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.


In its more than 50,000 hectares, CLO continues to work on the conservation of priority grasslands and ecosystems. It collaborates with different national and international organizations and universities to conserve native and ecologically important species based on scientific research. Some species benefiting from these efforts are the black bear (Ursus americanus), the jaguar (Panthera onca), the puma (Puma concolor), the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), the American beaver (Castor canadiensis), the mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus ), the Yaqui catfish (Ictalurus pricei), the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), among other species of resident and migratory birds. In particular, CLO has joined forces with the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) to monitor species through the Permanent Biodiversity Calibration and Monitoring Sites (SiPeCaM) tool, with which the presence of black bear, deer, and puma.

Regarding environmental education, CLO has maintained a good relationship with various primary and upper secondary education institutions, giving informative talks to students on habitat conservation and priority species. The organization of herbal workshops with the Douglas-Prieta women's collective stands out, as it promotes work with communities and the promotion of conservation and sustainable use of resources.

Recently, CLO staff successfully completed the Regenerative Ranch Management course, and all the knowledge acquired is expected to be implemented within the different ranches to meet the established management and conservation goals.

During the second half of 2023, the CLO team continued developing a grazing plan and training in regenerative ranch management. With CONABIO, 16 sites have been monitored with the SiPeCaM tool using photo traps and audio captures. Likewise, close collaboration was established with the main actors of the state in the field of fire management, among them the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), the National Commission of Protected Areas (CONANP), and the rural brigades. That year, CLO participated in environmental education talks in schools and supported holding the second herbal workshop of the Douglas-Prieta women's collective.
Learn more about the project:



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