PLT Receives Grants for Watershed Projects
Funding awarded and pledged from various sources
Placer Land Trust is pleased to announce that a total of $685,000 has been pledged to PLT and its project partners for land conservation projects in the American and Bear River watersheds.
Preserving Wild California (PWC), a grant program administered by the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, is supporting PLT’s Giant Gap project. PLT and the American River Conservancy are using the PWC funds to preserve land within the North Fork American River Wild & Scenic Area near Alta. The California Wildlands Grassroots Fund of the Tides Foundation has also supported this project. The total amount pledged for the Giant Gap project to date is $435,000.
The State of California Environmental Enhancement & Mitigation Program (EEMP), administered by Caltrans and the Resources Agency, has awarded PLT $250,000. PLT plans to use the EEMP funds to mitigate traffic projects near Auburn by preserving land along the American or Bear River.
Emigrant Trails Greenway Trust and Placer Legacy have also pledged support for these watershed protection projects. The Sierra Business Council, the Trust for Public Land, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and other organizations have pledged in-kind services and assistance.
Donated Car For Sale
Placer Land Trust recently took possession of a 2000 Toyota Avalon XLS 4-door sedan. The vehicle was donated to PLT by our President, Bob Cooley-Gilliom, and is now for sale to raise proceeds for our organization.
The car has 75,000 miles on it, is in excellent running condition, has lots of extras (such as a premium multi-disc sound system), and has a value of over $18,000 retail and $14,000 wholesale. We’re listing it for sale at $15,500, but so far we haven’t had any offers.
This is a great deal, and for a great cause. We’d love to sell the car to one of our PLT members! If you or someone you know is interested, please call for a test drive and make us an offer we can’t refuse.
New PLT Office Needs Your Help
Equipment, Professional Services Top Wish List
By Jeff Darlington
Placer Land Trust is looking for donations of the following items and services to help us settle into our new office and launch new programs. Please give us a call at (530) 887-9222 if you can help with these items or if you wish to volunteer. Your contribution may be tax-deductible. Thank you!
— Adobe graphics design software for publications
— Signage for PLT office and properties preserved by PLT
— Placer Co. photographs and artwork, and/or framing services, for the office
— Refrigerator (preferably a small one) for the office
— Help with print production, mailing, photography, and land stewardship
From the … Intern Desk?
Putting Personal Beliefs into Action
Note: “From the Board Room” will return in the next issue of Land Lines.
As a lifetime Placer County resident, I’ve watched as the communities of South Placer have grown at a relatively piecemeal rate.
During the late 80’s and early 90’s, an ominous trend of rapid expansion of our cities and suburbs took hold of Placer County and began to eat into the landscape that makes this county so beautiful.
After graduating from college in the Bay Area, I was unprepared for the changes that had occurred in my absence. I saw new roads, expanded highways, endless seas of houses, and widespread encroachment by development on places I had hiked, relaxed and enjoyed in my youth.
Specifically I remember walking in Roseville’s Dry Creek watershed, on what was formerly Johnson Ranch. There’s a volcanic ridge here that lies exposed between Roseville and Rocklin, on which I used to hike with my parents. Certainly at this time of year the area would have been covered by blue oak woodlands, seasonal pools, a lush creek area, and a colorful blanket of wildflowers.
But no more. Only a narrow strip along the creek remains amidst high-end suburbs and strip malls.
To me, one really frustrating think about the growth in this county is the lack of utility I derive from it. Many in South Placer point to the convenience of our new Roseville Mall or the fact that they now have a Safeway one mile from their home (instead of eight). But to me, the benefits are far outweighed by the net loss in open space and the permanent damage done to our unique rural landscape.
Furthermore, when I found out the vast scope of development planned for the next few years, I was chilled to realize there is no strong alternative choice being considered for our County’s future.
I felt like I had to do something to help. I did some research and found Placer Land Trust on the internet, called Jeff Darlington, and discussed with him my interest in protecting what I hold dear: the Placer County of my youth.
So here I am, a volunteer summer intern for Placer Land Trust.
The last few weeks as I’ve been settling in have been eye-opening, to say the least. I sat in on an informative and intense Board meeting with guests from the Sierra Business Council and Placer Legacy. I visited the Trust’s preserved properties and stepped on an ornery rattlesnake. I spoke with Roseville Hewlett Packard employees at their Earth Day event. I waded through poison oak and blackberries to help survey the Canyon View Preserve property (the blackberries took my sunglasses, but at least I didn’t get poison oak). Along with Board members Mehrey and Mark, I claim mutual discovery of a small coastal redwood grove in Auburn (transplanted, we believe).
Every new interaction I’ve have with the Trust and its members has been great. I’m learning about land preservation methods, nonprofit organizational outreach and development, land stewardship, and grantwriting. It’s amazing to find dedicated and capable people feel so strongly about Placer County the way I do.
