District Information  
Function of the Shavano Conservation District 
To make available technical, financial and educational resources, whatever their source, and focus or coordinate them so that they meet the needs of the local land manager with conservation of soil, water and related natural resources. 

The Mission of the Shavano Conservation District 
Through a board of local farmers and ranchers, the Shavano Conservation District serves as the grassroots leadership to the Natural Resource Conservation Service in the protection and conservation of our natural resources. 

Trends Impacting Conservation in the Shavano Conservation District 
The most significant trends impacting conservation in the District are decreased soil health, the preservation of agriculture, maximizing the use of available water and improving water quality. The District is faced with difficulty in keeping the agricultural economy vibrant and that difficulty has lead to the subdivision of agricultural lands and increased residential development. Additionally, increased demands are limiting water for agriculture, municipalities and wildlife. Changes in soil conditions indicate a loss in vegetation and crop growth. 

Natural Resource Data 
Montrose County contains vast spans of pristine landscape and an array of national parks and forests covering 2,200 square miles. Ouray County covers 542 miles with landscape that is dominated by mountain peaks with 12 peaks 13,000 feet or higher. 

The Shavano Conservation District encompasses 1,191,438 acres. In a general manner, it can be described as eastern Montrose County, Ouray County in its entirety, Gunnison County west of the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River, and a small acreage east of Highway 50 within Delta County and adjacent to Montrose County. 

Land Ownership (by acres)
Private and local government 489,593
U.S. Forest Service  370,390
Bureau of Land Management  287,045
State of Colorado  11,760
Indian (not reservation land)  17,575
National Park Service  32,650

Municipalities and communities within the boundaries of the District are Colona, Cimarron, Montrose, Olathe, Ouray and Ridgway. All cities and towns are excluded from the District and not included in totals previously noted. 

Land Use 
Land use is quite varied in the private sector. Irrigation permits intense agricultural production in the areas of favorable growing seasons. Fruit, vegetables and seed crops are produced at lower elevations along with general field crops of corn, small grain, dry beans, hay and irrigated pasture. Higher elevation irrigated lands are used primarily for hay and pasture. 

Non-irrigated cropland is insignificant from both an economic and acreage standpoint. Much of the land that was once tilled to dry land crops has been converted to non-irrigated pasture or rangeland. About 500 acres are currently farmed. 

Rangelands vary from desert sites of low production to high yielding sites at higher elevations. Plant species vary widely through the extremes from desert sites to high mountain sites. Much of the wooded area is public land, but a substantial acreage of privately-owned woodland does occur. Principal tree species are varied and include aspen, spruce, fir, ponderosa pine, pinion pine, juniper and cottonwood. 

Big game habitat is provided by rangelands, forestlands and along wooded bottomlands. Some steep and barely accessible areas are suitable only for recreation, wildlife and watershed purposes. 

Wetlands within the irrigated areas are valuable for waterfowl, while crop and brush lands provide small game habitat. The Colorado Division of Wildlife owns land specifically set aside for wildlife. 

Recreation lands may be any land previously described on which hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, skiing, and other recreational activities are pursued. Specific recreation sites are administered by the Bureau of Land Management and commercial sites on private lands. 

Acreages by Land Use Private, State, Federal Indian, Local Govt. Federal
Irrigated Cropland 88,889 0
Irrigated Hay & Pastureland 19,500 0
Non-irrigated Pastureland 1,200 0
Rangeland 214,199 180,561
Non-commercial Woodland 141,027 217,600
Commercial Woodland 25,000 259,273
Recreation & Wildlife 11,039 32,650