Sequoia Riverlands Trust in line for $347,000 grant
Sequoia Riverlands Trust, a nonprofit Central California land trust dedicated to conserving the natural and agricultural legacy of the southern Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley, is in line for $347,061 in Proposition 84 funds, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy announced Monday.
The SNC governing board will meet Thursday to consider approval of $5.2 million in Prop. 84 grant awards to assist 29 Sierra ranchers and farmers in 18 counties with conservation measures designed to protect the state’s most important watersheds.
The Sequoia Riverlands Trust project involves the acquisition of a conservation easement on part of a southern Sierra foothills ranch in the White River Watershed in Tulare County. The ranch contains valuable grassland, sycamore alluvial woodland, vernal pool and blue oak savannah habitats that are suitable for a number of special status species, such as San Joaquin kit fox, blunt-nosed leopard lizard, vernal pool fairy shrimp, burrowing owl and a variety of other grassland-dependent species.
The working ranch has been the home of and was directly managed by the same family since 1874.
The Prop. 84 grant would cover Phase 1 of the project, which is estimated to cost roughly $1.5 million total.
Phase 1 will protect intermittent streams and associated springs in the Fountain Springs Gulch area in the northeast corner of the ranch.
The project will result in the establishment of a conservation easement on approximately 480 acres, with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy covering the purchase price and transaction costs on roughly 380 acres, and the landowner donating the conservation easement on the remaining 100 acres.
If the goal of eventual protection of the entire ranch is achieved, it will directly conserve 1.75 miles of the White River riparian corridor as well as many more miles of intermittent streams and numerous springs that feed into the White River Watershed.
It would also conserve thousands of acres of blue oak woodland and grassland, vernal pools and associated special status species, a stretch of rare sycamore alluvial woodland and habitat for as many as 18 special-status species.
The mission of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, a state agency created in 2004, is to improve the environmental, economic and social well-being of the Sierra Nevada region. With this round of grants, the SNC, which receives no general fund tax dollars, has awarded approximately $52 million in grants for projects, including fuels reduction, conservation easements and acquisitions, and watershed and habitat restoration. Funding for the projects comes from Proposition 84 passed by voters in 2006.
The SNC board meets quarterly around the Sierra Nevada region, which spans 25 million acres, encompasses all or part of 22 counties and runs from the Oregon border on the north to southeast Bakersfield.