PLT Expands Stagecoach Preserve
Three acres added along creek for restoration, public access
By Jessica Pierce
In April, Placer Land Trust added three acres to its Stagecoach Preserve, located on the rim of the American River Canyon across Russell Road from the popular Stagecoach Trailhead.
PLT purchased just over three acres from the late Dale Wilson and his family at a bargain price, adding it to the seven acres already protected to form a 10-acre preserve. The property will be protected by PLT for future generations.
“The benefit of this acquisition isn’t so much its size,” said Executive Director Jeff Darlington. “The real value is is the additional protection of a thriving stream corridor that’s an essential part of the natural character of this area of Auburn.”
PLT has an ongoing project with volunteers from the neighborhood – including the Trust’s 2006 Land Stewards of the Year Bill & Georgia Flake – to restore the natural ecology of Canyon Creek at Stagecoach Preserve. Upon request, the Preserve, including the new addition, can be accessed by the public free of charge for educational purposes.
“We also plan to create a public trail along Canyon Creek near the Stagecoach Trailhead,” added Darlington.
Funding for the Wilson property acquisition was provided by the Sky View Foundation, directed by Bob Cooley-Gilliom of Auburn. Bob’s late wife, Susan Cooley-Gilliom, was a passionate proponent of protecting and restoring the natural beauty of the American River canyon, and she had a special love for Stagecoach Preserve.
“We’re very grateful not only to the SkyView Foundation for its support, but also to Dale Wilson and his family for their vision,” said Darlington. “Dale and his wife have been long-time supporters of our land conservation efforts. We’re dedicating the trail in memory of Dale, who passed away earlier this year, and the property will be protected forever as a lasting legacy for their family.”
The Wilson family sold the property to Placer Land Trust as a bargain sale (below market value).
“This property is a part of what Dale’s parents bought at the doorstep of the County Courthouse many years ago,” said Dale’s wife Shiomi Wilson. “Dale and his brother Norman Wilson grew up on the property and learned to appreciate living in nature. Dale wanted to see this property preserved and he was very happy when Placer Land Trust decided to acquire it.”
Placer Harvest Celebration Date Change:
Nov. 3, 2007
Please make a note for your calendars:
PLT’s 6th annual Placer Harvest Celebration will be held at 6pm on Saturday, November 3, 2007, at the historic Blue Goose Fruit Shed in Loomis.
Celebrating the Protection of Taylor Ranch Preserve
In addition to the groups that provided funding for PLT’s acquisition of the Taylor Ranch Preserve, PLT also received a very generous donation from the Taylor family to help permanently protect and manage this 321-acre property. THANK YOU!
Left, PLT members enjoy a guided walk at the May 6th dedication ceremony.
From the Board Room
Economic Benefits of Land Conservation
Good schools and healthy businesses are factors that make communities thrive economically. But there’s a third factor that enhances a region’s economic success: open spaces used for farmland, for recreational access, and simply for green areas relieving endless urbanization.
While cows don’t get on the school bus or drive to the Galleria to shop at Macy’s, the open space lands they inhabit provide tax revenues while using almost nothing in services.
Residential land generally uses more tax money to provide services to it than it contributes in tax revenue, about $120 in negative tax effect for every $100 generated.
In contrast, privately protected open space has a net positive tax effect.
Recognizing the public benefits of open space, your federal, State and local government have joined with private landowners to encourage voluntary protection of these valuable resources by providing tax incentives for landowners to preserve their open space treasures while retaining ownership of their land.
The federal government has recently expanded the tax benefits for landowners donating conservation easements to qualified land trusts such as PLT. State tax incentive programs, such as the Williamson Act, are available to landowners wishing to see their land preserved for agricultural use. Locally, the Placer Legacy program works in partnership with PLT and willing landowners to preserve land.
PLT staff and Board of Directors work to encourage private preservation of open spaces, in part because we care deeply about preserving Placer County’s valuable farmlands and scenic beauty for future generations, but also in part because we’re aware that providing this crucial amenity adds very real value to your property and to the region’s economy.
If you want to join us in our effort to assist Placer’s economic wellness, please take a look at Placer Land Trust’s website, www.placerlandtrust.org or telephone us at (530) 887-9222 for more information on how you can support this work.
Please renew your Placer Land Trust membership today!
Your PLT membership expiration date is printed on the address label on this newsletter. If your membership has expired or is about to expire, please send in your annual membership contribution today using the enclosed envelope.
PLT members provide critical operational support for our organization, and contribute directly to the acquisition of land and conservation and agricultural easements. Quite simply, we cannot preserve Placer County’s natural open spaces and working farms and ranches without your help!