Most importantly, I’m learning about the critical role that Placer Land Trust plays in Placer County. Too much land is disappearing too fast, and we have a responsibility to preserve the landscape we remember from our youth if we hope to enjoy it in the future.
I’m happy to help Placer Land Trust this summer, and for all time.
Calling All Members … Please Renew Your PLT Membership Today!
2004 Membership Renewal Drive Underway to Raise Needed Funds for PLT
Dear Friends & Members,
Please take a moment today to renew your annual Placer Land Trust membership.
Membership contributions are the backbone of our organization, funding the critical components of our work, and allowing us to leverage our membership contributions through major donations, grants, partnerships, and in-kind support.
Without a dedicated membership, PLT cannot continue to preserve our important natural open spaces and agricultural lands. So please renew your membership today.
To those of you who contributed during 2003, you have our sincere thanks for funding our work last year. With your help last year, we preserved 125 acres of wild and scenic land along the American River Canyon, and made progress on a dozen other land conservation projects!
Your 2004 membership renewal will help us move forward on the following important land conservation projects:
Lincoln High School Farm
220 acres of agricultural land, home to the largest high school farm in California.
Coon Creek Greenway
500+ acres of oak woodlands and ranch lands near Spears Ranch.
Bear River Greenway
1,500+ acres of natural open spaces and ranch lands along the Bear River.
Giant Gap Project
630 acres of natural land in the North Fork American River Wild & Scenic Area.
Auburn School Park Preserve
4-acre public park and oak woodlands in downtown Auburn.
These and many other PLT land conservation projects need your support!
As you may recall, as part of our strategic planning process last year, PLT put all members on a July-to-June membership period.
So whether you contributed on New Year’s Day 2003, or just last December, your annual membership is due for renewal at the end of June this year.
We’ll be sending out renewal notices in June, but we’re hoping most of you will choose to renew now … this will save us the time and expense of producing and mailing renewal letters. Help us cut costs by returning your annual membership contribution in the response envelope included in this newsletter.
Remember that your membership contribution is tax-deductible, and qualifies you for a subscription to Land Lines, a copy of our new 2003 Annual Report, as well as advance notice of events such as the annual Placer Harvest Celebration.
(And heck, members get great deals on used cars too! See donated car article.)
A special thank-you to the following new and renewing members who contributed in the last few months:
Amy & Ed McElhany
Michael & B.J. Driscoll
Elizabeth & Shawn Gillogly
Jim & Pat Holmes
Matt & Erin Perry
Bruce & Celia Broadwell
We hope to count on all of you in the important months ahead!
Quantifying the Need for Land Protection, Part I
By Mehrey Vaghti
This is first in a three-part series describing the process of developing land conservation priorities. The second and third parts will address what protective measures are in place, what gaps remain, and the efforts by Placer Land Trust and others to fill the gaps.
Placer County was established in April of 1851 during a time when gold was California’s claim to fame.
It has a total area of 1,506 square miles and – as of two years ago – Placer is home to approximately 256,000 people. There are six incorporated cities and towns, all located in the western portion of the county.
From an ecological perspective, the political boundaries of Placer County cut a west-east transect from the eastern Central Valley lowlands to the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Elevation ranges from around 100 feet above sea level to approximately 9,000 feet on mountain peaks.
Average precipitation varies from around 20 inches in the far west and east to 80 inches on the upper reaches of the western slope.
There is great geologic and edaphic diversity, including ultramafic/serpentine, granitic, and volcanic substrates. (In short, we’ve got a lot of rocks and soils.)
The North and Middle Forks of the American River cut impressive canyons through the terrain.
The vegetation follows a general west-east transition from grasslands in the lowlands, to oak woodlands and forests in the foothills, to conifer forests in the western mountains, to sagebrush shrublands east of the Sierran crest. Complex topography produces habitat mosaics supporting an impressive diversity of flora and fauna.
Placer is truly a unique and ecologically diverse County.
A striking 62% of natural habitat types found in the state are present in Placer County (based on the Wildlife Habitat Relations classification.)
According to the Atlas of the Biodiversity of California, recently published by the Department of Fish & Game (for more information see http://atlas.dfg.ca.gov), the area encompassed by Placer County has many important biological attributes. The mid and high elevations boast high plant species, vegetation type, summer bird species and mammal richness. The lower elevations sustain high freshwater fish species, waterfowl species, and winter bird species richness. A significant vernal pool complex occurs in the western county.
The diversity and beauty of Placer County also produces favorable conditions for human habitation and commerce. According to the Placer County Department of Economic Development (www.placer.ca.gov), between 1990 and 2000 the human population increased by 40% and is projected to increase by 60% between 2000 and 2020. This rate of growth is expected to exceed that of the state, Bay Area, and Greater Sacramento area.
