Prescribed burn scheduled at Sonoma Land Trust’s Glen Oaks, Thursday, November 10, 2022

Press Release

November 8, 2022– Glen Ellen, CA – Sonoma Land Trust and Audubon Canyon Ranch announced plans to conduct a 32-acre prescribed burn at the Glen Oaks Ranch near Glen Ellen California, on Thursday, November 10. The burn will be led by Audubon Canyon Ranch’s Fire Forward program in partnership with Sonoma Land Trust to restore forest health and resilience to future wildfire. Residents may see or smell smoke from the burn area east of Highway 12 in Glen Ellen and are advised to refrain from calling 911.

*This controlled burn is subject to change depending on conditions.

Glen Oaks Ranch is located on Highway 12, near Arnold Drive in Glen Ellen. The anticipated time for the prescribed burn is 11:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. The burn will be conducted by prescribed fire managers from Audubon Canyon Ranch’s Fire Forward program, with support from Sonoma Land Trust staff, the Good Fire Alliance, the Sonoma Valley Wildfire Collaborative , CAL FIRE, and Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue Authority. Crews will continue to monitor the site throughout the evening and following days to ensure that the fire has been fully extinguished. Weather conditions and safety protocols are critical to this effort and if for any reason the burn can’t be conducted safely, the project will be postponed. 

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**Smoke and Traffic Advisory**

The prescribed burn will commence as early as 9:00 a.m. and conclude around 5:00 p.m. Smoke and flames will be visible east of Highway 12 near Glen Ellen throughout the day. This is a permitted prescribed burn; do not call 911. 

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Restoring forest health and wildfire resilience in oak woodlands

Sonoma Land Trust’s 234-acre Glen Oaks Ranch Preserve is located on the ancestral lands of Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo people. For thousands of years, Indigenous fire management practices included the use of low-intensity fire every few years in oak woodlands to improve the productivity of the land for food, fiber, and medicines, as well as insurance against wildfire. The preserve is critical habitat for hundreds of native plant and animal species and is an important link in the Sonoma Valley Wildlife Corridor – a network of protected lands that allows wildlife to move between the Mayacamas and Sonoma Mountain. 

A total of 32 acres are scheduled for prescribed burning as a part of this project. The area consists of oak woodland with an understory of grass and sparse shrubs. The area was impacted by high-intensity wildfire in 2017 – the first fire in 60 years, which damaged or killed many mature trees.  

Oak woodlands are healthiest when they experience frequent, low-intensity fires that clear away competing brush, conifers, and grass thatch. Without this periodic “good fire,” oak forests are at higher risk of harm from wildfire. In the absence of fire, fuels accumulate and get denser over time, which can lead to high-intensity wildfire. 

Low-intensity prescribed burns also make oak forests healthier and more resilient to climate change – good fire creates space for new generations of plants, increases nutrient and water availability, and stabilizes carbon on the ground. Finally, prescribed burning can improve community safety if conducted near communities or strategic locations, in tandem with defensible space and preparedness. 

Learn more:

Sonoma Land Trust’s Glen Oaks Ranch preserve: https://sonomalandtrust.org/our-preserve-system/anchor-preserves/glen-oaks-ranch/
Audubon Canyon Ranch’s Fire Forward program: https://www.egret.org/fire-forward/
Sonoma Valley Wildlands Collaborative: https://www.svwildlandscollaborative.com/



Se ha programado una quema controlada en el Rancho Glen Oaks del Sonoma Land Trust, cerca de Glen Ellen, para el jueves 10 de noviembre de 2022 a fin de restaurar la salud y la resistencia del bosque*.

Sonoma Land TrustGina Fabiano, Directora de marketing y relaciones con los medios de comunicación  707-596-3761 móvil de trabajo  gina@sonomalandtrust.org 
Audubon Canyon Ranch
Wendy Coy, Directora de comunicaciones
415-868-9244 ext. 123 / 707-829-9582 móvil
wendy.coy@egret.org 

8 de noviembre de 2022- Glen Ellen, CA – Sonoma Land Trust y Audubon Canyon Ranch anunciaron sus planes de llevar a cabo una quema controlada de 32 acres en el Rancho Glen Oaks cerca de Glen Ellen, California, el jueves 10 de noviembre.  La quema será dirigida por el programa Fire Forward de Audubon Canyon Ranch en asociación con Sonoma Land Trust para restaurar la salud del bosque y la resistencia a futuros incendios forestales.  Es posible que residentes vean o huelan el humo de la zona de la quema al este de la Carretera 12 en Glen Ellen y se les aconseja no llamar al 911.

*Esta quema controlada está sujeta a cambios según las condiciones.

El Rancho Glen Oaks está ubicado en la Carretera 12, cerca de Arnold Drive en Glen Ellen. El tiempo previsto para la quema controlada es desde las 11:00 a.m. hasta las 5:00 p.m. La quema se llevará a cabo por los gestores de incendios controlados del programa Fire Forward de Audubon Canyon Ranch, con el apoyo del personal de Sonoma Land Trust, Good Fire Alliance, Sonoma Valley Wildlands Collaborative, CAL FIRE, y Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue Authority. Las cuadrillas continuarán monitoreando el lugar durante la noche y los días siguientes para asegurarse de que el fuego haya sido extinguido por completo. Las condiciones de clima y los protocolos de seguridad son fundamentales para este esfuerzo, y el proyecto se pospondrá si por alguna razón la quema no puede llevarse a cabo de forma segura.  

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**Aviso de humo y tránsito**

La quema controlada comenzará a las 9:00 a.m. y concluirá alrededor de las 5:00 p.m. El humo y las llamas podrán verse al este de la Carretera 12 cerca de Glen Ellen durante todo el día.  Esta es una quema controlada permitida; no llame al 911. 

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Restauración de la salud del bosque y de la resistencia a los incendios forestales en los robledales

La Reserva del Rancho Glen Oaks, de 234 acres, perteneciente a Sonoma Land Trust, está ubicada en las tierras ancestrales de los pueblos Miwok de la costa y Pomo del sur. Durante miles de años, las prácticas indígenas de gestión del fuego incluyeron el uso de incendios de baja intensidad cada pocos años en los bosques de robles para mejorar la productividad de la tierra. Esto generó un mejor cultivo de alimentos, más fibras y medicinas, así como un seguro contra los incendios forestales. La reserva es un hábitat fundamental para cientos de especies de plantas y animales autóctonos y es un eslabón importante del Corredor de Vida Silvestre del Valle de Sonoma, una red de tierras protegidas que permite a la fauna moverse entre las Mayacamas y la Montaña de Sonoma.  