PLT members receive Land Lines (via mail or e-mail), receive first notice of PLT activities, are invited to exclusive members-only events, and have the satisfaction of knowing their contributions are being used to directly support the mission, activities and success of Placer Land Trust.
Lincoln Elementary Students Learn About Wetlands
PLT assists local artist and students in creating mural of native wetland flora and fauna
By Katy Sater
This spring PLT was approached by local artist Sarah Sense to help her create a mural to decorate the gallery walls of Foskett Ranch Elementary School in Lincoln.
Sarah’s vision was to create a colorful mural that was representative of native flora and fauna found in Lincoln area wetlands.
She told the Lincoln News Messenger: “The mural is based on the wetlands of Lincoln. To begin the project, we gave the students wetland information packets that were put together by Placer Land Trust, a non-profit organization whose mission is [in part] wetland conservation in Placer County. The students then filled out a survey with a description of the plants and animals that they see at the wetlands.”
Sarah took the first graders’ descriptions and drawings and created a colorful, creative, and education mural for the school to remind the students and teachers of how valuable or lakes, streams, and wetlands are to the community.
Placer Land Trust is proud and excited to have been involved in an opportunity to introduce the appreciation of nature to a new generation, which is of vital importance to the ongoing preservation of open spaces in and around Placer County.
PLT Supports Placer Legacy Protection of Kirk Ranch
By Jeff Darlington
In early July, Placer Land Trust contributed $35,000 toward Placer County’s purchase of conservation easements on 211 acres of the 281-acre Kirk Ranch.
“Placer Land Trust was pleased to help provide the funding needed to protect this magnificent ranch property,” said PLT President Fred Yeager. “As part of our public-private partnership effort with Placer County and other public agencies and conservation partners, we’re committed to working cooperatively to preserve important lands in Placer County for future generations.”
PLT was a minor but important funding partner for this project, which was primarily funded by the County, the United Auburn Indian Community, the California Wildlife Foundation, the California Oaks Foundation, and the Sky View Foundation.
Stagecoach Preserve Restoration
Canyon Creek gets a little bit cleaner and a little bit longer
By Katy Sater
As part of my work as an AmeriCorps member, I have been working on the restoration of a portion of Canyon Creek at PLT’s Stagecoach Preserve in Auburn.
Battling non-native species, in addition to native species planning, is ongoing, but the hard work that our staff and volunteers have put into the site is paying off. During our latest restoration workday in late June, a brave squad of volunteers risked the heat and blackberry thorns to make a visible and lasting difference in the health and appearance of Canyon Creek.
Over the next year, PLT is planning to expand the restoration along Canyon Creek to encompass the three acres north of Canyon Creek that PLT acquired from the Wilson family.
This land is across the street and adjacent to our current restoration project, but it’s largely hidden and impassable due to a swath of Himalayan blackberries guarding the perimeter. It may be hard to imagine, but underneath the masses of blackberry is a trail along Canyon Creek.
This area holds future potential for PLT to continue its restoration work and open up a public access trail allowing people to meander along Canyon Creek and enjoy the small riparian corridor.
From conversations with passers-by to the site, it is obvious that this area has a strong sense of place and is a source of neighborhood pride. This sentiment is shared by PLT, and we would like to meet with you to discuss the future of the Stagecoach Preserve and the level of community interest in the project.
Please join us on Tuesday, August 21st from 6 -7 pm at Stagecoach Preserve to discuss potential options and future plans for the Preserve. Please call the office or email email@example.com if you have any questions or need directions.
Disappearing Landscapes Art Event Planned for ‘08
By Jessica Pierce
The 2nd annual Disappearing Landscapes Art Exhibit & Sale will be held April 10, 2008, at Latitudes Restaurant in Auburn.
The show, which is open to the public free of charge, will run for two months. Proceeds from art sales benefit the artist, Placer Land Trust, and the gallery.
This year’s show will feature over 35 local artists and their interpretations of the disappearing landscapes of Placer County, using plein air and various art media types.
Last year, the pieces depicting PLT preserves were so popular that we’ve asked each artist to make sure that at least one of their 2008 entries is of a PLT preserve. Already, artists are busy visiting PLT properties and getting started.
We look forward to seeing you at the 2008 event! Stay tuned for more details.
Auburn School Park Preserve Update
by Joselin Matkins
If you have driven by the Auburn School Park Preserve along High Street and College Way in Auburn over the last month, you have undoubtedly seen a flurry of activity.
The project is in its final phase and in the next few months, water from Lincoln Creek (known as “North Rich Ravine” during the Gold Rush) will flow above ground for the first time since the early 1930s.
During the reconstruction of the stream channel, PLT has been monitoring the site regularly to assure that the disturbance to the oak woodland surrounding the creek is as unintrusive as possible. PLT continues to work with the City of Auburn and other project partners to protect the park property.
