Placer Land Trust Preserves 223 acres in Roseville
Easement protects Reason Farms Environmental Preserve along
Pleasant Grove Creek
By Jeff Darlington
On August 15th, Placer Land Trust recorded a conservation easement on 223 acres owned by the City of Roseville, protecting important habitat and grazing land and expanding Roseville’s 1,700-acre “Reason Farms Environmental Preserve.”
PLT worked with the City of Roseville as part of PLT’s West Placer Habitat Protection Program to record the conservation easement.
The easement permanently protects this property and it’s conservation values.
The property sits on the north bank of Pleasant Grove Creek near Pettigrew Road, and includes upland habitat, vernal pools, annual grasslands, and grazing land.
“This is the third successful project of our West Placer Habitat Protection Program,” said PLT President Bob Cooley-Gilliom. “We’ve now preserved over 1,000 acres through this program, with the prospect of adding 1,000 more within the next year.”
“Additionally, this is the fourth project we’ve completed with a public agency landowner,” he said.
Placer Land Trust is pioneering the model of public-private land conservation partnerships. Last year, PLT assisted in the acquisition of Placer County’s 16-acre Cisco Grove Gould Park, and worked with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to preserve 135 acres along the North Fork American River. PLT also holds an easement on the 4-acre Auburn School Park Preserve, owned by the City of Auburn.
The Reason Farms project continues in this tradition of partnership. The property will be managed by the City of Roseville through an Operations and Management (O&M) Plan. The O&M Plan was crafted by all of the project parties to ensure the permanent health of the property as critical habitat for vernal pool fairy shrimp and Swainson’s hawk.
The protection of the property offers mitigation for the loss of similar habitat in western Roseville. As such, two federal agencies — the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — reviewed the O&M Plan and will monitor the City’s compliance with the plan.
As holder of the conservation easement, PLT will monitor the property to ensure that the terms of the conservation easement are being upheld, and that the property’s overall conservation values are being protected for future generations.
In addition to managing the property and the habitat, the City of Roseville will also lease the property out as grazing land, subject to the terms of the easement and O&M Plan. Grazing income will be re-invested back into PLT’s West Placer Habitat Protection Program.
“We’re fortunate to have worked with PLT and others to protect the Reason Farms property,” said Mark Morse, Environmental Coordinator for the City of Roseville. “It contains some of the highest value riparian habitat on Pleasant Grove Creek, and provides tremendous opportunities for large-scale resource preservation and compatible passive recreation.”
The 223-acre property is part of the City of Roseville’s 1,700-acre Reason Farms preserve that will include a flood control retention basin, hiking trails, bicycle and equestrian trails, ponds, parks, picnic and camping areas — all amid a huge nature reserve.
“The Reason Farms project is a great example of how a flood control project can be designed to provide multiple community benefits,” added Morse.
4th Annual Placer Harvest Celebration
Set for October 15
By Jeff Darlington
The 4th annual Placer Harvest Celebration dinner and silent auction will be held on Saturday, Oct. 15, from 6-9pm at the Sunset Center in Rocklin.
“This event celebrates the local farmers and ranchers that contribute so much to our local economy, environment, and quality of life,” said event coordinator Kit Veerkamp.
This year’s event will feature contributions from the Placer County chapter of Slow Food. Slow Food is an international association that promotes food and wine culture, and also defends food and agricultural biodiversity worldwide.
Invitations will be mailed to PLT members next month. To inquire about tickets and/or volunteer or sponsorship opportunities, contact PLT at (530) 887-9222.
From the Board Room
Land Stewardship Over the Long Haul
PLT Receives Grant Funds
PLT was recently awarded two grants to help ensure that it’s County-wide land conservation work is supported.
PLT received $35,000 from the Preserving Wild California program of the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation (RLFF), and $15,000 from Emigrant Trails Greenway Trust (ETGT).
These two grants support PLT’s capacity-building efforts, including training and consultant work designed to increase PLT’s base of support and broaden it’s strategic partnerships. A critical goal of both grants is to enable PLT to balance it’s West Placer Habitat Protection Program with it’s other land conservation efforts throughout Placer County.
A portion of the ETGT grant is specifically for PLT’s conservation easement monitoring expenses at the Auburn School Park Preserve.
PLT would like to thank RLFF and ETGT for their generous support of Placer County land conservation!
Has your annual membership expired?
If so, please renew today!
Your Placer Land Trust membership expiration date is printed on your address label. If your membership has expired, please take a moment today to send us your annual contribution using the enclosed response card. Placer Land Trust relies on our membership support to provide critical operational funding to implement our mission. With your help, Placer Land Trust can continue to work with willing landowners and conservation partners to preserve natural lands and family farms and ranches in Placer County for future generations.
