Tag Archives: conservation

Granting of Point Reyes ranch long-term leases halted in lawsuit settlement


Granting long-term leases to the two dozen ranching families that have raised cattle for generations at Point Reyes National Seashore would be halted under a proposed court settlement announced Wednesday to resolve a lawsuit brought last year by three environmental groups.

The tentative deal, which involves the groups and the National Park Service, manager of the 71,000-acre seashore on the Marin County coast, requires park managers to study impacts on the environment from decades of ranching and opens up the possibility that grazing dairy and beef cattle could be curtailed or ended.

Both the ranchers and environmental groups claimed victory in the settlement of a closely watched case, seen as having wider implications for management of federal land.

“This is what we asked for in the lawsuit,” said Deborah Moskowitz, president of the Resource Renewal Institute, one of the environmental groups. “It’s good news.”

Dairy rancher Jarrod Mendoza said the settlement was “a temporary win” for ranchers, who would get five-year leases.

Ranchers have been operating on one-year leases and Mendoza, a fourth-generation rancher, said he was “hopeful” that 20-year terms would ultimately be allowed. Mendoza, who milks about 200 cows a day at his ranch, said he hopes to continue in agriculture for the rest of his life.

Moskowitz and Mendoza acknowledged the settlement does not address the question of whether cattle can coexist with wilderness on a scenic peninsula inhabited by tule elk, eagles, black-tailed deer and bobcats.“I think those questions will be answered in the general management plan,” Mendoza said, referring to a park planning update required by the settlement,

Read more at: Granting of Point Reyes ranch long-term leases halted in lawsuit settlement | The Press Democrat

Filed under Agriculture/Food System, Habitats, Land Use, Wildlife

Berryessa Snow Mountain on President Trump’s list of monuments up for review


The Interior Department has identified 27 national monuments, predominantly in Western states, to review for possible changes to the protections created over the past two decades. Here are the six in California.

Berryessa Snow Mountain, designated in 2015, 330,780 acres

Carrizo Plain, designated in 2001, 204,107 acres

Giant Sequoia, designated in 2000, 327,760 acres

Mojave Trails, designated in 2016, 1,600,000 acres

Sand to Snow, designated in 2016, 154,000 acres

San Gabriel Mountains, designated in 2014, 346,177 acres

Source: Interior Department

The Interior Department on Friday identified 27 national monuments, mostly in Western states, that it is reviewing for possible changes to the protections created by Republican and Democratic presidents over the past two decades.

The list includes the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument that President Barack Obama established in 2015 to add protection for federal land in Napa, Yolo, Solano, Lake, Colusa, Glenn and Mendocino counties. It does not include Obama’s 2014 addition of the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands in Mendocino County to the California Coastal National Monument.

President Donald Trump ordered the review last month, saying protections imposed by his three immediate predecessors amounted to “a massive federal land grab” that “should never have happened.

”The list released Friday includes 22 monuments on federal land in 11, mostly Western states, including Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, Nevada’s Basin and Range and Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine.

The review also targets five marine monuments in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, including a huge reserve in Hawaii established in 2006 by President George W. Bush and expanded last year by President Barack Obama.

Read more at: Berryessa Snow Mountain on President Trump’s list of monuments up for review | The Press Democrat

Filed under Habitats, Land Use

Santa Rosa meadow up for sale by Sonoma County over neighbors’ objections 


At the end of Beverly Way, a small and secluded street in northeastern Santa Rosa, lies the entrance to a grassy meadow beloved by local residents who for decades have wandered through the open field and among the massive oak trees beyond.

Visitors to the Sonoma County-owned land are welcomed by a prominent sign just beyond the street that declares the property part of the surrounding Paulin Creek Open Space Preserve, a more than 40-acre swath of land situated south of the former county hospital complex and above the Hillcrest neighborhood near Franklin Park.

But the meadow’s inclusion in a forthcoming county land deal — the sale of 82 acres to a local developer whose plans include hundreds of new housing units — has neighbors alarmed that the county is, perhaps unwittingly, turning over the field to housing construction.

A 16-foot banner recently staked down by Beverly Way neighbors speaks to that concern.“The county is selling our meadow to an apartment developer,” it proclaims, encouraging like-minded individuals to help prevent “the destruction of our preserve.”