This exciting project has been a long time in coming and we are excited to see the project nearing completion. In the next couple months, watch for planting of riparian vegetation along the stream corridor and the day-lighting of Lincoln Creek!
Family Farming & Ranching
Foothill Farmers’ Markets
By Nancyjo Riekse
The Foothill Farmers’ Market Association promotes the economic viability of small-scale farms by operating vibrant marketplaces that foster community spirit, educate the public and give consumers access to fresh, high quality agricultural products direct from the producer.
Here is a list of farmers’ markets in Placer County.
Auburn: (Old Town) Saturday mornings. March 17 thru Nov. 3 from 8am – noon. Nov. 10 thru March 8, 2008 from 9am – 1pm. Corner of Auburn-Folsom Road & Lincoln Way.
Auburn: (Lake of the Pines) Sundays from 10am–2pm, June 3 thru Sept. 30. 10556 Combie Road, Auburn.
Auburn: (DeWitt) Wednesdays from 11am–2pm, June 13 thru Dec. 19. Bell Road off Hwy 49.
Lincoln: Thursdays from 5–8pm, June 7 thru Sept. 20. F Street and 5th Street.
Rocklin: Sundays from 8:00am–noon, June 10 thru October 7. Stanford Ranch Road at Park Drive.
Roseville: (Downtown) Tuesdays 5-9pm, May thru July. Vernon & Grant St.
Roseville: (Roseville Square) Tuesdays, June 5 thru Oct. 16, 8:30am to 12:30pm. Corner of Harding & Douglas Blvd.
Roseville: (Kaiser) Fridays May thru Nov. 2 from 10:30am – 1:30pm. Fridays Nov. 9 thru March 7, 2008 from 9:30am – 1:30pm. 1600 Eureka Road.
Granite Bay: Thursdays, May 17 thru Dec. 20, 9:30am to 1pm. Corner of Auburn-Folsom & Douglas Blvd.
Colfax: Wednesdays from 4–7pm, May 30 thru Oct. 10. Main Street.
Foresthill: Wednesdays from 4–7pm, June 13 thru Aug. 22. Main Street.
Homewood: Saturdays, June 23 thru Sept. 1, 8am – 1pm. Homewood Mtn Ski Resort, 5145 Westlake Blvd on Hwy 89.
Tahoe City: Thursdays, May 24 thru Oct. 25, 8am – 1pm. Commons Beach Rd. and N. Lake Blvd.
Kings Beach: Tuesdays, June 5 thru Sept. 4, 8am – 1pm. Hwy 28 and Coon Street.
Support local agriculture by shopping at the Foothill Farmers’ Market in your area. Call (530) 823-6183 for more information.
Note: This is part of an ongoing series highlighting the value of local agricultural lands and the landowners who work those lands. Nancyjo Riekse is the Agricultural Marketing Director for Placer County. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Botanical Biography: Buckwheats
By Mehrey Vaghti
One of the most diverse genera in California is Eriogonum, commonly known as the buckwheats.
115 species are found in the state and 46 of these are endemic (meaning they occur nowhere else). According to the CalFlora database, 42 species, including varieties, may be found in Placer County.
Buckwheats are well adapted to harsh conditions and thus many occur in alpine zones and desert regions. Two prevalent species are described below.
Naked buckwheat (E. nudum) is a common perennial species found in dry open places below 11,000 feet. It has tall, bare, leafless, branching stems growing up from a sparse flat-leaved basal rosette, each topped with rounded clusters of white, pale pink or yellow flowers. In the foothills, these flowers appear improbable in the hot, dry summer months.
In the high Sierra Nevada, the erect to decumbent clusters of white to purple or yellow flowers of cushion buckwheat (E. ovalifolium) are common sights. The wooly eliptic leaves form dense basal rossettes. This species is distributed in California and beyond in dry sand or gravel from 3,900 to 13,400 feet. The Federally Endangered E. ovalifolium var. vineum is reported to have been observed in the Soda Springs area.
Note: This is part of an ongoing series highlighting some of the many native plants found in Placer County.
Stewardship Journal: Baseline Camp
By Joselin Matkins
As you may know, Placer Land Trust is part of a joint effort to protect oak woodlands in the Bear River and Coon Creek watersheds of Placer County. Right now PLT is working with willing landowners to conserve over 1,000 acres in the largest unfragmented oak woodlands in the Placer County foothills.
Since March, I’ve been working with consulting biologist Brian Williams and AmeriCorps intern Katy Sater to document the baseline conditions and conservation values of our preserves and conservation easements.
Baseline documentation is an integral part any conservation project because it takes a “snapshot” of the conditions of the property at the time the conservation easement is recorded. This document is then signed by both the landowner and the land trust and is used in future years by land trust monitoring staff to assure that the terms and conditions of the easement are not violated.
