Moon Ranch Hills 300x225Moon Ranch Barn

Just inland from the beautiful Pacific coast in western Sonoma County is an agricultural and environmental jewel with its own unique watershed. The significance of conserving this working ranchland and its native grasses, riparian habitat, and spring-fed creeks cannot be overstated. Threatened steelhead and freshwater shrimp can still be found in the creeks; endangered Coho salmon are being restored to waterways where they have not been seen for a decade. The coastal prairie and grasslands are temporary home to migratory birds and water fowl, particularly with the proximity to critical nesting grounds near Bodega Bay.

 

The rare coastal prairie meets the redwood mist forest in southwest Sonoma County. This unique working ranch located in western Sonoma County, California, exemplifies this important ecosystem and is in the process of becoming protected by Bodega Land Trust through an agricultural conservation easement. An agricultural conservation easement is a tool that provides for the permanent protection of private lands by restricting their use to agricultural pursuits and providing for ongoing conservation management. The property includes the transition zone between coastal prairie and redwood forest and supports organic agriculture, incredible biodiversity, and habitat for several endangered and threatened species. Protection will include the aquifers and surface water that are a primary source for domestic water, livestock, and fisheries.

Sheep graze on native pastures ringed by old growth redwood, tanoak, and coastal live oak forests and miles of riparian corridor. The coastal prairie forms a corridor that joins the open pasturelands that surround the Estero Americano to the narrow seaside prairie north of Jenner. Just inland, the mist forest interlaces with the prairie in a series of biologically vital edges. The sweep of these lands creates the bucolic backdrop of rolling hills and lush grasslands cherished by residents and visitors alike traversing their scenic roads and coastal trails.

The need. Bodega Land Trust is currently proceeding with a conservation easement to protect nearly one and a half square miles of this critical ranch land, securing in perpetuity the ridge tops, streams, and redwood forests. Bodega Land Trust will monitor the easement, and work with lessees to establish and implement a management plan. Protection of this ranch will be an enormous step to joining nearby protected lands on the Estero Americano with the park lands along the Russian River and the coast, a bounty for generations to come.

How you can help. Your donation to Bodega Land Trust will help conserve this incredible piece of western Sonoma County forever. Please give us a call at 1(707)874-9001 to discuss the various ways you can be part of making this historic easement a reality.

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