En el marco de este proyecto, se ha programado la quema controlada de un total de 32 acres en dos zonas. Las zonas constan de un bosque de robles con un sotobosque de hierba y arbustos dispersos. La zona se vio afectada por un incendio forestal de alta intensidad en 2017, el primero en 60 años, que dañó o mató a muchos árboles maduros.    

Los bosques de robles son más saludables cuando experimentan incendios frecuentes y de baja intensidad que eliminan la maleza, las coníferas y la paja de la hierba. Sin este “buen fuego” periódico, los bosques de robles corren un mayor riesgo de sufrir daños por los incendios forestales. Sin el fuego, los combustibles se acumulan y se hacen más densos con el tiempo, lo que puede dar lugar a incendios forestales de alta intensidad.  

Las quemas controladas de baja intensidad también hacen que los bosques de robles sean más sanos y resistentes al cambio climático: un buen fuego crea espacio para nuevas generaciones de plantas, aumenta la disponibilidad de nutrientes y agua, y estabiliza el carbono en el suelo. Por último, las quemas controladas pueden mejorar la seguridad de la comunidad si se realizan cerca de las comunidades o en lugares estratégicos, junto con el espacio defendible y una buena preparación.  

Aprende más:

Reserva del Rancho Glen Oaks del Sonoma Land Trust: https://sonomalandtrust.org/our-preserve-system/anchor-preserves/glen-oaks-ranch/
Programa “Fire Forward” de Audubon Canyon Ranch https://www.egret.org/fire-forward/

Colaboración de las Tierras Silvestres del Valle de Sonoma:  https://www.svwildlandscollaborative.com/#

Sonoma Land Trust Welcomes Frank Dean and Liz Fisher to the Board of Directors

Santa Rosa, CA – Sonoma Land Trust announced today that Frank Dean and Liz Fisher has joined the organization’s board of directors effective October 3, 2022.

New board members, Frank Dean and Liz Fisher, bring a diverse and a deep level of expertise in their fields which are in conservation and the financial services industry, respectively.

Frank Dean has extensive experience in conservation and is currently the President/CEO of Yosemite Conservancy. His exciting work has led him to guide important projects such as the Conservancy’s successful $20 million fundraising campaign to restore the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias in 2018. He has worked to increase the opportunities for diverse communities, including connecting underserved youth with parks, and restoring important ecosystems in many milestone projects. As part of his efforts, he partnered with other non-profits to create the Park Youth Collaborative, a major expansion of the successful inner-city youth outreach programs at Crissy Field that annually serves 70,000 children when he served as a General Superintendent at Golden Gate National Parks in San Francisco. Prior to that he held positions as Chief of NPS Partnerships and Centennial Programs at the National Park Service in Washington, D.C and Park Superintendent at Saratoga National Historic Park in Stillwater, New York and as Assistant Superintendent at Point Reyes National Seashore and Management Assistant at Yosemite National Park.

Frank had this to say about his new position as a board member of Sonoma Land Trust: “Conserving open space for the public good has been my calling and I look forward to learning and working with the impressive team and partners of the Sonoma Land Trust to improve the quality of life in our region.”

Liz Fisher is an innovative business leader who brings many years of experience as a professional in the financial services industry. She worked as an organizational consultant and executive coach who collaborates with senior leadership teams and key executives. Her expertise is in the areas of strategy development, human capital and diversity and her work spans over 30 years in the financial services industry. Liz has led teams for global firms including Fidelity Investments, JPMorgan Chase, and Spencer Stuart. She is an experienced advisor of boards of directors, and through her many roles she has been able to leverage her years as a business leader and as a proponent of leadership equality with great success.

Liz had this to share about her commitment to the Sonoma Land Trust Board of Directors: “I am honored to join the Sonoma Land Trust board and to help execute their mission and strategic plan. There are few things more important than preserving our lands for the next generation. As a grandmother to 15 little ones, I’d like to do everything I can to make sure I am contributing to the effort of preserving our lands and working on critical issues like climate change.”

“We are extraordinarily fortunate to be welcoming two leadership volunteers of Liz and Frank’s caliber to the board. They bring a wealth of experience and insight which will be crucial to advancing the Sonoma Land Trust’s vision,” stated Eamon O’Byrne, Executive Director of the Sonoma Land Trust.

Sonoma Land Trust offers to partner with county and state on wildlife studies for Sonoma Developmental Center


CONTACT:

Sean Dowdall
President, Landis PR
sean@landispr.com

Sonoma Land Trust has submitted detailed comments on the Notice of Preparation to Permit Sonoma, the planning body for the Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC), as part of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process. In addition, Sonoma Land Trust is offering to partner with the county and the state to conduct the necessary detailed studies to document wildlife concentrations and movement at SDC.

“The negative ramifications of an incomplete and inaccurate Environmental Impact Report are often substantial and irreversible,” said Eamon O’Byrne, executive director of Sonoma Land Trust. “While we applaud the state’s focus to protect biodiverse areas and provide affordable housing, we feel the current SDC redevelopment proposals, as outlined, devastatingly fall short to do either. We believe there is a planning and development path that will support this unique piece of land ecologically, while providing support for those in need of housing.”

