Facts & FAQ: Weger Ranch

cows grazing in a meadow at the edge of redwood forest
Save the Redwoods League has secured an opportunity to purchase a conservation easement on the 3,862-acre Weger Ranch. Photo by Max Forster (@maxforsterphotography) for Save the Redwoods League.

KEY FACTS

  • Weger Ranch is 3,862 acres.
    • It contains 3,181 acres of coast redwood and Douglas-fir forest and 681 acres of grassland.
    • While most of the forest is second growth, there are nearly 400 scattered individual old-growth redwood and Douglas-fir trees.
    • It is the largest non-industrial, private forest in the Big River watershed.
  • Located in Mendocino County, approximately 10 miles west of Ukiah as the crow flies.
  • The ranch is adjacent to Bureau of Land Management parcels and Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve.
    • It shares 1.25 miles of boundary with Montgomery Woods State Reserve to the north of the southern portion of the Weger Ranch parcels.
    • The property also shares 4 miles of boundary with BLM scattered parcels.
    • To the west the property is flanked by Mendocino Redwoods Company land, as well as scattered private parcels.
  • There are two active Non-industrial Timber Management Plans (NTMP) on 2,394 acres of the Weger Ranch property.
    • Under these plans, timber is harvested at a rate that is lower than the growth rate of the forest and individually selected, resulting in a diverse forest structure.
    • Since 1996, the property has been harvested twice (portions of the property three times)
    • The property contains 63 million board feet of timber on the entire Ranch.
  • There are 37 legal parcels with certificates of compliance on the Ranch, and the landowners wish to retire development rights on all but three parcels.
  • Seven creek headwaters are located on the property, all of which drain into the Big River watershed, a critical coastal watershed for imperiled salmon species.
    • The property also contains 2.75 miles of steelhead and coho salmon streams, including 1 mile of chinook salmon stream.
  • Weger Ranch provides habitat for northern spotted owls, goshawks, white-tailed kites, peregrine falcons, and golden eagles (winter habitat), as well as foothill yellow-legged frogs, bears, and mountain lions.
    • The landowners are currently in the process of signing a Permanent Spotted Owl Safe Harbor Agreement with US Fish & Wildlife Service.

 

FAQs


What is being protected?

The property is 3,862 acres, including 3,066 acres of coast redwood and Douglas-fir forest and nearly 400 old-growth trees scattered throughout the property. Sixty-two acres of reserve areas will be established where the forest will be allowed to return to old-growth condition. There are seven creek headwaters on the property, all of which drain into the Big River watershed, a critical coastal watershed for imperiled salmon species. The property contains 2.75 miles of steelhead and coho salmon streams, including 1 mile of chinook salmon stream. The property also provides habitat for northern spotted owls, goshawks, white-tailed kites, peregrine falcons, and golden eagles (winter habitat), as well as foothill yellow-legged frogs, bears, and mountain lions.

What is the condition of the forest in Weger Ranch?

While the forest was heavily logged in the past, the ranch is under two active Non-Industrial Timber Management Plans on 2,394 acres, in which trees are harvested at a rate that is lower than the growth rate of the forest. Timber harvests under this plan have focused on removing small, unhealthy trees to promote the growth of the larger, more vigorous trees. This brings back diversity in tree sizes and age classes, which are characteristics of a healthy forest.

Why is now the time to purchase a conservation easement on this property?

The League is acting on an opportunity to acquire this easement from landowners with whom we have an established relationship so that we can strengthen protections around the old-growth forest of Montgomery Woods. With the land’s proximity to Ukiah, a major commercial center in Mendocino County, there’s a high possibility that Weger Ranch could be subdivided and developed.