SANTA ROSA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Advancing their shared missions to protect scenic, agricultural and biologically significant landscapes, Sonoma Land Trust (SLT), Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District (District) and The Wildlands Conservancy (TWC) teamed up to purchase the 547-acre Estero Ranch south of Bodega Bay. The acquisition, which closed on December 24, permanently protects a rugged section of the iconic Sonoma Coast where the Estero Americano meets the Pacific Ocean.
“The permanent protection of this property has been a conservation goal of all of the partners for more than 20 years,” says SLT executive director Dave Koehler.
Serving as the architect of the acquisition, Sonoma Land Trust secured funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the California Coastal Conservancy, as well as the District, whose contribution of $1.95 million makes up just over half of the $3.8 million acquisition cost. The District will retain a conservation easement and recreation covenant on the property to ensure the natural resources and agricultural values will be protected, and that there will be some level of recreational use.
“We are thrilled to help protect this important coastal agricultural property,” says Bill Keene, District general manager.
The Wildlands Conservancy took title to the property at closing. Grazing will continue, along with scientific research, education and, in the future, passive recreation via an expansion of the existing California Coastal Trail.
“The opportunity to protect a property of such extraordinary resource value, and add nearly a mile of Coastal Trail that affords one of the most beautiful views in the county, comes once in a lifetime,” says Dan York, TWC vice president.
Since 1919, the property has served as a dairy and cattle ranch, owned first by the Albini Family and then the Bottarini Family. Presently, most of the land is grazed and part of it is used as an aquaculture farm.
The property offers three-quarters of a mile of Pacific coastline and a mile of Estero Americano frontage with views of Point Reyes, Bodega Head and Doran Beach. It also bridges several protected lands and marine areas. The Estero Americano itself is a relatively undisturbed, fjord-like coastal estuary and one of the most biologically dynamic areas along the entire Northern California Coast.