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Sheri Cardo
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Press Release Archives

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SEA CHANGE: Redrawing the map of San Francisco Bay

On October 25, Sonoma Land Trust will breach Sears Point levee to create 1,000 acres of tidal marsh

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., October 25, 2015

A major transformation is coming to the northern coast of San Francisco Bay. After 10 years of planning and raising $18 million, on Sunday, October 25, Sonoma Land Trust will breach the levee along the bay at Sears Point Ranch (located just south of the Highway 37/Lakeville Highway intersection) to allow salt water to fill the recently constructed 1,000-acre tidal marsh basin. This area will begin to evolve to tidal marsh, much as it was 140 years ago before being diked off from the bay. Read press release

Award-winning conservation leader Dave Koehler selected as executive director

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., March 3, 2015

The Sonoma Land Trust board of directors has chosen award-winning conservation leader Dave Koehler as the organization’s new executive director, succeeding Ralph Benson who retired at the end of February after 12 years. Read press release

Key property in Sonoma Valley Wildlife Corridor acquired for parkland by Sonoma Land Trust, Ag & Open Space District and Regional Parks

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., October 13, 2014

By the end of this month, Sonoma Land Trust expects to acquire 29 acres known as the “Curreri property” along Highway 12 in Glen Ellen, with partial funding from the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. Upon close of escrow, the Land Trust will immediately transfer the property to Sonoma County Regional Parks to be added to the 162-acre Sonoma Valley Regional Park. Read press release

Ralph Benson to retire from Sonoma Land Trust after 11 years and the protection of 33,000 acres

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., July 17, 2014

Longtime Sonoma Land Trust Executive Director Ralph Benson has announced his intention to retire after leading the organization for the past 11 years. The Land Trust board of directors has initiated a national search for his successor. Read press release

Sonoma Land Trust saves Pole Mountain — the highest peak along the Sonoma Coast

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., June 30, 2014

Almost one year to the day of signing the purchase contract, the nonprofit Sonoma Land Trust has closed escrow on its new Pole Mountain Preserve, which, at 2,204 feet, is the highest peak along the Sonoma Coast. Read press release

Sonoma Land Trust and Ducks Unlimited kick off construction of Sears Point 960-acre wetland restoration project on San Pablo Bay

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., June 6, 2014

After nearly 10 years of planning and the raising of nearly $18 million, the 2,327-acre Sears Point Ranch along Highway 37, once intended for a casino resort and instead purchased by Sonoma Land Trust in 2005, will soon sport 960 acres of restored tidal wetlands along San Pablo Bay. This represents the largest private tidal marsh restoration project in the San Francisco Bay and one of the largest on the West Coast. Read press release
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Technology innovator behind and TripIt joins Sonoma Land Trust board

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., April 7, 2014

Scott Hintz, co-founder of the popular mobile travel organizer TripIt (purchased by Concur Technologies in 2011), and former executive of travel website (acquired by Expedia in 2003), settled in Kenwood last year and has recently joined the Sonoma Land Trust board of directors. Read press release

The tide turns: Sonoma Land Trust purchases Haire Ranch on Skaggs Island

Ranch holds the key to long-awaited 4,400-acre wetland restoration

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., December 13, 2013

The nonprofit Sonoma Land Trust (SLT) today purchased the 1,092-acre Haire Ranch on Skaggs Island along Highway 37, a long-sought after acquisition that will enable the restoration of 4,400 acres of diked baylands to wetlands. Read press release

Sonoma Land Trust expands acquisitions staff with hiring of John McCaull

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., December 4, 2013
Sonoma Land Trust is expanding its land acquisitions department with the recent hiring of John McCaull as acquisitions project manager. Read press release

Founding CEO of Virgin America Airlines joins Sonoma Land Trust board

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., September 11, 2013
Frederick (Fred) W. Reid, founding CEO of Virgin America Airlines and Flexjet, and former president and CEO of Lufthansa and Delta, has seen the world and it has brought him to a deep appreciation of the Northern California beauty of Sonoma County along with a strong desire to protect it. Read press release

Sonoma Land Trust sets its sights on Sonoma Coast’s highest peak

The race to save Pole Mountain and the Fire Lookout Tower is on!