Retiring Planning Director Named
Fred Yeager to be honored by Placer Land Trust on Thursday, August 25 in Rocklin
By Jessica Pierce
Placer Land Trust is proud to honor retiring Placer County Planning Director Fred Yeager with our 2005 Placer Conservator Award.
“Placer Land Trust’s Placer Conservator Award is given to extraordinary individuals who enhance the quality of life in Placer County through resource conservation,” said PLT Executive Director Jeff Darlington.
“Fred personifies these qualities, and has served Placer County extremely well throughout our booming population growth,” Darlington added. “He has done a very admirable job keeping development consistent with the County’s General Plan, and has demonstrated his understanding and belief that growth is best balanced with the protection of the very resources that attract people to Placer County.”
Yeager retired last week from a long and successful career at Placer County. He was a County employee for 33 years, the last 16 as Planning Director.
Praise for Yeager and his accomplishments has come from all over Placer County, especially from those who have worked closely with him.
“Fred’s goal has always been to serve the interests and concerns of the community of Placer County,” said Loren Clark, Placer County’s Assistant Director of Planning. “He’s always treated this job as through the perspective of being a public servant, and he gets the highest form of respect from me for that perspective.”
As Planning Director, Yeager established the Code Enforcement Division, a GIS system, an automated permit tracking system, and countless other improvements to the planning process. Most importantly, he was responsible for leading Placer County through its largest period of growth in history, balancing the demands of rapid growth with a consideration for the natural resources that make our area so desirable.
“Fred Yeager’s involvement in the planning process for Thunder Valley Casino was essential in helping our tribe break a vicious cycle of poverty,” said Jessica Tavares, Chair of the United Auburn Indian Community, an event sponsor. “With his help, we are now economically self sufficient and our business is generating thousands of jobs for others in the region. Fred’s positive influence on Placer County is a legacy that his family can be proud of.”
Yeager has been recognized by many organizations for his innnovative approaches to land use planning and conservation. In particular, his implementation of the Placer Legacy Open Space & Agricultural Conservation Program led to the Governor’s Award for Environmental and Economic Leadership in 2002, and the naming of Placer County as one of 20 “nature friendly communities” in America.
The five members of the Placer County Board of Supervisors are acting as honorary event co-Chairs for the August 25, 2005 Placer Conservator Event in Rocklin, in support of Placer Land Trust and in honor of Yeager’s long service to the County.
“Fred is one of the most knoweledgeable and experienced planners I’ve ever dealt with,” said Supervisor Ted Gaines. “He has shown incredible expertise and insight, particularly with the implementation of our Placer Legacy Program.”
Attending and sponsoring the event are representatives of many businesses from the building and planning community who have worked closely with Yeager and the Planning Dept. over the years.
“Placer County has benefited greatly through the work of Fred Yeager,” said Randy Wall of R&B Engineering, an event sponsor. “Fred exemplifies many of R&B’s work ethics, including going the extra mile to define and clarify expectations, constantly seeking ways to improve relationships, and keeping promises.”
Proceeds from the Placer Conservator Event will help fund Placer Land Trust’s efforts to preserve natural lands and working farms and ranches in Placer County for future generations. The Placer Conservator Opportunity Fund is used by PLT to work with willing landowners to protect lands with extraordinary conservation values that are under immediate threat by development or other inconsistent land uses.
Also on hand at the August 25 event will be Tom Cosgrove, field representative for State Assemblyman Tim Leslie. Cosgrove will present Yeager with a resolution from the California Legislature — authored by Leslie and Senator Dave Cox — in honor of Yeager’s accomplishments.
Yeager’s role in implementing the Placer Legacy Program has led to the permanent protection of over 4,000 acres in Placer County, including the Spears Ranch (pictured at left).
Placer Land Trust works in partnership with the award-winning Placer Legacy Program and other organizations in protecting land in Placer County. Like Fred Yeager Honored by PLT as Placer Conservator PLT, Placer Legacy works only with willing landowners.
At the end of 2004, PLT and Placer Legacy completed their first project together, working with the Gould family to acquire the Cisco Grove Gould Park (pictured below). This beautiful 16-acre property lies along the South Fork Yuba River and contains the original grove of cottonwood trees for which Cisco Grove was named. Using grant funds from the California Resources Agency, Placer County will create a public park on a portion of the property at the Cisco Grove exit of Interstate 80, while the balance will remain in it’s wild state as a nature preserve.
PLT is grateful for the support of many individuals and organizations who made the 2005 Placer Conservator Event a success. In addition to our event sponsors, PLT thanks Aldo Pineschi, Loren Clark, Simona Krebs, Janice Freeman, and Joanne Neft.
Special thanks go out to the Chair of this year’s Event & Award Committee for his inspiration and tireless work: Dennis C. Revell of Revell Communications. Without Dennis’ support, this event would never have happened.