Concurrently, the value of real estate in Placer County has also risen rapidly. Between 2002 and 2003, the value of a single-family dwelling increased by 16%, though prices remained lower than other areas of the state – and thus conducive to additional growth.
The chart on this page shows growth or decline for the majority of business sectors in Placer County from 1997 to 2002. (Chart from the Sacramento Regional Research Institute, 2003. Data Source: Employment Development Department, Labor Market Information.)
These statistics suggest that while the construction industry is continuing to grow at a rapid pace, natural resources and agriculture will continue to face tremendous adverse pressures.
Without a balancing force such as Placer Land Trust, and absent any change in these trends, Placer County’s valuable agricultural and natural resources will continue to rapidly diminish.
The second part of this series will focus on areas under protection, habitat conservation and restoration programs, and agricultural preservation.
PLT Open House Set for Sunday, June 13
By Nate Jones
Placer Land Trust will host an Open House reception on Sunday, June 13, at our new office in Auburn.
The Open House will be held from 3:00 to 6:00pm at the American River Canyon Overlook Park, 855 Pacific Avenue, in Auburn.
The Open House will feature hors d’ouvres and refreshments, along with informal presentations about the Trust’s current projects to preserve natural open spaces and agricultural lands in Placer County. No RSVP is needed, and there is no cost.
“I’m very happy about our new office location at the Overlook Park,” said Executive Director Jeff Darlington. “Situated as we now are between the Western States Trail Staging Area and the Gold Country Fairgrounds, this location is a great parallel to our work to preserve both natural open spaces and agricultural lands in Placer County.”
“I invite all of our members and friends to join us for the Open House,” said Darlington. “We’ll be having informal presentations throughout the afternoon about several new land conservation projects.”
Presentations will include information on PLT’s work in the Coon Creek watershed near Spears Ranch, open space and ranch land preservation work along the Bear River, efforts to preserve the Lincoln High School Farm, and our work on wildland protection in the American River Canyon.
Also on June 13 at the Overlook Park will be the annual American River Confluence Festival, 9:00am to 5:00pm, hosted by Protect American River Canyons.
Placer Land Trust invites you to join us for both events. For directions or more details, call us at the office at (530) 887-9222.
2003 PLT Annual Report Available to Members
By Bob Cooley-Gilliom
Placer Land Trust is pleased to announce the publication of our 2003 Annual Report.
This Annual Report is the first such publication since our split with the Placer Nature Center. Published in March 2004, the 12-page report summarizes our expense and revenue for fiscal year 2002-2003, and acknowledges the support of our members, partners, and other contributors.
In addition to satisfying our nonprofit fiscal reporting requirements, the 2003 Annual Report was designed to be used as a tool to assist the Trust in informing the community about our organization and our mission.
The report, printed in color, features beautiful photographs of Placer County landscapes, and provides a detailed summary of Placer Land Trust’s activities during the year. Highlights include completed and ongoing land conservation projects, stewardship activities, the annual Placer Harvest Celebration, and the Trust’s efforts to build new capacity.
The 2003 Annual Report is available to members at no cost. To request a copy, please call us at the office (530-887-9222). A downloadable PDF version will also be posted on our website (www.placerlandtrust.org) in the near future.
Special thanks to photographers Keith Sutter and Dave Jones for their contributions, and to the Packard Foundation’s Conserving California Landscapes Initiative for grant funding.
Executive Director’s Report
Placer Land Trust depends on volunteer support to successfully complete many projects, such as conservation easement monitoring, restoration projects, and community events.
A recent ruling by the State Dept. of Industrial Relations requires nonprofits to pay prevailing wages to volunteers on certain publicly funded projects. Most of PLT’s projects are privately funded, but the ruling has the potential to seriously curtail our ability to accept volunteer help on certain public projects (such as the Auburn School Park Preserve).
I’m all for paying contractors for a job well done, but what about individuals that just want to volunteer their time for free? Seems like the State is putting out a big Help NOT Wanted sign or chanting “Volunteers Go Home” with the recent ruling. The nonprofit community is attempting to get the ruling changed to exempt projects and organizations that utilize volunteer support to manage, maintain, and monitor land and resource conservation projects. In the meantime, at the risk of offending the bureaucrats in Sacramento, let me make one thing clear …
PLT honors and appreciates all the volunteer support we’ve received from our community, and we will continue to accept volunteer support within the letter of the law.
On that note, I want to acknowledge two volunteers. First, Granite Bay resident Nate Jones has volunteered as a part-time intern for PLT this summer; his enthusiasm and willingness to pitch in on a wide variety of projects has had an immediate impact. Second, Auburn resident Joanne Neft recently hosted a reception and art sale at her home, with 20% of the proceeds benefitting PLT.
I very much appreciate the support of Nate, Joanne, and everyone else who has volunteered their time to help PLT preserve land. And no matter what you hear from Sacramento, the Placer Land Trust “volunteer welcome mat” still sits at our door.