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., June 27, 2013 The nonprofit Sonoma Land Trust has just secured the rights to purchase Pole Mountain, which, at 2,204 feet, is the highest peak along the Sonoma Coast. A longtime conservation priority, Pole Mountain consists of 238 acres connecting Sonoma Land Trust’s Jenner Headlands with its Little Black Mountain Preserve near Cazadero. Still wild and scenic, with the only development being an historic fire lookout tower critical to the local community, the Trust has until November 28 to raise the $2.35 million needed to prevent the land from being sold as four estate home sites with vineyards. Read press release 

Sonoma Land Trust and LandPaths link up to create Bohemia Ecological Preserve

New 554-acre preserve created near Occidental

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., January 31, 2012
Two Sonoma County nonprofit conservation groups, Sonoma Land Trust and LandPaths, announced the creation of a new 554-acre nature preserve on the Bohemia Ranch located between Occidental and Monte Rio near Camp Meeker. Read press release

Timber harvest workshop to present process for protecting watershed and streamlining permitting

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., October 18, 2011
Using light-touch timber harvest practices to streamline permitting will be the subject of a free half-day workshop hosted by the Mattole Restoration Council (MRC) and Sonoma Land Trust. To be held Thursday, November 17, from 1–5 pm at the Finley Community Center. Read press release

Sonoma Land Trust purchases key Glen Ellen property for steelhead restoration and park

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., July 28, 2011
The Sonoma Land Trust has big plans for a small property it has just acquired near the intersection of Highway 12 and Arnold Drive in Glen Ellen. Thanks to a generous supporter who was willing to lend the Land Trust the purchase amount, the Land Trust was able to move quickly to acquire the 3.53-acre property called “Stuart Creek Run.” Read press release

Sonoma Land Trust secures easements on two significant properties

Total protected acreage tops 26,000

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., May 16, 2011
Currently the second largest landowner in the county, the Sonoma Land Trust recently added two more conservation easements to its portfolio of protected lands. Both acquisitions are significant, in part, because they are adjacent to other protected properties and further the Land Trust’s goal of linking properties to create habitat connectivity for native species. Read press release

Sonoma Land Trust publishes coastal prairie herbarium book for Estero Americano Preserve

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., March 31, 2011
The Sonoma Land Trust is pleased to announce the release of the 2011 edition of the Herbarium Book for the Estero Americano Preserve, a property located near the town of Bodega in southwest Sonoma County. The book displays plant specimens for more than 130 species that occur on the coastal grassland preserve as well as in the surrounding region. Read press release

Sonoma Land Trust names Alexander Valley venture capital advisor as new board chair

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., March 17, 2011
W. Denman (Denny) Van Ness of Geyserville and San Francisco has been named chair of the Sonoma Land Trust board of directors. Van Ness, a former Navy lieutenant who holds an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, is principal of Hidden Hill Advisors, which provides advice and support to venture capital investors and emerging growth companies. Read press release

Lovely 572-acre Live Oaks Ranch in the Mayacamas bequeathed to Sonoma Land Trust

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., February 11, 2011
When Marie Rogers passed away in 2009, she left a will designating the Sonoma Land Trust as the beneficiary of her beloved Live Oaks Ranch — 572 stunning acres straddling the Sonoma-Napa County line in Knights Valley. Read press release

Former California Coastal Conservancy official joins Sonoma Land Trust board

SANTA ROSA, CALIF., January 13, 2011
Neal Fishman, a native of Sonoma County and recently retired from his post as chief deputy executive officer of the California State Coastal Conservancy (, has joined the board of directors of the Sonoma Land Trust ( Read press release

Carneros Land Stewardship Foundation and Sonoma Land Trust partner to restore Tolay Creek riparian habitat

December 9, 2010
The Carneros Land Stewardship Foundation and the Sonoma Land Trust have partnered in a multi-year initiative to restore the native habitat along 2.5 miles of Tolay Creek adjacent to Highway 121 near the southern border of Carneros. The project is expected to restore the ecological functioning of Tolay Creek and also provide youth education and job training. Read press release

Celebrating the protection of the Jenner Headlands and introducing The Wildlands Conservancy as the future landowner

April 24, 2010
More than 200 people representing more than 20 organizations involved in the five-year campaign to protect the 5,630-acre Jenner Headlands celebrated with the Sonoma Land Trust (SLT) today on the spectacular coastal property. This nationally significant project closed escrow in December and is the single largest conservation land acquisition in Sonoma County. Read press release

Sonoma Land Trust protects scenic Bennett Valley property and wildlife corridor

February 9, 2010
A stunning 34-acre property on the northern flank of Sonoma Mountain is now permanently protected with a conservation easement thanks to a generous donation by landowners Peter and Kathy Drake. Located at the southern end of rural Bennett Valley, the property boasts sweeping views of the Mayacamas Mountains and Annadel State Park, and is situated in an important wildlife habitat corridor between Annadel and Jack London State Parks, a priority for conservation. Read press release

The Jenner Headlands — protected forever!

