Preserving Sacred Land and Ceremonial and Gathering Rights for Native American Tribe
We helped a Native American tribe protect forever its original gathering and ceremonial site in Northern California. This particular piece of land is said to be the heart of this people’s original home. The tribal members begin their ceremonies by walking in procession through this area to reach a ceremonial site on the Trinity River. It was such an honor to be able to work on this project to ensure that this sacred place will never be developed and that the tribal members are given the right in perpetuity to use this land for gathering and ceremony. You can read more about this project here.
Mendocino County Ranch and Working Redwood Forest
We assisted a Mendocino County landowner to close a series of working forest conservation easements with the Save the Redwoods League, protecting 15,000 acres of old-growth redwood forest and ranch land, which the family has owned for nearly a century. We also counseled the family partnership regarding its carbon project and sale of carbon credits. More information about and photos of this spectacular ranch can be found here and here.
Conservation Financing to Support Active Agriculture on Long Island
We worked with a land trust on Long Island, New York, to purchase 33 acres of prime farmland, offsetting the significant acquisition cost by selling a conservation easement under the local town’s purchase of development rights (PDR) program. The conservation easement not only preserves the farmland itself but also imposes affirmative farming obligations to safeguard the agricultural legacy of the property as well as further reduce the value of the property to be affordable to farmers. Given the extraordinary land values on Long Island, it is becoming increasingly difficult for farmers to acquire farmland. After the conveyance of the easement, the property was sold to a local farmer.
Preserving Land for Artists in Michigan
We assisted a landowner to acquire and preserve with a conservation easement a remote undeveloped island in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The island now serves as the location of an artist residency program, where artists from around the world spend varying lengths of time (in the summer!) staying on the island and furthering their artistic ventures. You can learn more about this project at the program’s website and in a New York Times profile.
Largest Piece of Privately Owned Property in Napa and Lake Counties
We assisted a family with a conservation easement placed over a very large ranch in Napa and Lake Counties that has been held in the family for over 135 years. The easement funding was provided by several state agencies and private foundations, arranged by the Trust for Public Land. The easement is held by the Land Trust of Napa County.
Land Trust Partnership with Local Timber Company to Support Economy and Environment
We represented a land trust on the north coast of California on the acquisition of a donated conservation easement over nearly 10,000 acres of working forestland in Southern Humboldt County, preserving a watershed known to be among the last remaining strongholds for coho salmon in California. Immediately after the donation, the property was purchased by a timber company practicing FSC-certified forestry, so that the property will continue to contribute to the local timber economy while the ecological attributes are protected in perpetuity.
Preserving Public Recreation in Washington State
We helped a nonprofit trail association negotiate the acquisition of a critical piece of property along the Pacific Crest Trail, without which the 2,653-mile trail would have been interrupted.
Oak Woodland in San Luis Obispo County
We advised the property owner regarding its donation of a conservation easement of over 3,255 acres of pristine ranch land to The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, the Conservancy’s largest conservation easement gift in history.
Harold Richardson Redwoods Reserve in Sonoma
We assisted a legacy landowner in closing a land swap with Save the Redwoods League in northern Sonoma County. A 738-acre old-growth redwood forest cared for by the same family for over 100 years is now held by the Save the Redwoods League, which has named the property the “Harold Richardson Redwoods Reserve” at the family’s behest and will open the Reserve as a public park. The Harold Richardson Redwoods Reserve is a third larger than Muir Woods, has 47 percent more old-growth trees, and its tallest tree is eight feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. Harold Richardson, the family’s patriarch who passed away at age 96 in 2016, was a logger and rancher who refused to cut his beloved old-growth trees.
Acquisition of Historic Property for Habitat Preservation and Public Access in Northern California
We helped a nonprofit conservancy facilitate the acquisition of threatened coastal property by a conservation buyer, who then transferred the property to the conservancy. The 54-acre property, formerly owned by a lumber company, contains an important estuary and wetlands, which are critical habitat for many species of fish, including endangered Coho salmon and steelhead. The conservancy is now planning riverfront trails and river access for fishermen and paddlers. You can read more about this historic project here.
Wilcox Ranch, Solano County – Vernal pools
Mojave Desert solar mitigation, Los Angeles and Kern Counties – Desert tortoise, burrowing owl, Swainson’s hawk, Mojave ground squirrel, desert wash
Betteravia Ranch, Santa Barbara County – California tiger salamander
Other Sample Projects
Land Trust Policies and Procedures & Land Trust Staff Trainings
Prepare and review policies and procedures for local land trusts and national and state land trust groups regarding conflicts of interest, mitigation arrangements, amendments, and stewardship. Conduct staff trainings regarding policies and procedures.
Counseled several land trusts on formalizing land bequests from landowners wishing to donate land as part of their estate planning.
Landowner Conservation Easement Seminars and Information Materials
Presented numerous seminars for landowners wanting to learn more about conservation easement conveyances and tax benefits; developed materials for land trusts to present to landowners introducing conservation easement details and benefits.
California Senate Bill (SB) 182
Conservation Partners participated on small committee of conservation leaders in an effort to amend a recently enacted statute adding language related to fire suppression requirements in State-funded conservation easements to the California conservation easement enabling act (California Civil Code §§ 815-816). SB 182 intends to clarify and strengthen the language and minimize unintended negative consequences in State-funded conservation easement projects. It recently passed the Senate and is now in the Assembly.