In July of 2007, Bruce Hafenfeld, a rancher on the South Fork of the Kern River, closed a conservation easement on his property that was supported by several conservation organizations and made unprecedented partnerships with federal agencies. Not only did a new blueprint emerge for private property owners to work with these agencies, but the Hafenfelds were also able to acquire funding for the project through unconventional methods. Their efforts opened opportunities for ranchers throughout the nation, helping to make ranching conservation easements an accepted method for mitigating harmful activities to threatened and endangered species.
This 140-acre easement project mitigated adverse effects on the habitat for the South Western willow flycatcher and brought together multiple agencies and conservation groups to come to this win-win conservation solution. This included the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Natural Recourse Conservation Service, Audubon Society and the Rangeland Trust.