912 acres preserved along Bear River
By Jessica Pierce
Placer Land Trust is pleased to announce the completion of our largest conservation project to date, the 912-acre Garden Bar Preserve.
PLT purchased a conservation easement from the landowner of the Garden Bar Preserve, situated along the Bear River northeast of Garden Bar Road in rural Lincoln.
“In addition to protecting water and air quality, this conservation easement guarantees that one of the largest remaining wild areas in western Placer County will be preserved for future generations,” said PLT Executive Director Jeff Darlington.
Garden Bar Preserve is situated at the northern end of Placer County’s largest unfragmented expanse of oak woodlands, and is home to hundreds of plant and animal species. The conservation easement allows for continued livestock grazing, but forever prohibits harmful land uses and activities on the property.
Funding for the conservation easement and ongoing land stewardship was provided by the California Wildlife Foundation (CWF). CWF a philanthropic group that works with partner organizations like Placer Land Trust to protect the state’s rich diversity of wildlife species by acquiring, restoring, and managing sufficient habitat needed to sustain healthy wildlife populations over time.
“CWF was happy to provide funds for this important acquisition in its ongoing partnership efforts with PLT to protect critical oak and riparian habitat in Placer County,” said Patricia Schifferle, CWF Chairperson.
The landowner also made a charitable bargain sale donation to PLT by reducing the sales price below market value.
Leslie Warren Donates Conservation Easement
By Joselin Matkins
On New Year’s Eve, Placer Land Trust accepted a donated conservation easement from Auburn resident Leslie Warren, which will permanently preserve the Warren family property from development.
Warren’s property sits along Orr Creek in Christian Valley amid rolling oak woodlands, and contains a spectacular grassy meadow – all providing critical habitat for foothill wildlife as well as scenic open space.
“We’re thrilled to be a part of protecting this land,” said PLT Executive Director Jeff Darlington. “Leslie’s vision and generosity will provide long-lasting benefits for local flora and fauna, the residents of Christian Valley, and Placer County’s rural lifestyle.”
The easement allows Warren to construct a home for her children on the property, but prohibits other subdivision and development. Zoned for 4.6-acre lots, approximately 27 acres of the property is protected by the conservation easement, which means six potential lots were eliminated.
The property will remain in Warren’s hands and will be managed as a nature preserve.
“We’ve hiked and dreamed on this property for over 21 years,” says Warren. “Our neighbors call this land ‘The Meadow’. Back in the early 1990s we learned that the property was approved for a 67-house subdivision. When things turned sour for the developer and the land was for sale, we bought it with the help of a neighbor. Our intention at that time was to “save” the meadow, and that hasn’t changed. That’s why it was such a natural step to put the development rights into the hands of Placer Land Trust. There’s a wonderful peace of mind knowing that this beautiful property will stay much as it is, forever.”
Along with subdivision and development, the conservation easement also prohibits harmful activities such as grading, dumping, and mining, while allowing the Warrens to continue to use portions of the property for agricultural use.
The donation of the easement during 2007 will qualify Warren for expanded tax benefits from the federal Pension Protection Act of 2006.
The Pension Protection Act allows qualified conservation easement donors greater tax-deductible flexibility, meaning the donor is better able to recoup the value of the donation through annual tax deductions over a period of 15 years.
Proud to be a part of PLT? Tell a Friend!
PLT is seeking supportive members just like you, that may be interested in helping protect the natural resources of Placer County for future generations … but we need your help to reach those people! If you have friends or family that you think might be interested in learning more about PLT and joining as a member, please contact PLT staff and we will help make that connection for them. If you have someone in mind, please contact Jessica at (530) 887-9222! With your help, Placer Land Trust has worked with willing landowners and conservation partners to preserve 4,636 acres of natural and agricultural land in Placer County for future generations.
Disappearing Landscapes Art Show & Sale
Returns in April
By Jessica Pierce
Placer Land Trust is pleased to announce the return of the Disappearing Landscapes Art Show & Sale starting on Thursday, April 10, 2008.
This year’s show will be located at Latitudes Restaurant courtesy of Pat & Pete Enochs and will run for two months. This art show is unique in that it features plein aire work by local artists depicting Placer Land Trust preserves.
“The first Disappearing Landscapes Art Show & Sale was held in 2006 and we were eager to do it again,” said Mehrey Vaghti, PLT’s art event chairperson. “We’re very happy to have this year’s show at Latitudes in conjunction with the Auburn Art Walk.”
Latitudes will also be the location of a private “members-only” reception for Placer Land Trust members on April 10th from 4-6pm.
Join Placer Land Trust staff, board, and participating artists for the reception which will feature hors d’ouvres from Latitudes, and wine from local wineries. This will be an opportunity for our members to view (and purchase) the art before the general public.