Last week, Brian, Katy and I had the opportunity to spend two days along the Bear River to document baseline conditions of a potential conservation easement project. While Brian worked the various ephemeral drainages flowing into the Bear River making his exhaustive species list of plants and animals, Katy and I made our way to the top of the hill taking photopoints and recording GPS coordinates. From there, we looked across the grassy yellow slopes dotted with majestic blue oaks, through the giant canyon created by the Bear River, to the still snow-capped Sierra crest. To the west, the great Central Valley spread out behind the Sutter Buttes with the Coast Range composing the distant backdrop.
Most notable was the iridescent blue of the Bear River and the brilliant green ribbon along each bank—a striking contrast to the dull grasses and burnt orange toyon and buckeye that have already begun to change color and shed their leaves.
Making our way back down the hill after a hard days’ work, we stopped off for a swim. The water was warm and as I floated along, I noted the odd assemblage of native riparian plants and garden escapees sharing the river bank. After dinner under a grove of old cottonwoods, I couldn’t help but be grateful that my job takes me to some of the most remote and undeveloped corners of Placer County.
The next morning, I awoke before sunrise, wandered upstream, and waited for the sun to rise over the hill, filling the valley with the light of a new day.
Not a bad way to get ready for a day of work.
Note: This series highlights PLT’s ongoing land stewardship activities. Joselin Matkins, PLT’s Stewardship Coordinator, can be reached at email@example.com.
Doty Ravine Preserve
By Joselin Matkins
It’s been over two years since PLT acquired the 427-acre Doty Ravine Preserve (formerly known as Hofman Ranch) in rural Lincoln. In that time, we’ve learned a lot about vernal pool grasslands and what it takes to manage them.
This past winter, we performed our first biological surveys. We didn’t find any vernal pool fairy shrimp during the aquatic surveys, but we may find them in future years with more “normal” winter rain patterns. This spring, we also performed two vegetation surveys that showed that the upland grasslands are dominated by Medusahead and other invasive species, leaving native species biodiversity low. As a result of these surveys and our time spent on the land over the past couple of years, PLT is beginning to actively restore the habitat at the Preserve through a variety of measures.
The first of these will be targeted grazing. Dan Macon of Flying Mule Farms is going to be leasing the land for winter pasture, grazing a mixture of cattle and sheep. Working with Dan, PLT is also going to improve cross fencing and reduce impact of cattle along Doty Ravine by restricting access to the waterway.
We are also planning a controlled burn to reduce thatch buildup (primarily from Medusahead which is rich in silica, decays very slowly, and is poor feed). Properly managed, a controlled burn can be a catalyst for the propagation of native species by opening up new habitat and reducing competition from non-natives. This both improves habitat and feed quality.
PLT is also planning to restore the degraded section of Doty Ravine and the surrounding floodplain. Past dredging, canal work, and unregulated access by livestock has damaged the riparian corridor. This project will improve riparian function by enabling regular annual flooding and by planting native vegetation along the stream course. This will in turn improve riparian ecosystem function by increasing shade, woody debris, and nutrient subsidies, all of which are beneficial to spawning salmon, migratory birds and countless other species.
Executive Director’s Report
Look and Learn: Placer County Landscapes
“The attempt to derive meaning from landscapes possesses overwhelming virtue. It keeps us constantly alert to the world around us.” —Geographer Pierce Lewis
Placer County is a great place to look around and learn from the land.
Our agricultural landscape includes remnants of centuries-old cattle ranches and the booming fruit industry. Today, our agricultural lands provide scenic beauty, broad vistas, and economic vitality. The current demand for PlacerGROWN produce from hardworking family farmers and ranchers represents a renaissance of sorts for our agricultural industry and landscape.
Our natural landscape runs the gamut from the grasslands of the great Central Valley, to the oak woodlands of the foothills, to the forests and alpine peaks of the Sierras – and the rivers and streams that connect them all. The natural landscape is the number one reason that people (and businesses) move to and thrive in Placer County, and it’s our outdoor playground.
Our historic and cultural landscape was first drawn by the Native Americans, then generations of newcomers – including Spanish missionaries, Gold Rush prospectors, railroad and business tycoons, Chinese and Japanese immigrants, and families who emigrated West over the Sierras to settle in Placer County.
Together, the agricultural, natural, and cultural values of the Placer County landscape contain aspects of our history and development, and they reveal much about our evolving relationship with the land.
This relationship is a two-way street: just as our land sustains and provides for us, we must work to sustain and protect our land.
On behalf of future generations, THANK YOU to all of you who recognize the importance our landscape and Placer Land Trust’s work to protect it.