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 northern Sonora through effective administration and management.


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. The organization Cuenca de Los Ojos (CLO) manages the ADVC of the same name, located in northeastern Sonora. For more than 30 years, the CLO team has worked hard to conserve and restore the ecosystems present in the U.S.-Mexico border region to protect the natural capital in this region, where Las Islas del Cielo, the Sierra Madre Occidental, the Chihuahuan Desert, and the Sonoran Desert are located, generating a unique biodiversity of flora and fauna.

FMCN, CLO, and the Wyss Foundation collaborate to achieve the long-term conservation of the ADVC. The Wyss Foundation provides endowment resources, the returns from which are channeled annually to CLO to manage the properties. In contrast, FMCN provides matching resources for strategic conservation and management activities in the ADVC.

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.


On its more than 50,000 hectares, CLO has restored riparian areas by implementing rock structures such as gabions and trenches, which help retain rainwater, prevent soil erosion, and promote increased plant cover on the soil. Through controlled burning and rotational grazing, CLO has worked to eliminate and control exotic species, aerate soils, and manage pastures.

CLO collaborates with different national and international organizations and universities to conserve native and ecologically important species based on scientific research; Some of the species benefiting from these efforts are the black bear (Ursus americanus), jaguar (Panthera eleven), puma (Puma concolor), ocelot (Leopardus pardales), American beaver (Castor canadienses), Tura deer (Odocoileus hemionus), Yaqui catfish (Ictalurus precie), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), among other species of resident and migratory birds.

During 2022, CLO staff participated in different forums, such as the Ranching for Profit course, the Annual Regenerative Ranch Management Meeting, the 1st Sustainable Grazing Network Livestock Meeting, and the 4th Grazing Management Forum. CLO shared and acquired new tools for sustainable ranch management in all these events.

On the other hand, the Rancho Nuevo property hosted the specialized course Prescribed Burning Academy 2022, in charge of Conafor, in which firefighters and technicians learned fire management techniques, the use of forestry tools, compass, GPS, and pumping equipment. The event provided CLO, Conanp, and municipal and state Civil Protection personnel training.

CLO has strengthened ties with organizations such as the Universities of Arizona, Northern Arizona and Sonora, Borderlands Restoration Network, Sky Island Alliance, Profauna, Naturalia, Wildlands Network, Boomitra, Innovaciones Alumbra, and Rancho Cacachilas

Learn more about the project:



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