud to support their efforts to protect acequia lands and communities in the San Luis Valley,” said Ann Colley, Executive Director and Vice President of The Moore Charitable Foundation and its affiliates.

About Colorado Open Lands

Colorado Open Lands (COL) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit land trust whose mission is to preserve the significant open lands and natural heritage of Colorado through private and public partnerships, innovative land conservation techniques and strategic leadership. To date, Colorado Open Lands has conserved over 470,000 acres across Colorado.

About Trinchera Blanca Foundation

The Trinchera Blanca Foundation, the Colorado affiliate of Louis Bacon’s Moore Charitable Foundation, supports organizations committed to protecting land, water and wildlife habitat in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. The Trinchera Blanca Foundation also supports community programs dedicated to improving quality of life in the surrounding region.