  • The EIR must include a complete analysis of the environmental impacts of various types of development within this proposed range and must include these project variants in its core analysis rather than as alternatives to the project. The Notice of Preparation states that the SDC project will consist of between 450 and 1000 residential units. It does not provide specific details about the location or intensity of proposed uses at the SDC.
  • The State’s own 2019 governing legislation and the Plan’s adopted Guiding Principles require preserving the SDC’s ecological resources, including the Sonoma Valley Wildlife Corridor. The EIR must accurately describe wildlife’s use of the Corridor and the SDC site and conserve and enhance irreplaceable habitat areas. The EIR must employ the latest scientific tools, datasets, and studies so that the public and decision-makers may fully understand, design around, and mitigate for development impacts to SDC’s ecological resources.
  • The Sonoma Valley Wildlife Corridor serves as a critical linkage in a larger corridor from coastal Marin County to eastern Napa County. Because of its regional significance, analysis of cumulative impacts on the Corridor should include an area that is large enough to account for the movements of local populations of the widest-ranging species present (i.e., mountain lions) and evaluate the impacts of all the different types of development proposed for the property that will impact the permeability of the Wildlife Corridor and the ecosystem services it provides.
  • The project must incorporate appropriate buffers between development and sensitive habitats, such as watercourses and wetlands, to protect the ecological value of the SDC site and the Sonoma Valley Wildlife Corridor. This may require the removal of existing, unused structures. Buffers will be particularly critical to protecting the species that rely on the Wildlife Corridor.
  • The County must analyze wildfire risk and plan for safety to preserve the ecological value of the SDC site and the Sonoma Valley Wildlife Corridor. The County cannot approve development that would require vegetation management in areas (or to a degree) that would negatively impact the Wildlife Corridor or build new roads that will fragment intact habitat areas and eliminate or significantly disrupt wildlife use.
  • The EIR must consider how development at SDC will increase future water demand at the regional scale and analyze the resulting ecological impacts from such water use. The EIR must consider the water use impacts on sensitive aquatic resources and groundwater, especially during drought conditions, and evaluate how these impacts will affect fish and wildlife that rely on local water sources for survival.

To learn more about SDC and view Sonoma Land Trust’s full letter to Permit Sonoma, please visit here.  

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About Sonoma Land Trust

Sonoma Land Trust works in alliance with nature to conserve and restore the integrity of the land with a focus on climate resiliency and is also committed to ensuring more equitable access to the outdoors. Since 1976, Sonoma Land Trust has protected nearly 58,000 acres of scenic, natural, agricultural and open land for future generations. Sonoma Land Trust is the recipient of the 2019 Land Trust Alliance Award of Excellence and is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. For more information, please visit www.sonomalandtrust.org.

Pete and Patty Mattson leave a $2 million legacy to Save the Redwoods and Sonoma Land Trust


CONTACT:

Sean Dowdall
President, Landis PR
sean@landispr.com

Philanthropists Peter and Patty Mattson, who lived at Sea Ranch along the Sonoma Coast for decades, shared a passion for redwoods and open space. Pete, as he liked to be known, was a longtime board member of Sonoma Land Trust as well as a board councilor of Save the Redwoods League. Patty worked with Pete both in his business and in conservation and, together, they made a formidable team. In 2016, Patty passed away with Pete following her in early 2021. Recently, Sonoma Land Trust and Save the Redwoods each received $1 million from the couple’s estate.

“Land preservation and protection has been at the forefront of my parents’ charitable objectives for as long as I can remember and Save the Redwoods and Sonoma Land Trust have always had a huge place in their hearts,” said their son and daughter, Andy and Marianne Mattson, in a joint statement. “While our parents had many passions, philanthropy was chief among them; throughout their lives, they continuously sought to contribute to organizations making a positive impact. It was important to them that this impact continue.”

Pete, the founder of leading food and beverage product developer Mattson & Co., served as Sonoma Land Trust board chair from 2005−2009, during which time, the organization was actively raising $20 million to purchase the 2,300-acre Sears Point Ranch in the Baylands and $32 million to acquire the 5,630-acre Jenner Headlands Ranch along the coast — the two largest acquisitions in the Land Trust’s history.

In 2011, Pete and Patty shared why supporting Sonoma Land Trust had long been important to them: “Sonoma Land Trust helps us be part of ensuring that Sonoma County will always be the beautiful and special place that we love. We are confident that our contributions will add important acreage to Sonoma County’s protected landscapes for future generations to enjoy.”

Pete also played a key role in protecting more than 50,000 acres of forest through his service on the board of the Redwood Forest Foundation and as a councilor of Save the Redwoods League. Peter joined the League’s council in 2003 and was an active member of several key committees for 20 years before joining the board in 2014.

“Pete and Patty believed deeply in the power of philanthropy to transform an organization and became the League’s very first donors to the Forever Forest Campaign at the $1 million level,” said Sam Hodder, Save the Redwoods League President & CEO. “Pete was proud to be able to set the pace early on for the success of this campaign. We will always be grateful to Pete and Patty for their vision, leadership and extraordinary generosity.”

The Mattsons’ shared passion for redwoods can be traced to their respective childhoods. Larger-than-life Pete grew up in Los Angeles, where he once said there “were only five trees in the whole neighborhood,” but he sought out each one to climb and play in. Patty came by her affinity for forests at home — her family owned a forested ranch on Skaggs Springs Road between Lake Sonoma and Stewarts Point. After meeting at UC Berkeley, the couple married in 1962, settled on the Peninsula and explored the North Coast every chance they could. In 1984, they become residents of Sea Ranch. Andy and Marianne shared their memories of the long family road trips to many national parks when they were growing up. “Our parents taught us, early on, the value of public lands.”

“We are very grateful to Pete and Patty for all they did and contributed toward land conservation through the years,” said Eamon O’Byrne, Sonoma Land Trust executive director. “While they are deeply missed, they left an incomparable legacy of which their family can be very proud.”

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About Sonoma Land Trust

Sonoma Land Trust works in alliance with nature to conserve and restore the integrity of the land with a focus on climate resiliency and is also committed to ensuring more equitable access to the outdoors. Since 1976, Sonoma Land Trust has protected nearly 58,000 acres of scenic, natural, agricultural and open land for future generations. Sonoma Land Trust is the recipient of the 2019 Land Trust Alliance Award of Excellence and is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. For more information, please visit www.sonomalandtrust.org.

Sonoma Land Trust uses nature-based solution to adapt to shoreline erosion and sea level rise


CONTACT:

Sean Dowdall
President, Landis PR
sean@landispr.com

New “Living Shoreline” approach being pioneered at Sears Point Wetland Restoration using logs from Caltrans and PG&E to block levee erosion

In October, 2015, Sonoma Land Trust changed the map of San Francisco Bay by breaching the levee at its Sears Point Ranch along Highway 37 and letting in the tides for the first time in 140 years. With saltwater quickly filling the newly constructed 1,000-acre tidal marsh basin — one of the largest such projects in the Western U.S. — the primary goal was to restore the land that had been diked and drained for over a century back to tidal wetlands. These wetlands are crucial habitat and will also be critical for buffering infrastructure, like Highway 37, from the effects of climate-caused sea level rise.

