Location: Montrose County
Size: 43 acres
Landowner: Colorado Natural Areas Program/Colorado Parks & Wildlife
Wacker Ranch Natural Area contains the Federally-endangered clay-loving wild buckwheat, which is known from only 16 populations globally and is ranked as globally and state imperiled (G2S2) by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program. The Wacker Ranch population of the clay-loving wild buckwheat is contiguous with the Fairview population on the Bureau of Land Management Area of Critical Environmental Concern. The Wacker Ranch and Fairview population is one of the largest and most viable populations of this globally imperiled plant in the world.
Wacker Ranch Natural Area is one of the few remaining undeveloped privately-owned Adobe Hills habitats found in western Colorado, and supports a relatively undisturbed black sage community. The exposure of Mancos shale that forms the substrate for the habitat is highly expansive bentonite clay that forms relatively unique ‘popcorn’ soil formations.
Wacker Ranch Natural Area contains a rich diversity of lichen and soil crust communities, including Aspicilia fruticulosa, which is a fruticose lichen ranked as critically imperiled in Colorado (G3S1) by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program.