Heart Mountain is a distinctly shaped landmark ?sky island? 10 miles east of the Beartooth Plateau in the eastern Absaroka Mountains, 15 miles north of Cody, Wyoming. In 1999, The Nature Conservancy purchased the entire eastern half of Heart Mountain including the summit ridge and extensive rangelands to the north, south and east of the mountain.
Heart Mountain is a known nesting site of Long-billed Curlews, and Golden Eagles nest on the summit.
Ornithological Information (species related to key habitats):
Priority Species Include:
Golden Eagle (Breeding)
Long-billed Curlew (Breeding)
European Starling and Rock Dove...some exotic plant invasion also.
Heart Mountain Ranch is a thriving model for emerging grassbanks across the intermountain west, demonstrating that open space, natural communities and ecological processes can be conserved while preserving the cultures and economies inherent in ?working landscapes.? At a landscape scale, the grassbank measurably addresses the top Absarokas Landscape threats of fire suppression and habitat fragmentation. Scientific review is widely solicited and best practices are shared across the west to mentor hundreds of grassbank projects. The Heart Mountain Grassbank Advisory Group is a vibrant grassroots forum that resolves conservation challenges and inspires active dialogue among its landowners, agency landmanagers, community leaders and environmental groups.
The major habitat types include sagebrush shrubland (70%), mixed conifer (18%), cliff/rock (10%) and lowland riparian (2%) areas. Due to the wide elevational range, Heart Mountain is able to support abundant wildlife populations despite the presence of relatively little water. The Nature Conservancy maintains ranching operations on these lands. There are two small streams on the property and several small ponds at higher elevations. A large irrigation canal that borders the property, and small lateral waterways have created suitable riparian habitat.
. Heart Mountain Ranch has been owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy since 1999. Management emphasis for the ranch has largely been on the portion that is run as a grassbank; the grassbank is irrigated pasture that provides nearly 3000 AUMs of forage annually. Permittees use the grassbank at a discounted rate in exchange for habitat improvements on their allotments (i.e., prescribed fire, rest, riparian restoration). A management plan for the entire ranch does not currently exist. A new ranch manager and grassbank manager were hired in March, 2004 and will begin managing the ranch in May. Their first task will be to write the management plan for the ranch. The principle goal of the plan will be to maintain and improve viability of ecoregional targets that occur on the ranch. These targets include the mountain big sagebrush and Wyoming big sagebrush communities and the following rare plants: absaroka goldenweed, shoshonea, snake river cats eye, Howard forget-me-not, and aromatic pussytoes.