The marsh is developing rapidly and most of the elements of this massive project are working well, with one exception. The 2.5-mile “habitat” levee, built to protect the surrounding lands from bay water and to provide high-tide refuge for marsh wildlife, is eroding along its shoreline. This is a common problem around the Bay where shorelines are exposed to wind waves — and it’s one that will worsen with sea level rise and also droughts, since most of the bay mud supply for tidal marsh growth comes from high flows of local tributary streams that discharge to the Bay.

To solve the erosion problem, Sonoma Land Trust is employing a unique combination of treatments that avoid “hardened” shorelines lined with boulders (known as rip-rap), which simply shifts the problem to other parts of the Bay. Instead, using natural materials, the goal is to create a “living shoreline” that will work with natural processes and achieve the intended ecological and flood protection benefits of the levee.

Causes of levee erosion

Marshes significantly reduce wave energy and where they have been lost or have not yet been fully restored, as at Sears Point, shoreline erosion is common. Erosion has occurred along approximately 8,000 feet of the northern, or habitat, levee, and roughly 1,300 feet of the western levee, which separates the earlier Sonoma Baylands restoration from the Sears Point project. If the erosion were to be left unchecked, it could threaten the stability of the flood protection functions of the northern levee and the public access trails of both the northern and western levees.

“Shoreline erosion like this is not uncommon, but how we’re approaching it is,” says Julian Meisler, Baylands program manager for Sonoma Land Trust. “For decades, it’s been dealt with by placing rock — static, unchanging rock — with no habitat value. Instead, we are using a dynamic solution: a unique combination of treatments that work together with natural tidal processes.”

“This project may be one of the first in the Bay region to combine the use of large woody debris, coarse and fine sediment, and natural processes, along with native vegetation, to address wind-wave erosion of recently restored, unstable tidal marsh and levee shorelines,” says Peter Baye, a coastal ecologist who co-designed the project. “This local tidal marsh variation on the ‘living shoreline’ approach to adaptive management will provide a large-scale test of the capacity of ’nature-based’ shoreline stabilization methods to provide an ecologically preferable alternative to engineered rip-rap, the traditional default response to shore erosion.”

How the “Living Shoreline” approach works

Working with a team of scientists and engineers, the Land Trust has developed a plan to adaptively manage the levee erosion with vegetation, logs, soil and the power of tidal currents. Several hundred logs that are 15−25 feet long will be strategically embedded and anchored in front of the levees to block wave energy and create a “wave shadow.” Historically, before the great Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers were dammed and diverted, logs were a natural part of the system from treefall — and the Bay shoreline was a natural landing point. Today, obtaining logs and having them delivered is expensive, but Caltrans and PG&E responded to the call for help, bringing and stacking logs that they salvaged from road projects, burn areas and utility line clearing. Their contributions of logs and labor have saved Sonoma Land Trust $130,000 in costs. Siegel Environmental, the firm that developed the design, has been hired as the construction manager, Dixon Marine Services is the contractor and the Land Trust’s Meisler is serving as project manager.

Before installing the logs (which function similarly to large, woody debris in nature, it was first necessary to begin to stabilize the levee with native marsh plants. Over the past 18 months, crews transplanted 3,100 Pacific cordgrass plants along the front of the northern levee, which are growing well. Planting will continue this year and next. Ultimately, it is the cordgrass and other marsh plants that will provide the greatest shoreline defense.

The next step, which is currently in the beginning stage, is to place the logs by digging a trench and then positioning and anchoring a log in bay mud with smaller branches embedded underneath to reduce energy and trap sediment. The eroded scarp behind the logs will be graded to a gentle slope. Lastly, piles of granular, dried bay mud, of which 600 truckloads were brought in earlier from Port Sonoma, will be placed in between and in front of the logs so that the wind waves and tidal currents can wash them up on the shore in the form of swash bars, which are similar to gravel and sandbars on bay and lake shores. The swash bars will serve as platforms for pickleweed and other marsh species to colonize and take root and further stabilize the system. This local process was responsible for most of the high salt marsh that formed on the north shore of Sears Point in the first few years after tides were restored and it is copied in the “living shoreline” design.

“Our adaptive management approach is derived from natural processes observed by our design team onsite and around the bay,” concludes Meisler. “We’ll monitor its progress and, if we’re successful, we hope this will be a tool that other managers can use to manage the chronic issue of shoreline erosion within tidal marsh settings.”

Timing, funding and trail closure

The $900,000 project is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Funding has been provided by the California Wildlife Conservation Board.

Throughout the construction, which is anticipated to continue into December, the 2.4-mile Bay Trail–Eliot Trail and 0.3-mile Dickson Trail will be closed. The 1.4-mile Bay Trail–Sonoma Baylands Trail will remain open via Port Sonoma only. 

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About Sonoma Land Trust

Sonoma Land Trust works in alliance with nature to conserve and restore the integrity of the land with a focus on climate resiliency and is also committed to ensuring more equitable access to the outdoors. Since 1976, Sonoma Land Trust has protected 58,000 acres of scenic, natural, agricultural and open land for future generations. Sonoma Land Trust is the recipient of the 2019 Land Trust Alliance Award of Excellence and is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. For more information, please visit www.sonomalandtrust.org.

Bay Area business executive Marie Andel named chair of Sonoma Land Trust board of directors


CONTACT:

Sean Dowdall
President, Landis PR
sean@landispr.com

Marie Andel, an award-winning business executive specializing in building values-based, high performance cultures, has been named the new chair of Sonoma Land Trust’s board of directors. A board member since 2017, Andel retired as chief people and culture officer for CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer, in 2019, and is currently serving as interim chief human resources officer for Pinterest.

“Marie’s exceptionally deep experience with organizational change management and her passion for environmental equity will be enormous assets during her time as chair — as she helps to navigate the Land Trust toward the goal of serving an inclusive conservation audience and all our communities in Sonoma County,” says Eamon O’Byrne, Sonoma Land Trust executive director. “Her leadership as a board member has been infused with enthusiasm and an eye toward the future, and I know she will be an outstanding chair.”

