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The Madrean Archipelago is one of the most ecologically diverse and rich landscapes in western North America. With Mountains reaching over 9,000 feet and valleys lying 6,000 feet below, the area comprises several biological zones: pine forests give way to oak savannahs, mesquite-studded grasslands yield to mixed desert. More than 70 animal species are indigenous to this area, and still more use it as a migratory corridor.

… a biodiversity hot spot of life, found nowhere else in the world – Conservation International


For decades, biologists have been aware of the devastating effects of poor land management on the rich biological resources found in this unique and rugged landscape. CLO was founded in the 1990s with the mission to preserve large portions of this area to help the migration of birds and animals coming north.



CLO’s work fits into  much larger area of conservation focus stretching 200 miles long and 70 miles wide, and is part of an astonishing collaboration of those who have a deep understanding of ecological values: 

map of conservation area


To the north, the Malpai Borderlands Group and the Animas Foundation have protected more than a million acres, and the US Fish and Wildlife and the US Forest Service manage sizable areas rich in habitat and natural resources.

To the south and east, the Nature Conservancy and Pronatura Noreste have protected important Chihuahuan Desert Habitat. To the south, Naturalia and the Northern jaguar Project have preserved vast areas vital as the northern most breeding ground for the migrating jaguar. The map presents in light red CLO’s lands and their role as bridge between the US – Mexico protected areas.



Adjacent to each other, but on opposite sides of the international border between the United States and Mexico, are the 2,369-acre San Bernardino National Wildlife Refugeand the 25,000-acres managed by CLO, which includes the Rancho San Bernardino, Rancho Las Anitas, and Rancho El Fisz.

The primary role of the refuge is the sustainability and recovery of native fish in the Río Yaqui Basin. Because successful projects benefit both sides of the border, management activities are coordinated and designed to benefit the landscape.  To ensure progress, both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and CLO share in the interest and problem solving and strive to find innovative ways to complement the other’s efforts. To learn more, click here.