Cuenca de Los Ojos

Ensuring the conservation of nine private ranches certified as Areas Voluntarily Destined for Conservation

The Project

The project aims to ensure the long-term conservation of nine private ranches certified as Areas Voluntarily Destined for Conservation (ADVC, acronym in Spanish) in the north of Sonora state.


The Sierra Madre Occidental region, which encompasses northeastern Sonora in Mexico and borders the southern border of Arizona in the United States, is recognized worldwide as a center of biodiversity. It represents a key binational biological corridor for many native and migratory wildlife species, many of which are threatened or endangered. Mrs. Anna Valer Clark and her family, through her organization Cuenca de Los Ojos, A.C. (CLO, acronym in Spanish), have dedicated the last 40 years to restoring and protecting these extraordinary Mexican ecosystems. Thanks to her work, more than 53,000 hectares of native grassland and scrubland have been restored, and important wetlands have been recovered. This territory is conserved through nine properties under CLO stewardship in northeastern Sonora.

FMCN, CLO, and the Wyss Foundation have agreed to a partnership in which Wyss provides $10 million in equity to manage nine ADVC-certified properties. FMCN is in charge of the financial management of the endowment and channels annual returns that fund an Annual Operating Plan for the CLO properties. Annual returns from the endowment, contributed by the Wyss Foundation, are used to cover the costs of maintaining and managing the properties. At the same time, FMCN provides counterpart resources for grassland restoration, wildlife monitoring, fire management, research, and environmental education activities.

The lines of work that guide the actions of CLO are:

  1. Efficient administration of the nine CLO properties.
  2. Effective administration of the nine CLO properties.

The project implemented by CLO aims to ensure the long-term conservation of nine ADVC-certified private ranches in northern Sonora.


Currently, the CLO team is implementing CONABIO's Permanent Biodiversity Monitoring and Calibration Sites methodology to determine the conservation status of the region's grasslands. As part of its environmental education activities, CLO collaborates with elementary schools in Agua Prieta and high schools in Hermosillo to disseminate the importance of water care and management, as well as the conservation of the deserts of Sonora and Chihuahua. In addition, together with neighboring ranches, it maintains areas for composting and planting vegetables and fruits.

In addition, during the first half of 2022, fires were attended as part of fire management activities, and water wells were installed on different ranches. CLO personnel participated in the Ranching for Profit course in Chihuahua, from which they learned lessons to implement in the management of their ranches.
Learn more about the project:



      • Ford Foundation
      • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
      • The Summit Foundation
      • The Wyss Foundation
      • Wick Communications


      • Cuenca de Los Ojos, A.C.