Andel, who led the process that resulted in the hiring of O’Byrne in 2019, says she is delighted to be working more closely with him and the Land Trust staff on the organization’s initiatives to make Sonoma County more resilient to climate change and ensure that all communities have access to the benefits of nature.

“Nature is such a healing force — it gives us life, energy and renewal,” says Andel. “As we confront the challenges of climate change, I look forward to partnering with the diverse communities of Sonoma County to keep the land, waterways and wildlife healthy — and, by extension, all of us.  

“A few years ago, when I was trying to figure out the best way for me to give back, someone very wise suggested that I focus on what I love,” she continues. “That brought me to Sonoma Land Trust because I am grateful to be able to hike among the trees, listen to the birds and walk along the shores. The most beautiful place in the world to me is the stunning Sonoma Coast. The grandeur of nature does a wonderful job reminding me of my insignificance, which I appreciate.”

Andel has been named one of the “Bay Area’s Most Influential Women in Business” and has also served as a board member of the American Red Cross Bay Area. She lives in Sonoma with her husband, Eric.

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About Sonoma Land Trust

Sonoma Land Trust works in alliance with nature to conserve and restore the integrity of the land with a focus on climate resiliency and is also committed to ensuring more equitable access to the outdoors. Since 1976, Sonoma Land Trust has protected nearly 58,000 acres of scenic, natural, agricultural and open land for future generations. Sonoma Land Trust is the recipient of the 2019 Land Trust Alliance Award of Excellence and is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. For more information, please visit www.sonomalandtrust.org.

Sonoma Land Trust protects large Russian River ranch outside Healdsburg


CONTACT:

Sean Dowdall
President, Landis PR
sean@landispr.com

More than a pretty place, Walter and Jean Foppiano Ranch offers extensive natural benefits

Sonoma Land Trust has protected one of the largest remaining ranches along the middle reach of the Russian River — a cattle ranch on a beautiful peninsula of rolling hills and grasslands one mile east of Healdsburg and bounded on three sides by the Russian River. On April 30, the Land Trust closed escrow on a conservation easement over the 758-acre Walter and Jean Foppiano Ranch belonging to their daughters, Ruth Ann Foppiano and Christine Foppiano Haun.

“My mother and father worked hard their whole life and were both very proud of the ranch,” says Haun. “They would be pleased with this result that my sister and I chose for it.”

“This charismatic ranch is really close to Healdsburg, but feels a world away,” says land acquisition program manager, Sara Press. “With an easement over this biologically rich property, we’re protecting the ecological function of an important stretch of the Russian River.”

The development risk in this part of the county is high. Under the conservation easement, which extinguishes the possibility of up to six estate homes and/or large-scale vineyards, the ranch’s meadows, woodlands and nearly three miles of river frontage and streamside habitat will remain undeveloped forever. The easement allows for sustainable grazing agriculture — a small herd of cattle will continue to graze peacefully there.

Protecting the ranch ensures that this landscape can continue to deliver its ecosystem benefits, including:

  • filtering water that is part of a system that provides drinking water to more than 600,000 residents in Sonoma and Marin counties;
  • recharging groundwater at a rate of 702 acre-feet per year, which is equivalent in volume to the annual water use of 3,600 households (Bay Area Greenprint); and
  • storing almost 14,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas equivalent in the above-ground vegetation and over 40,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas equivalent in the soil (Bay Area Greenprint), which together are equivalent to the annual energy use of over 6,000 homes (EPA).

Recent history of the ranch In the mid-1950s, Walter Foppiano, his brother and sister purchased the original 1,600-acre ranch across from where the Maacama Creek converges with the Russian River. Over time, their families separated their holdings, ultimately leaving Christine and Ruth Ann with their parents’ 758-acre portion. Sonoma Land Trust’s purchase of a conservation easement over the property allows the ranch to remain as it has been for the last 70-plus years and to provide a vehicle to settle the estate.

“I enjoyed going out with my dad to help take care of the sheep and, in later years, cattle,” says Haun. “I learned how to ride a horse, to appreciate what needed to be done when caring for livestock and to have patience — and I came to realize just how lucky I was growing up as a child. My husband and I enjoy immensely being at the ranch every day just like my dad did.”

Property offers extensive biodiversity

The ranch is located within a wildlife movement corridor connecting Fitch Mountain and Modini Mayacamas Preserve, and its protection will provide enduring climate adaptation and resilience benefits for native plants and animals, including intact riparian (streamside) habitat and habitat connectivity. Thanks to unusual geology and hydrology at this site, the Russian River makes a big loop around the property, surrounding it on three sides. The ample water and undeveloped nature of the ranch benefits numerous species of wildlife — even mountain lion tracks have been seen from time to time along the sandy riverbank.

Conserving this prop­erty will also help protect at-risk aquatic species that include Coho salmon, steelhead trout, California freshwater shrimp, red-legged frog and foothill yellow-legged frog. The entire ranch is considered essential for conservation by the Conservation Lands Network, a respected regional conservation strategy for the San Francisco Bay Area.

Loss of the ranch to development would have accelerated degradation of the watershed, diminished biodiversity, increased habitat loss and fragmentation, reduced groundwater recharge, reduced the diversity of working agricultural lands, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and caused other negative impacts to the ecosystem.

Funding for easement purchase

Funding to purchase the conservation easement was secured from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program; the California Strategic Growth Council’s Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation program with funds from California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work; and the Bay Area Conservation Small Grants Program of Resources Legacy Fund, which is funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

“Congratulations to the Foppiano family and the Sonoma Land Trust for protecting the Foppiano Ranch forever,” says Jessica Buendia, acting executive director of the California Strategic Growth Council, which supported the land acquisition with an award through its Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program. “Protecting these 758 acres is a powerful example of how actions with major local benefits help advance important State goals to reduce and avoid greenhouse gas emissions, to protect and recharge groundwater, and to conserve natural and working lands.”

A Force for Nature Campaign

Protecting this property along the Russian River is a project of the $80 million “A Force for Nature” fundraising campaign that Sonoma Land Trust will launch publicly on May 25, 2021. The campaign funds land protection work, such as the Foppiano Ranch project, as well as other nature-based projects and programs aimed at fostering climate resilience. Thanks to generous support from individuals, businesses, foundations and government entities, we are more than 70 percent of the way to reaching the goal. Join us May 25 to learn more about the campaign. https://give.sonomalandtrust.org/forcefornature

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About Sonoma Land Trust

Sonoma Land Trust works in alliance with nature to conserve and restore the integrity of the land with a focus on climate resiliency and is also committed to ensuring more equitable access to the outdoors. Since 1976, Sonoma Land Trust has protected more than 56,000 acres of scenic, natural, agricultural and open land for future generations. Sonoma Land Trust is the recipient of the 2019 Land Trust Alliance Award of Excellence and is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. For more information, please visit www.sonomalandtrust.org.

