Conservation easements were put in place to ensure that the land “will be used and managed in a way that protects its natural and open space values,” said Kara Dohrenwend, director of Rim to Rim, in a news release.
The conservation easements, held by the conservancy and Grand County, allow the construction of small agricultural buildings but restrict uses to agricultural production and prohibit regular retail sales at the property, according to the news release.
The Nature Conservancy continues to own 180 acres adjacent to the orchard, including the popular Peach Beach site.
“Rim to Rim Restoration and the conservancy are working together to breath new life into this land,” Dohrenwend said. “The old peach orchard will be transformed into a native plant propagation center, providing seeds, shrubs and trees which are desperately needed for restoration and revegetation efforts throughout the Colorado River corridor and plateau.”
Work at the former orchard site will continue over the next few years as Rim to Rim removes dead trees. General cleanup was completed in September and Castle Valley and Moab residents salvaged the wood from the trees for a variety of uses including winter heat, according to the news release. The gated pipe, which will be replaced by a new irrigation system including drip irrigation, was given to the Castle Valley irrigation company for use in Castle Valley.
At the present time, Rim to Rim is in the process of building a small barn to store equipment and materials necessary for the operation of the nursery. The barn foundation has been poured, and the building will be constructed this winter. The structure will include two side wings for outside storage and shaded work areas. Native trees and shrubs have been planted around the building site to help screen it from both the road and the Colorado River and additional trees and shrubs will be planted around the building after it is completed, according to the news release.
Next year, Rim to Rim plans to install an irrigation system, and two small passive solar greenhouses are planned to house plants that are in the rooting phase and to overwinter some plant stock for spring use, Dohrenwend said. Large-scale riparian plant propagation is expected to begin in 2012.
The new Mayberry Nursery will provide a regional propagation center for riparian and other revegetation plants. It will also include a seed and cuttings conservation area on the downstream half of the property, Dohrenwend said.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Dohrenwend at 259-6670.