Read more at: Santa Rosa meadow up for sale by Sonoma County over neighbors’ objections | The Press Democrat

Filed under Land Use

Public open space outside Santa Rosa grows with deal for Mark West Creek land


Generations of kids and other nature lovers will continue to enjoy outdoor experiences at a Mark West Creek ranch northeast of Santa Rosa under a new conservation deal that maintains public access to the property in perpetuity.

More broadly, open space advocates say preservation of the 124-acre Rancho Mark West builds upon a legacy of protecting land from development in the sensitive environmental area while offering the public more opportunities to engage with nature a short distance away from Santa Rosa.

“We hope to be able to walk people from Santa Rosa to Rancho Mark West to spend the night. That would be a pretty incredible opportunity,” said Craig Anderson, executive director of the nonprofit group LandPaths.

LandPaths will continue to operate In Our Own Backyard, Owl Camp and other popular outdoor programs for kids at the St. Helena Road ranch under an updated conservation easement that protects public access to the site.

Read more: Public open space outside Santa Rosa grows with | The Press Democrat

Filed under Land Use, Wildlife

Conservationist Zeke Grader, advocate for fish, dies

Steve Rubenstein, SFGATE

Zeke Grader, a lifelong conservationist who loved wild fish, wild rivers and the good fight necessary to protect them, has died. He was 68.

“You would probably not be eating a wild California salmon today if it were not for Zeke,” said his friend Tim Sloane, the executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. “He was not afraid of speaking truth to power. He wasn’t afraid of anyone.”

Mr. Grader, 68, died Monday night of pancreatic cancer at a San Francisco hospice.

From 1976 until this summer, Mr. Grader held the executive director position for the federation, the largest trade group of commercial fishermen on the West Coast. He represented commercial fishermen in their efforts to keep streams and rivers flowing, the San Francisco Bay healthy, and wild salmon and other native fish plentiful and viable.

In the constant battle over California water, Mr. Grader frequently fought with agricultural and commercial interests that he believed were laying claim to more than their fair share.

He worked on such projects as dismantling dams, protecting habitat, assisting out-of-work fishermen and maintaining critical water flows. He took on timber harvesters, suction dredge miners and petroleum polluters.

“You cannot overstate how much he accomplished in legislation and policy,” Sloane said. “There would be no commercial salmon industry in California if not for his efforts.

”Former Monterey congressman and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta praised Mr. Grader for his “critical leadership in the fight for strong stewardship of our ocean resources. … His common sense, his total devotion to those he represents and his commitment to getting the job done have given all of us courage and inspiration.

”His friend and fellow conservationist Patricia Schifferle said Mr. Grader “wasn’t afraid to take on big agriculture and industry to protect our resources.”

“Because of him, we have protections in San Francisco Bay and in our estuaries,” said Schifferle, the director of Pacific Advocates in Truckee. “He was fair-minded when he came to the table. But he was not afraid of a fight. He was a man who stood up for fish.”

A lawyer by training who wound up making the king salmon his primary client, Mr. Grader was a short, blond, stocky man who loved good food, scally caps, vintage cars and strolls on Northern California beaches with family, friends or his beloved cocker spaniel, Emily.

He spoke plainly and bluntly, and one friend said Mr. Grader had an unparalleled “BS detector.” His favorite food was salmon, although, Sloane said, he would settle for petrale sole.

He put in long hours, and his friends knew that he was often too busy working to be bothered. If you wanted to be sure to catch Mr. Grader on the phone, Sloane said, you had to call him around sunrise, when his workday started.

Mr. Grader, the son of a fish broker, was a native of Fort Bragg in Mendocino County. He spent much of his childhood on the Fort Bragg docks, helping fishermen unload their catches. He was a graduate of Sonoma State University and the University of San Francisco School of Law and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

A wild fish was worth saving, Mr. Grader believed, not just for the fisherman who caught it but for its own sake, as part of the natural order.“

I think part of it is standing your ground, saying what you mean,” Mr. Grader said to a friend not long before he died, in describing his way of representing fish and fishermen. “Don’t mince your words. Know what you’re talking about. Stay firm. Don’t back down.”

He is survived by his wife, Sausalito attorney Lois Prentice. At his request, there will be no funeral. Plans for a memorial service are pending.

Source: Conservationist Zeke Grader, advocate for fish, dies – SFGate

Filed under Agriculture/Food System, Sonoma Coast, Wildlife