About NRCS’ Sonoma County Venture Conservation Regional Conservation Partnership Program

NRCS’ Sonoma County Venture Conservation (SCVC) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) is a collaboration of partners, funders, residents, farmers and ranchers working to conserve and restore land in Sonoma County to ensure resilience to climate change through healthy soils, high-quality surface and groundwater supplies, healthy habitat for fish and wildlife, and a thriving agricultural industry. The Partnership received a five-year $8,049,000 grant for activities such as protecting agricultural land through conservation easements. For more information about RCPP, visit https://www.sonomaopenspace.org/projects/sonoma-county-venture-conservation-partnership/.

About Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program

The Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC), a component of the California Strategic Growth Council’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program, supports California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals by making strategic investments to protect agricultural lands from conversion to more GHG-intensive uses. Protecting critical agricultural lands from conversion to urban or rural residential development encourages infill development within existing jurisdictions, ensures open space remains available, and supports a healthy agricultural economy and resulting food security. A healthy and resilient agricultural sector is a critical part of meeting the challenges occurring and anticipated as a result of climate change.

Administered by the Department of Conservation’s Division of Land Resource Protection, SALC is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities. The Cap-and-Trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling, and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are located within and benefiting residents of disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and low-income households across California. For more information, visit the California Climate Investments website at: www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov.

Sonoma Land Trust deepens its mission to be a force for nature

Force of Nature Logo

CONTACT:

Sean Dowdall
President, Landis PR
sean@landispr.com

Nonprofit launches $80 million campaign to create a climate-ready and resilient Sonoma County

Sonoma Land Trust is taking bold action through our A FORCE FOR NATURE campaign. We’ve paired human resolve with nature-based solutions to build a more resilient Sonoma County. Members of the public are invited to join us at the free virtual campaign launch event on Tuesday, May 25 from 6−7pm. Co-hosts will be nature celebrity Doug McConnell, host of NBC Bay Area’s OpenRoad TV, and Seair Lorentz, co-founder of the new Petaluma River Park. Register for the event at sonomalandtrust.org.

The $80 million A Force for Nature Campaign is raising funds and awareness for our projects and programs, as well as securing commitments for future funding through planned gifts. Thanks to the generous support of our members, business partners, foundations and government funders, we are approximately 74 percent of the way to reaching our goal.

“To make the greatest impact, we have deepened our mission to adapt to the changing climate and reflect the diversity of the communities we serve,” says Land Trust executive director Eamon O’Byrne. “We must start by acknowledging that Sonoma County landscapes are not only breathtaking, but also breath-giving. Nature is not a nice-to-have amenity; it is the infrastructure of all life.”

Because of a growing awareness that land conservation is a key strategy for addressing our climate and extinction crises, California and the Federal government have set a 30 x 30 plan to conserve 30 percent of our lands by 2030. Sonoma Land Trust plans to protect thousands of acres of land rich in biodiversity over the next decade in support of the 30 x 30 goal. These lands will be managed collaboratively and with innovative approaches to build a more resilient Sonoma County.

An investment in natural solutions

We have developed six natural solutions, as part of our recent strategic planning process, that consider the health of our land, water and community members. These solutions work in alliance with nature to preserve our land and resources, and ensure safe access to nature and an equitable distribution of its benefits to all members of the community.

Protecting Our Biodiversity

Million-acre Sonoma County sits at the core of a biological hotspot, which means we have some of the world’s richest ecosystems, but also some of the most threatened. To support our vital biodiversity, Sonoma Land Trust is conserving lands threatened by development and preserving large, intact landscapes and wildlife corridors so that vulnerable populations of animals and plants can thrive.

Living With Wildfire

Working with the community, local government agencies, nonprofits and Indigenous tribes, we are working toward the goal of restoring fire’s ecological role on the landscape through improved forest management practices and the return of controlled burns on up to 50,000 acres in Sonoma County. These efforts will help mitigate the effects of climate change, promote ecosystem health and biodiversity, and improve fire resilience and safety for our communities.

Adapting to Rising Waters

We are working to adapt and mitigate the impacts of flooding from sea level rise and intense storms through the acquisition and restoration of wetlands, creeks and tidal marshes in the Sonoma Baylands. Wetlands, which act like sponges, are critical buffers to sea level rise, slowing down waves and storm surges to prevent flooding from extreme downpours.

Securing Freshwater Flows

Water and land are inextricably linked as water flows over, through and across our landscapes. Using innovative science, we have identified the most strategic parts of the Russian River system to acquire, protect and restore. Our goal is to expand essential habitats for fish, birds and other wildlife while simultaneously building community resilience to severe storms, droughts, flooding and sea level rise.

Preserving Nature Nearby

Parks can make cities healthier by lowering temperatures, improving air quality, reducing GHG emissions and providing opportunities for recreation. Through acquisition and transfer of land to county and city parks, we are expanding access in areas that lack nearby open space and facilitating innovative park-planning processes that meets the needs of all our communities.

Empowering Our Communities

We approach our work with an equity lens to ensure access and distribution of nature’s benefits to all community members. Through inclusive educational programming, we are supporting diverse and equitable communities and cultivating the next generation of nature advocates for Sonoma County.

As we say at the Land Trust, the solutions are right under our feet! From the Russian River watershed to the dramatic Sonoma Coast to the tidal marshes along the Sonoma Baylands, the land that Sonoma Land Trust is preserving has the power to fight climate change.

Leaders of the Campaign

Volunteers are at the heart of the campaign. Three co-chair couples lead the Campaign Steering Committee, which works in partnership with staff to ensure the campaign’s success. Our Board of Directors has also been instrumental to this campaign through their generous donations of time, talent and treasure.