The show will officially open to the public at 6pm, following the members-only reception,, and will run through June 9, 2008. Admission is free to the public.
“Many artists, photographers, walkers and hikers are thankful and supportive of the work that Placer Land Trust is doing to provide conservation and access to beautiful places in the foothills,” said participating artist Patty Pieropan Dong. “It enables us to get out and feel the pulse of mother nature!”
Patty is a local artist and long-time PLT member. Her artwork was chosen this year for the promotional materials leading up to the event.
Patty’s painting, Plein Aire at Coon Creek, is shown at right.
One of the goals of the Disappearing Landscapes Art Show & Sale is to get artists out to PLT preserves to help broadcast the benefit of PLT’s work and the urgency of continued open space preservation. Patty and several other artists will be unveiling new works inspired by the beauty of the farmlands, ranchlands, wetlands, woodlands, parks and other properties that have been permanently protected by Placer Land Trust.
Funds raised through the sale of the artwork will support PLT’s efforts to work with willing landowners and conservation partners to permanently preserve natural and agricultural land in Placer County for future generations.
For more information, please contact PLT at (530) 887-9222, or visit www.placerlandtrust.org. We hope to see you at the art event!
PLT Welcomes Jeff Ward as 2008 AmeriCorp Intern
By Joselin Matkins
Placer Land Trust is pleased to announce the addition of a new member of our team: Stewardship Assistant Jeff Ward, AmeriCorps member.
Jeff is one of 27 members selected to serve out of 110 applicants to conduct environmental education, habitat restoration, and ecological monitoring in the Sierra Nevada region.
This is the second year of the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP) program in the Sierra Nevada region.
The SNAP mission is to develop the capacity of community-based organizations to play a leading role in the protection, restoration and stewardship of public lands, local waterways and working landscapes of the Sierra Nevada region.
Members serve with community non-profit groups and natural resource agencies.
Placer Land Trust has been awarded an AmeriCorps intern for three years: 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Jeff Ward, a recent graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University, started at PLT last month and is already hard at work updating our conservation easement and preserve records system and working in the field.
He will participate in annual conservation easement monitoring, preserve management, and countless other tasks that come up daily in regard to Placer Land Trust land stewardship efforts.
Jeff received a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and is interested in land conservation and restoration. He is excited to work with Placer Land Trust for the next year helping us reach our land conservation and restoration goals, while also learning the ins and outs of working for a land trust. This internship will be the perfect opportunity.
GIS & Policy Intern
By Jessica Pierce
Nathan Cullen, a student at Sierra College, graduating this spring with multiple Associates Degrees including Biological Sciences and Watershed Ecology, is assisting Placer Land Trust as our GIS and Policy intern.
“With staff overloaded with our mapping needs, Nathan is coming in at a perfect time.” states PLT Stewardship Coordinator Joselin Matkins. “Nathan is helping develop maps and data for our preserves using ARC-GIS (Geographic Information Systems).”
Nathan will also be assisting with PLT’s application for accreditation to the Land Trust Alliance, as well as other policy work.
He will be transferring this fall to Sacramento State and will be pursuing a Conservational Biology degree.
Doty Ravine Restoration Project Intern
By Joselin Matkins
Since October, Lincoln resident Justin Wages has been helping PLT coordinate and implement the Doty Ravine Vernal Pool Grassland Restoration Project, a multi-year project to restore and improve the grassland and wetland habitats at PLT’s Doty Ravine Preserve in rural Lincoln.
Currently studying ecology at Sierra College, Justin’s plans include working towards a Masters degree in Ecology and Biodiversity at UC Davis.
In addition to his internship at PLT, Justin is the Vice President of the Sierra College’s Environmentally Concerned Organization of Students and also volunteers with the Dry Creek Conservancy.
Justin is excited to gain hands-on land management experience at PLT and has already spent many early mornings at Doty Ravine Preserve. He is busy gathering data, setting up control plots, and helping us educate the public about the restoration project.
Thanks for your continued good work, Justin!
Stewardship Journal: Treasured Landscapes Tours
By Joselin Matkins
Over the past year, you have undoubtedly noticed Placer Land Trust has been working hard to preserve Placer County’s most treasured landscapes.
As the Stewardship Coordinator, I have had the great fortune of exploring these amazing properties as we evaluate their conservation values and document the baseline conditions. As PLT staff and interns, consulting biologists, and dedicated volunteers have enjoyed exploring the banks along the Bear River and quiet solitude of Big Hill, we are eager to share these irreplaceable landscapes with our partners, members, and the community.
This spring, we’re unveiling a new annual tour series: the Treasured Landscape Series.