And finally, Placer Land Trust thanks Fred Yeager for his willingness to support PLT through this event, and for his efforts to enrich the quality of life in Placer County through resource conservation.
Family Farming & Ranching
Eat Fresh and Eat Local – It’s Good Business
By Joanne Neft
Folks involved in Placer County agriculture have started a movement to savor the flavor of foods grown locally each and every day of the harvest season.
With the bounty of fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, greens, eggs, dairy, poultry and beef products produced in the foothills, it’s a healthful way to serve up sustenance, with added benefits on the side.
Buying locally – from Farmers’ Markets, produce stands or directly from growers – sustains agriculture as a viable industry, while making consumers aware of the kinship between the land and the platter. And, supporting farmers on a local level means retaining the rural landscape that shapes the foothills’ quality of life.
Placer County growers specialize in citrus, stone fruit, honey, nuts, seeds, olives, berries, greens, grains or animal products. And there are juices, ciders and wines produced locally to complement the fresh food goods.
Many of the farms, ranches and wineries offer direct sales to customers; many sell by appointment only; some are pick-your-own style; others are boxed or pre-packaged.
“In August and September, there are so many things being harvested in this county: melons, peppers, eggplants, squashes, berries, potatoes, onions, tomatoes – you name it,” said Jan Thompson of Newcastle Produce. “But we enjoy such a long growing season in this area that we have local harvests coming in almost all year round, with crops of winter vegetables and a variety of citrus, including Placer County’s famously sweet and tangy Mountain Mandarins.”
It’s not just a good way to eat healthy; it’s also good business and a way to keep Placer County farmers growing strong.
For more information or to request a PlacerGROWN Agriculture Guide, call the Placer County Agriculture Marketing Program at (916) 663-9126. For locations of Farmers’ Markets, call (530) 823-6183 or visit www.foothillfarmersmarket.com.
Note: This is part of an ongoing series highlighting the value of local agricultural lands and the landowners who work those lands.
California Black Oak
By Mehrey Vaghti
The California black oak (Quercus kelloggii; Fagaceae) is the largest mountain oak in the West. It surpasses all other California oaks in volume, distribution and altitudinal range.
In the foothills region of Placer County, California black oak foliage adds wonderful seasonal color to the landscape: pink in spring; bright green in summer; and yellow in fall.
The five-inch, 5-7 lobed spiney-tipped leaves destiguish it from other oaks in the region. On favorable sites, black oaks can reach heights of 90 feet with spreading, open canopies and four-foot trunk diameters.
The acorns mature in the second year and are an important food source for many animals including bear, squirrels, deer, jays and acorn woodpeckers. Traditionally, the acorns were a staple food of many Native American tribes. Black oaks must be 30 years or older before producing viable seed and are at peak production from 80-200 years. Frequent, low intensity fires keep oak production up and pests in check.
The black oak is a deciduous hardwood tree, and can be found from 200-6,000 feet in mixed oak woodland and ponderosa pine forest. They can be found on many of PLT’s preserved properties, including the Auburn School Park Preserve.
See www.californiaoaks.org for information about oak tree care and oak woodlands conservation. For more information about Placer County’s Oak Woodland Management Plan, see www.placer.ca.gov.
Note: This is part of an ongoing series highlighting some of the many native plants found in Placer County.
PLT Welcomes Program Associate: Jessica Pierce
New employee brings nonprofit administration and project management skills, fundraising experience, and love of outdoor recreation
By Jeff Darlington
Placer Land Trust is happy to welcome Jessica Pierce to our staff.
“With our new West Placer Habitat Protection Program (WPHPP) up and running, we quickly found we needed help to manage the increased workload,” said PLT President Bob Cooley-Gilliom.
Jessica was hired as a Program Associate in July, making her PLT’s second employee. Funding for her position is provided through the WPHPP and private foundation grants.
Raised in rural Georgetown, Jessica spent over 18 years in the foothills of Placer and El Dorado Counties. During her summer breaks while attending Humboldt State University, where she earned a B.A. in Geography and a minor in Political Science, Jessica would work for the El Dorado National Forest and Blodgett Experimental Forest, a research station managed by UC Berkeley.
“Growing up with the outdoors at my front door, as well as working in the local forests as a kid, I learned to greatly appreciate open space,” Jessica said. “I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with Placer Land Trust to ensure that conservation and open space remain a balanced focal point during such a pivotal time of growth and development in Northern California.”
Jessica has spent the majority of her professional career in Humboldt County, California and Central Oregon where she acquired non-profit project management, fundraising and grant writing experience working with youth, community development, and in the public policy arena.
Avid climbers, skiers and kayakers, Jessica and her husband Josh are very excited to have moved back to the area where she was raised.