Campaign Steering Committee Co-chairs:

  • Simon and Kimberly Blattner
  • Tim Portwood and Jim Lauber
  • Harry and Dee Richardson

Campaign Steering Committee Members:

  • Scott Hafner
  • Steven Hightower
  • Nancy Otto
  • Ellie Rilla
  • Allison Sanford

Supporters can participate in the campaign by continuing to make their annual gifts. Many will let us know about their intention to make a planned gift to Sonoma Land Trust — another great way to participate in the campaign. And some will make special gifts in support of ambitious goals spelled out in the strategic plan.

To be a force for nature by making a donation, or to learn more about the campaign, visit our campaign microsite at weareaforcefornature.org.

To speak with a member of our staff about making a gift or to learn more about our Legacy League, please contact Shannon Nichols, director of philanthropy, at (707) 933-7220 or shannon@sonomalandtrust.org.

“This is the most consequential decade for our planet; climate change and consequent wildfires, drought and species extinctions threaten our safety, resources, biodiversity, and physical and mental health,” says O’Byrne. “Nature is the most powerful tool we have for meaningful climate action.

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About Sonoma Land Trust

Sonoma Land Trust works in alliance with nature to conserve and restore the integrity of the land with a focus on climate resiliency and is also committed to ensuring more equitable access to the outdoors. Since 1976, Sonoma Land Trust has protected more than 58,000 acres of scenic, natural, agricultural and open land for future generations. Sonoma Land Trust is the recipient of the 2019 Land Trust Alliance Award of Excellence and is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. For more information, please visit www.sonomalandtrust.org.

Sonoma Land Trust to purchase historic Fitzsimmons Ranch to expand Hood Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve


CONTACT:

Sean Dowdall
President, Landis PR
sean@landispr.com

Meda Freeman
Sonoma County Regional Parks meda.freeman@sonoma-county.org

Longtime ranching family chooses to make their land available for open space

On April 21, Sonoma Land Trust will close escrow on the 200-acre Fitzsimmons Ranch, which is an inholding of private land within 2,000-acre Hood Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve. The expansion of the park has been a key priority for Sonoma Land Trust, ensuring that future generations of visitors and wildlife can thrive and adapt in this important corridor of the Mayacamas Mountains. Immediately upon acquiring the $1.13 million ranch, Sonoma Land Trust will convey the property to Sonoma County Regional Parks for inclusion into the park. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted on March 16 to accept the Land Trust’s donation of Fitzsimmons Ranch to Regional Parks.

Fitzsimmons Ranch has a rich modern history. Homesteaded in 1912 by Max Arthur Fitzsimmons and his wife Maud William Fitzsimmons, the couple received a land grant that was signed by the U.S. President in 1913. While they returned to Santa Rosa to live shortly thereafter, Max, Maud and subsequent generations of their family maintained the ranch for cattle grazing and family visits. It is this faint footprint on the land that has made it so compelling to Sonoma Land Trust and Regional Parks.

“This is the epitome of wild land, which is rare to come by in our county anymore,” says Land Trust acquisitions director John McCaull. “We are very grateful to this family for keeping the land intact and undeveloped — and to their commitment to making sure the land becomes part of the park for everyone to enjoy.”

The Fitzsimmons Family

“There is a lot of history up there,” says Maud and Max’s granddaughter, Marda Mitchell Gallagher of Santa Rosa, who, along with her sister and brother, is selling the property to Sonoma Land Trust. “When our grandfather was homesteading it, he planted a cottonwood tree that grew to be 75 feet tall and was a key landmark on the property.” Unfortunately, last year’s Glass Fire burned the century-old tree to the ground. “It was devastating, such a beautiful old tree and now it’s gone,” says Marda.

The recent Nuns and Glass fires were hard on the property and led to the family selling it a little earlier than anticipated. The Nuns Fire of 2017 burned through most of the fencing, requiring the family to sell off their cattle (“We were too old to rebuild 200 acres of fences,” says Marda). Then, the Glass Fire last year burned every remaining fencepost — along with the barn.

“It is hard to give up the ranch, but we are all very happy to be selling it to Sonoma Land Trust. It’s the perfect answer for us,” says Marda. “My siblings and I all want it to remain open space — that was never in question. We’re thrilled that it’s going to such good caretakers and that other people will be able to enjoy it as part of the park,” proudly pointing out that Fitzsimmons Ranch plays the very important role of connecting Hood Mountain Regional Park with Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.

The path to parkland

Fitzsimmons Ranch has been a high-priority acquisition target for Regional Parks for many years and they are an enthusiastic partner in this acquisition process.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Fitzsimmons Family for contributing a vital inholding within Hood Mountain Regional Park,” says Sonoma County Regional Parks director Bert Whitaker. “With their contribution, we are able to expand one of the largest swaths of preserved wilderness and intact wildlife habitat in the Mayacamas Mountains in very close proximity to Santa Rosa. Additionally, this region has proven to be a critical buffer for firefighters defending neighboring communities from wildfires. Strategically placed and managed parks and undeveloped natural lands have become critical to our community’s resiliency as we experience impacts from climate change.”

Natural resources and development threat

Blessed with stunning views as far away as San Francisco, the ranch is part of an 85-mile wildlife movement corridor that connects Point Reyes on the Marin Coast to the interior mountains of Lake and Napa counties. It also possesses rare plant communities and is a significant source of water resources.

With over a mile of steelhead-supporting Bear Creek running through the property and numerous springs, “We never had to haul water up there — hay, yes,” laughs Marda, “but not water. There is pure water bubbling out of the mountain even in drought years.”

Fitzsimmons Ranch lies in the Sonoma Creek watershed of the Mayacamas Mountains, with mountain meadows, chaparral and rare serpentine areas. Protecting this L-shaped ranch is critical to protecting and expanding the linkages for wildlife habitat across the Mayacamas. Rapidly increasing development is increasingly stressing wildlife and fragmenting open space and natural habitats in this range. If this property is not protected, the current zoning would allow for homesite or other development that would threaten watershed health, biological diversity, climate resiliency and management integrity of Hood Mountain Regional Park and Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.

“Fitzsimmons Ranch is a beautiful property with substantial water resources that can only be fully appreciated by visiting and experiencing it directly,” says Dan Winterson who manages the Bay Area Conservation Portfolio at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. “I’m so grateful that the landowners and Sonoma Land Trust were able to work together to protect this important habitat and allow for public access in the future.”

