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State Saves Redwood Forests Near Silicon Valley From Development

Photo by  William K. Matthias
Photo by William K. Matthias

STATE SAVES REDWOOD FORESTS NEAR SILICON VALLEY FROM DEVELOPMENT
More than 8,500 acres of redwood forestland and wildlife habitat in the heart of Santa Cruz Mountains Protected Forever

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (August 28, 2014) — The State of California has stepped in to save more than 8,500 acres of redwood forestlands, waterways and wildlife habitat near Silicon Valley from development. In an 2-0 vote, members of the California Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) granted $10 million to Save the Redwoods League to establish a conservation agreement that will permanently protect San Vicente Redwoods (formerly CEMEX Redwoods). The agreement prohibits subdivision of land and extinguishes all development rights.

San Vicente Redwoods is the largest single parcel of redwood forestland between Silicon Valley and the Pacific Ocean. Located in the Santa Cruz Mountains, it stretches 6 miles long and 2 1/2 miles wide. Less than an hour’s drive from California’s bustling San Francisco Bay Area, where approximately 8 million people live and work, the property offers outstanding potential for public recreation.

Threatened with development and subdivision, San Vicente Redwoods received a reprieve in 2011 when two land trust organizations, Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) and Sempervirens Fund, purchased the property. However, neither POST nor Sempervirens Fund had the financial resources to hold the property long term. They planned to sell or trade San Vicente Redwoods to permanent steward after securing a conservation easement, a legal agreement that would protect the land forever.

The WCB’s decision to grant $10 million to Save the Redwoods League to complete the conservation easement for San Vicente Redwoods opens the land to public recreation, additional scientific research and educational activities, as well as sustainable timber harvesting on portions of the property. The State of California Coastal Conservancy voted to grant $2 million toward the project in October. POST and Sempervirens Fund will continue to hold the title and manage the property in partnership with the League. The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County is leading the effort to provide future public access to San Vicente Redwoods.

San Vicente Redwoods connects 27,500 acres of contiguous protected territory, providing habitat for rare animals and plants including the endangered California red-legged frog, federally endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout that live downstream from the property. San Vicente Redwoods is also home to ancient redwoods that will be protected in special reserves. Its streams provide crucial drinking water, and its 70 miles of unpaved roads offer outstanding potential for public recreation.

For images or to schedule an interview, please contact one of the individuals listed below. Editors, please note: All principals are in Sacramento at the WCB hearing on August 28.

Patsy Barich
Save the Redwoods League
Tel: (415) 596-5860
Email: patsy@bonmotpr.com
SaveTheRedwoods.org

Nina Nowak, Director of Communications
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST)
Tel: (650) 854-7696, x306
Email: nnowak@openspacetrust.org
openspacetrust.org

Reed Holderman, Executive Director
Sempervirens Fund
Tel: (650) 949-1453 or cell (510) 610-0517
Email: rholderman@sempervirens.org
sempervirens.org

Stephen Slade, Deputy Director
The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County
Tel: (831) 429-6116
Email: stephen.slade@landtrustsantacruz.org
landtrustsantacruz.org

About the Living Landscape Initiative:
The Living Landscape Initiative is a collaborative effort among five land conservation organizations in and around Silicon Valley. Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, The Nature Conservancy, Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), Save the Redwoods League and Sempervirens Fund are all working together to protect the unique natural benefits and striking beauty that nourish the area’s social and economic vitality. By creating a sustainable living landscape, the Initiative seeks to enhance our lives by promoting clean air and water, local farming and working lands, biodiversity and habitat protection for wildlife, and public enjoyment of natural lands. To learn more, visit www.livinglandscapeinitiative.org.


San Vicente Fact Sheet for San Vicente Redwoods

  • 8,532 acres in size; $30 million purchase price
  • Fee title was acquired on December 16, 2011, by Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) and Sempervirens Fund, in partnership with Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, Save the Redwoods League and The Nature Conservancy.
  • Comprises the largest expanse of intact unprotected redwoods and wildlife habitat in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
  • Contains Laguna Creek, a critical supply of drinking water for the city of Santa Cruz, and the headwaters of San Vicente Creek, sole source of drinking water for the town of Davenport.
  • Includes hundreds of old, large coast redwoods and Douglas-fir trees that may support populations of federally threatened marbled murrelet.
  • Includes 6,720 acres of coast redwood and Douglas-fir forest representing almost 5 percent of this type of forest in Santa Cruz County and almost 12 percent of the county’s productive forest land.
  • Includes 1,271 acres of live oak forest, including rare Oracle and Shreve oaks, large Pacific madrones, and endangered Anderson’s manzanitas.
  • Home to two animal species found nowhere else in the world: the Mount Hermon June beetle and the Zayante band-winged grasshopper.
  • Critical habitat for known populations of threatened and endangered animal species, including coho salmon, steelhead trout, California red-legged frog, mountain lion and peregrine falcon.
  • Home to four federally endangered plant species, including Ben Lomond spineflower, Santa Cruz wallflower, Ben Lomond buckwheat and Bonny Doon manzanita.
  • A potential ecological refuge against impacts of climate change in the Santa Cruz Mountains thanks to high elevation, proximity to the coast, extensive microclimates, ecological niches, perennial water sources and north-facing slopes.

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