Each tour in the series will offer a unique experience. On tap this spring are the following tours …
VERNAL POOL TOUR
The first new tour will be held on Saturday, April 26 at two of PLT’s vernal pool grassland preserves in rural Lincoln. For those interested in viewing birds along Doty Ravine, we’ll start with an “early bird” walk led by Ed Pandolfino of the Sierra Foothills Audubon Society from 7-9am. After the morning bird walk, we’ll have brunch at 9 and 10 am and discuss the Doty Ravine Preserve restoration activities and our conservation efforts in western Placer County. After brunch, we’ll head over to nearby Swainson’s Grassland Preserve where vernal pool expert Carol Witham will guide us on a walk through the spring vernal pool wildflower displays.
OAK WOODLAND TOUR
The second tour, held on International Migratory Birds Day, Saturday, May 10, will be at PLT’s Big Hill Preserves. Following the same format as the first tour, Brian Williams of Williams Wildland Consulting will take the “early birds” on a walk along Coon Creek from 7-9am. After brunch at the historic Taylor Cabin overlooking Coon Creek, we’ll take a walking tour of the Big Hill Preserves.
BEAR RIVER TOUR
The last tour will be held on Saturday, May 24 at the newly preserved Garden Bar Preserve. The tour will focus on the natural history of the Bear River and the cultural history of the Garden Bar Crossing and the surrounding area.
For each of these tours, a $10 donation is requested. PLT will provide beverages (your choice of coffee, tea, fresh orange juice, and/or water), brunch (including a sandwich, fresh-baked muffin, fresh fruit, and a cookie), and trail mix to keep you going for the rest of the tour.
Please RSVP by the Wednesday before the date of any particular tour so we can prepare the brunch bag!
BONUS: American River Tour!
Please also join PLT staff and local naturalists John Krogsrud and Ernie Riley on Saturday, April 12 for the 6th Annual Codfish Falls Wildlflower Walk. Keeping with tradition, this event is free … bring your own lunch to enjoy at the base of Codfish Falls.
If you are interested in volunteering for any tour in the series, or if you want more information about the tours, please contact the PLT office at (530) 887-9222.
We look forward to the opportunity to share these treasured landscapes with our members!
PLT Attends the 2008 Grazing Summit
By Jeff Darlington
PLT interns Justin Wages and Jeff Ward will represented PLT at the 3rd Annual Summit of the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition on January 15th in Sacramento.
The California Rangeland Conservation Coalition is made up of ranchers, environmental groups, and federal and state agencies that recognize the importance of preserving California’s rangelands. The coalition’s goal is to protect natural habitat and to aid in the recovery of imperiled species, while maintaining the rich culture and economic viability of the ranching industry. By promoting good land stewardship and supporting the conservation of privately owned ranching lands, the CRCC is helping conservationists and ranchers alike preserve the lands they cherish.
The overall message at the Sacramento summit was one of community enthusiasm — with historic foes finding common ground and working towards common goals. For the speakers, promoters, and attendees of the summit, it was apparent that common ground was found in a shared appreciation for and commitment to conserving California’s ranching and natural lands for future generations.
Currently, about half of PLT’s protected acreage is actively grazed by livestock — mainly cattle and sheep.
If you have any questions about grazing on PLT properties, feel free to contact our stewardship staff.
Executive Director’s Report
PLT is pleased to recognize two outstanding individuals for their contributions during the past year.
Sandy O’Blenness and Foothill Associates are PLT’s Volunteer of the Year for 2007.
For nearly five years, Sandy, the Graphics Specialist and Marketing Manager at Foothill Associates, has maintained and updated PLT’s website, provided IT troubleshooting, and helped us produce outreach materials.
Foothill Associates began donating web and email hosting services to PLT around 2001, which has saved us thousands of dollars each year. Foothill Associates is an environmental consulting firm based in Rocklin specializing in planning, landscape architecture and regulatory compliance. For more info, see www.foothill.com.
PLT would also like to extend thanks to Ken Whitney and Jorge Sanchez at Foothill Associates, and Ann Ranlett, for their help with PLT’s website.
PLT is also pleased to name Auburn resident Gary Wells as our 2007 Land Steward of the Year.
Gary has donated significant hours to PLT over the past year, helping us manage and monitor our properties. He’s one of a handful of volunteers who got their feet wet (literally) removing beaver dams at Doty Ravine Preserve.
As an elementary school teacher, Gary had his science class gather acorns from Auburn School Park Preserve last fall and return in January to plant them. Gary and the students braved rain and mud to plant hundreds of acorns to assure the regeneration of oaks for the enjoyment of future generations.
THANK YOU Sandy, Foothill Associates, and Gary!