Philanthropy is making this acquisition possible

It is a testament to the high natural value of this land and the passion of Land Trust supporters for its protection that this $1.13 million project has been made possible through private donors Mary Love, Jake Warner and Toni Ihara, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, instead of the more usual state and federal funding sources.

Mary Love, who first became aware of Sonoma Land Trust through its work to identify and protect wildlife corridors, says, “I wanted this gift to the Land Trust from my late husband David and myself to help save our natural wild lands from urban sprawl, which can have such a negative impact on our wild animals and their natural habitat. Without wildlife and their rightful environment, none of us can thrive or survive because we are all a part of the whole.”

This is how parks grow

At the completion of this project, Sonoma Land Trust will have contributed three properties in recent years to expand Hood Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve:

  • 162-acre Santa Rosa Creek Headwaters in 2017
  • 40-acre Santa Rosa Creek Redwoods in 2018
  • 200-acre Fitzsimmons Ranch in 2021

“Through this pandemic, we’ve learned that nature is not an amenity, but a deep-rooted need,” says the Land Trust’s McCaull. “People have a tremendous desire to get their feet on the ground and breathe in the scents of the forest and catch a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. The owners of Fitzsimmons Ranch are creating a beautiful and healthful legacy for us all.”

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About Sonoma Land Trust

Sonoma Land Trust works in alliance with nature to restore the integrity of the land for climate resiliency and is also committed to ensuring more equitable access to the outdoors. Since 1976, Sonoma Land Trust has protected more than 56,000 acres of scenic, natural, agricultural and open land for future generations. Sonoma Land Trust is the recipient of the 2019 Land Trust Alliance Award of Excellence and is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. For more information, please visit www.sonomalandtrust.org.

About Sonoma County Regional Parks

Sonoma County Regional Parks includes more than 50 parks and beaches from Petaluma to Gualala and Sonoma to Bodega Bay. Many offer wild landscapes and miles of trails. Others feature sports fields, playgrounds and campgrounds. Regional Parks also manages the county’s largest ocean marina and largest extracurricular environmental education center. Visit www.sonomacountyparks.org.

Sonoma Land Trust receives Resilient Communities Grant generating $1.1 million for wildfire resiliency in Sonoma County

CONTACT:

Sean Dowdall
President, Landis PR
sean@landispr.com
(415) 286-7121 (cell)

Today, Sonoma Land Trust announces that it has received a $319,364 grant on behalf of the Sonoma Valley Wildlands Collaborative to implement vegetation management and fuel reduction activities across 18,000 acres of protected lands and conduct countywide public education activities to increase wildfire resilience in Sonoma County, California. The grant will be used to treat 720 acres of wildlands to reduce risk to life, land and property, grow prescribed burning capacity, and increase health and wildfire resilience of diverse habitats. The grant comes from the Resilient Communities Program, a collaboration between Wells Fargo and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), that aims to help communities better prepare for and respond to climate-related natural disasters by investing in green infrastructure. A unique aspect of the Resilient Communities Program is its focus on unlocking additional matching funding from federal, state or private initiatives that also support resiliency project outcomes. The program was able to source  an additional $820,000 in matching funds to support this vegetation and fuels management work, bringing the total conservation impact to more than $1.1 million.

The Sonoma Valley Wildlands Collaborative is a group of six conservation organizations and land management agencies that is coordinating the management of natural lands in the Sonoma Valley region in Northern California. Members include Sonoma Land Trust, Sonoma County Regional Parks, Sonoma County Ag & Open Space, Audubon Canyon Ranch, California State Parks and Sonoma Mountain Ranch Preservation Foundation. Working closely with CAL FIRE, the Collaborative maintains and improves ecosystem health, increases resilience to wildfires and climate change, and reduces future impacts of wildfire to communities in the Sonoma Valley. More information is available at https://www.svwildlandscollaborative.com.

“Fire management and the impacts of climate change are pressing challenges that transcend property boundaries or jurisdictional lines and that require us to work together,” said Tony Nelson, stewardship program manager for Sonoma Land Trust. “Homes and communities have their work to do and we’re grateful that this funding will help the Sonoma Valley Wildlands Collaborative use proven methods that contribute to community safety while also promoting ecological health and resilience in our natural landscapes.”

“We continue to see and experience the devastating effects of extreme weather and a changing climate on the communities in which our customers and employees live and work,” said Mary Wenzel, head of Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility at Wells Fargo. “By enhancing and strengthening native ecosystems and building capacity at the local level, we can help minimize the impact of climate-related natural disasters on our customers and communities. We are proud to be working with NFWF on this important national program.”

The Sonoma Land Trust grant is among 11 Resilient Communities Program grants awarded nationwide in this latest round, totaling $3.6 million and generating an additional $4.5 million in matching contributions for nonprofit organizations and tribes across the U.S. to help communities address and mitigate the impact of impact of natural disasters and a changing climate. By investing in green infrastructure and providing conservation and resilience training for community leaders, the funded projects aim to enhance the protections naturally provided by healthy ecosystems.

To date, the Resilient Communities Program has supported 37 projects in Puerto Rico and U.S. states with $12.6 million in program funding distributed and $30 million in federal and local matching funds. These projects are restoring and protecting more than 175,000 acres of land and engaging 136,000 people in conservation and capacity building.

“This program continues to demonstrate how local communities can use the benefits of natural ecosystems to provide for a more resilient future for our nation,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “These 11 grants in partnership with Wells Fargo will work to build resilience locally, to help communities meet future challenges through natural systems and resources, and to benefit habitats for birds, fish and other wildlife.”

About Sonoma Land Trust

Sonoma Land Trust believes land is the foundation of our economy and our community’s health and well-being. Since 1976, Sonoma Land Trust has protected 56,000 acres of scenic, natural, agricultural and open land for future generations, and is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. For more information, please visit www.sonomalandtrust.org.

About Resilient Communities

In 2017, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Wells Fargo Foundation created the Resilient Communities program to boost community capacity to prepare for impacts associated with coastal sea level rise, water quantity and quality issues and extended wildfire seasons. The program empowers communities to advance and employ natural features like urban tree canopies, wetlands, healthy upstream watersheds, resilient shorelines and forests that provide natural protections against extreme weather events. The Resilient Communities program prioritizes inclusion and aiding historically underserved, low- and moderate-income communities.