LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — A conservation group bought a 4.5-square-mile (11.7-square-kilometer) ranch in Idaho with the purpose of protecting bighorn sheep.

Portland, Oregon-based Western Rivers Conservancy purchased the Ten Mile Creek Ranch near Lewiston last week, the Lewiston Tribune reported .

The property, which was owned by Rick Rupp of Port Townsend, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona, includes a 5,000-square-foot (465-square-meter) primary residence, a 2,000-square-foot (186-suare-meter) caretaker's home and about 4 miles (6 kilometers) of waterfront property along the Snake River.

But the bulk of the land is undeveloped.

Western Rivers Conservancy leaders are still formulating plans for the land but say their interest in making the acquisition was to protect habitat for bighorn sheep.

"This is some of the most important bighorn habitat in the Pacific Northwest," said Zach Spector, the group's project operations director. "The seller's vision for the property aligned perfectly with our mission to keep the West's great rivers healthy for fish and wildlife, and the outcome will be positive across the board."

Spector declined to say how much the conservancy paid for the property, but it was listed for $7.9 million in 2014.

Rupp and his wife, Diane Rupp, are retaining 0.06 square miles (0.16 square kilometers) along the river. He said the couple doesn't have any plans for the parcel but wanted to keep it to stay connected to the greater Lewiston-Clarkston community.

"I've enjoyed the community a lot. I just haven't spent enough time there."

___

Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com