“The foothills are a wonderful place to live and work,” said Jessica. “You have the best of all worlds: world class skiing, the best rivers in the West, and I’m still close enough to go surfing on the weekends. I couldn’t be happier for the opportunity to balance my professional life with my love for the outdoors.”
Jessica and her husband live in Georgetown with their Australian shepherd Ruby.
Planned Giving Update
Placer Land Trust is pleased to announce a unique fund raising opportunity offered by Therese A. Adams, Esq. founding partner of Adams & Hayes Law in Lincoln, and PLT Advisor.
The firm specializes in Estate Planning and Elder Law, including land conservation issues. Ms. Adams is offering PLT members and supporters the opportunity to create or revise your Estate Plan using the legal services of Adams & Hayes Law. A portion of the fee paid for these services will be donated to PLT in your name.
Making a Will or Trust is something that people often put off, however, having your affairs in order is one of the most loving gifts you can give to your family. So combine your wish to support PLT and have your Estate Plan prepared! Call Ms. Adams at (916) 434-2550 for an appointment, and remember to mention that you are a PLT supporter!
Miscellaneous Notes …
PLT is looking for qualified persons to serve on our Fundraising Committee, and also to serve on our Board of Directors …
Land Lines is available via email for PLT members that request it, and is posted on our website as well …
For more details, call (530) 887-9222.
Also, PLT thanks Larry Welch, Jim Haagen-Smit and Hewlett Packard for the donation of a laptop computer. THANKS!
PLT to Partner with OTAPS and Community Foundation on New (Old) Auburn Office
By Linda Raimondi
In October, Placer Land Trust plans to move to a new office location in Auburn that will more adequately accommodate our new staff and office requirements.
For the past couple of years, PLT has been fortunate to have it’s office at the American River Canyon Overlook Park in Auburn. The Auburn Area Recreation District (ARD) has leased us our office here for the cost of utilities. PLT wishes to thank ARD for this arrangement, which has been both economical and easy.
However, with the addition of a new staff person and the need for new workstations, PLT is moving on. Our new office will be a restored Victorian building on Maple Street in Old Town Auburn, just below the historic Placer County Courthouse.
The Old Town Auburn Preservation Society (OTAPS) owns the building and is leading volunteer efforts to restore and remodel the building in conjunction with the City’s “Project Auburn.”
In partnership with the Placer Community Foundation, PLT will contribute funds to the remodel of the building, in exchange for long-term rent offsets. PLT and the Community Foundation will occupy the second floor of the building (a medical museum will be on the first floor).
“We’re very excited to move into the new office,” said Executive Director Jeff Darlington. “Not only will it become our permanent home with a guaranteed long-term lease at a highly visible location, but the historic nature of the building matches well with our mission to preserve important resources in Placer County.”
The remodel effort is still underway; PLT and the Community Foundation hope to move into the new office in early October.
Keep your eyes open for an invitation to an Open House later this fall … we hope you can join us to see our new digs!
Executive Director’s Report
Eminent Domain vs. Private Property Rights
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that a public agency could use the power of eminent domain to take private property for the purposes of development. (Yikes!)
Eminent domain has always trumped most private property rights, but this ruling seems to have gone too far. It’s led to an immediate backlash and the creation of an odd coalition: conservatives who see the ruling as big government running amok over private property rights, and liberals who see it as an example of big business trampling civil liberties and the environment.
Lawmakers across the nation and political spectrum — Republicans, Democrats, and yes, even Socialists! — have expressed their uniform displeasure at this ruling. Bills have been introduced in Congress and in more than half the state legislatures that would restrict the use of eminent domain for private development.
In Washington DC, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly adopted an unusual resolution deploring the Court’s ruling, and the Senate is working on legislation to limit the uses of eminent domain to seize property for private development.
As Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) said: “There’s something about taking away your property that makes all Americans angry.” And Rep. Maxine Walters (D-Los Angeles) called the court ruling, “the most un-American thing that could be done.”
In Sacramento, similar legislation is being proposed by State Senators Dean Florez (D-Shafter) and Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks). As McClintock said: “Nobody should have to worry about losing your home to some politically connected developer.”
Obviously, the Supreme Court’s ruling concerns conservation groups, who question whether it might allow government to take private land (including protected family farms, ranches, and natural areas) through eminent domain simply for development purposes.
Personally, the ruling doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy feeling. But although I recognize the possible threat the ruling represents, I also know that the real test will be to see how it is interpreted at the State and local level.
Eminent domain in itself is not a bad thing; it just needs to be used in the best interests of the public, like it’s supposed to!
As a private nonprofit organization with accreditation from the IRS and the Land Trust Alliance, Placer Land Trust works with willing landowners to preserve land in the best interests of the public, and we will continue to do so, no matter what.