December 17, 2009
JENNER HEADLANDS — PROTECTED FOREVER!
After a five-year quest, and in spite of significant hurdles related to California’s economic crisis, the Sonoma Land Trust closed escrow today and acquired the stunning 5,630-acre Jenner Headlands — a nationally significant project and the single largest conservation land acquisition in Sonoma County. This $36 million purchase was completed due to the extraordinary efforts and collaboration of 10 public and private funding partners.
“This is an example of what can be achieved, even in these challenging times, when we work together,” said Amy Chesnut, Sonoma Land Trust acquisitions director and manager of this project from the outset. “We’ve been fortunate to have conservation-minded landowners and enthusiastic partners all willing to do what was necessary to make this deal succeed. It’s been an outstanding collaboration on behalf of the public and future generations.”
Celebrating the season
SLT members made merry and enjoyed delicious local fare at our annual holiday party at the White Barn in Glen Ellen last weekend. Renowned author Jonah Raskin wrote a poem, “Trust the Land,” special for the occasion and read from his new book, Field Days.
Enjoy the poem and more photos
Troughs on Tolay help protect native plants
The Tolay Creek Ranch Riparian Enhancement Plan has just been completed, capping a busy year of natural and cultural resource studies and reports. The plan describes a vision of Tolay Creek in full riparian splendor, with clean water flowing in the channel, healthy native trees and shrubs lining the banks, and well-managed livestock grazing to help keep the natural systems healthy. Thanks to grants from the Moore Foundation and the Natural Resources Conservation Service Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, we have just finished installing livestock watering troughs to better manage the distribution of cows on the property. Next year, we will complete our grazing management plan and install fencing to keep cows out of the creek. Well-managed cows are one of the keys to maintaining healthy populations of native wildflowers and native grasses.
Species moving up higher and north
SLT staffers Wendy Eliot and Tony Nelson attended the Laguna Foundation Conference focusing on climate change and its effect on conservation. Amid a lot of uncertainty, it is clear that global warming is already here — species’ migrations and range contractions driven by climate change are well documented. Scientists are saying that species are responding to warming temperatures by moving higher in elevation and further north. Sonoma County, with its proximity to the coast and topographic diversity, is likely to remain a biodiversity hot spot. So the consensus is that the best hedge against climate change impacts to biodiversity is to build large, connected preserves with resilience to change. This is consistent with SLT’s approach to land protection in the Baylands and along the coast at the Jenner Headlands. Yes, we do live in interesting times and we’ll stay engaged and informed so we, too, can be resilient to this changing environment.
Ballot measure to support state parks
The California State Parks Foundation and related partners have filed a proposed statewide ballot measure to create a long-term, sustainable funding mechanism to keep state parks open and accessible for Californians. The "California State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2010" calls on Californians to support the state park system and wildlife conservation areas by paying $18 annually for a State Park Access Pass surcharge on vehicle license fees. Volunteers are now needed to gather signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot.
Click here for more information
Double the value of your year-end gift
Jean Schulz has pledged $2 million to save our open lands, but her generous pledge must be matched, dollar for dollar. So far, we have raised $1.1 million — we’re more than halfway there! Each gift saves land, protects wildlife habitat, adds miles of trails and provides more public access. Here are three easy ways to donate:
1. Make a special year-end gift to our Redwoods to the Bay: Saving Sonoma County Signature Landscapes campaign to protect our remaining large open spaces.
2. Purchase a holiday gift membership for your friends, co-workers and family members. Click here to purchase gift memberships.
3. Contribute from your IRA tax free if you are 70-½ or older. This provision will expire on December 31, 2009. Contact Beverly Scottland at (707) 526-6930, ext. 108 or Beverly@sonomalandtrust.org for instructions or questions.
Thank you and happy holidays from your friends at the
Sonoma Land Trust!
Read our Winter newsletter here