Easement Created By:
Joe and Patricia Cunha
Union County, Oregon
Joe and Patricia Cunha’s 3,000-acre ranch outside of La Grande boasts everything you could ask for in a rural landscape: productive grazing land for cattle, spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, herds of deer and elk roaming the forested hillsides, and crystal-clear tributaries of the Grande Ronde that provide vital spawning grounds for salmon and steelhead. This land has been in Joe’s family for generations, and he and Patti hope to someday pass it on to their children.
The Cunhas have carefully managed their property for many years to balance productive cattle grazing with the preservation of the fish and wildlife habitat on the property. Their concern for the continued stewardship of their property led them to work with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the Blue Mountain Land Trust to ensure the long-term protection of these resources. Patti sums up how well the land trust’s interests align with theirs: “Everything the land trust wants for the property, we want as landowners.”
Today, a conservation easement on the Cunhas’ property restricts future development and ensures that the fish and wildlife habitat Joe and Patti have worked so hard to maintain will be preserved forever. With funding through the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the Bonneville Power Administration, BMLT was able to purchase the conservation easement. The financial benefits of the sale will also give the Cunhas fexibility in their estate planning and help them keep the land in their family.