Sonoma Land Trust acquires iconic coastal property

December 17, 2009
After a five-year quest, and in spite of significant hurdles related to California’s economic crisis, the Sonoma Land Trust closed escrow today and acquired the stunning 5,630-acre Jenner Headlands — a nationally significant project and the single largest conservation land acquisition in Sonoma County. This $36 million purchase was completed due to the extraordinary efforts and collaboration of 10 public and private funding partners. Read press release

One Step Closer to Protecting Jenner Headlands Forever

Board approves $11.1 million District expenditure for historic acquisition

November 3, 2009
As a next step in the preservation of the 5,630-acre Jenner Headlands coastal property, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, acting as the District’s Board of Directors, approved the expenditure of $10,150,000 to allow the District to fund approximately one third of the $36 million acquisition, and an additional $1,000,000 toward the restoration, public access improvements and management of the property. Read press release

Sonoma Land Trust hires Paul DeMarco as new finance director

October 7, 2009
Paul DeMarco has been hired to be the new director of finance and administration for the Sonoma Land Trust, effective November 30. He will replace Lois Downy, who has served in this role for nine years and plans to retire. Read press release

Jean Schulz offers $2 million matching gift to Sonoma Land Trust

Gift advances $18 million land protection campaign

September 16, 2009
Local philanthropist Jean Schulz has offered the Sonoma Land Trust a $2 million matching gift to advance the Land Trust’s recently announced $18 million fundraising campaign, Redwoods to the Bay: Saving Sonoma County’s Signature Landscapes. This pledge, which must be matched dollar for dollar, will bring the total amount raised thus far to $10.3 million. Read press release

Sonoma Land Trust launches $18 million campaign to accelerate pace of land conservation in Sonoma County

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation contributes $6 million lead gift

August 27, 2009
From now through the end of 2010, the Sonoma Land Trust plans to raise $18 million to protect and connect remaining large, at-risk open spaces within Sonoma County. Redwoods to the Bay: Saving Sonoma County’s Signature Landscapes is an ambitious fundraising campaign to keep Sonoma County’s landscapes intact, develop a network of protected lands, preserve the county’s rural character, enhance recreational and environmental education opportunities, and create a legacy of open lands for future generations to enjoy and cherish. Read press release

Sonoma Land Trust taps venture capitalist as new board chair

April 6, 2009
Mark P. Jacobsen has been named chair of the Sonoma Land Trust board of directors. Jacobsen is the managing director and co-founder of O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV), a seed-stage venture fund affiliated with O'Reilly Media in Sebastopol. “I am motivated by the urgency of the Sonoma Land Trust’s mission “to protect the land forever," said Jacobsen. “The natural beauty of Sonoma County is unsurpassed — and is threatened by development pressures that give us only a 10–20 year window to fulfill this goal.” Read press release

Ranch at 2,463-foot summit of Sonoma Mountain to be protected

Sonoma Land Trust, Open Space District, Coastal Conservancy partner to purchase 283-acre Sonoma Mountain Ranch for $9,950,000. Acquisition offers trails, scenic views, diverse habitats, watershed protection

December 9, 2008
The Sonoma Land Trust and Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District have signed an agreement to purchase the 283-acre Sonoma Mountain Ranch at the summit of Sonoma Mountain for $9,950,000 by the end of the year. Nestled in the middle of a complex of protected lands, and buttressed by Jack London State Historic Park to the east and Fairfield Osborn Preserve to the west, this acquisition is key to creating a long-awaited public trail across the top of the mountain. Read press release

Sonoma Land Trust brings lawsuit over conservation easement violations to successful conclusion

Ranch along Highway 37 will remain in agriculture
National land trust community watched case closely

October 29, 2008
After a three-year lawsuit with the owners of the 528-acre Lower Ranch (also known as Carneros River Ranch) along Highway 37 near San Pablo Bay, the Sonoma Land Trust is pleased to announce a successful settlement that upholds the agricultural conservation easement on the property, pays the Land Trust’s legal fees, and ensures that the landowner’s activities will protect the agricultural resources on the property. Read press release

Deal signed to acquire and protect Jenner Headlands

Sonoma Land Trust and Open Space District partner to preserve 5,630 acres on Sonoma Coast. Sonoma Land Trust agrees to manage property

October 9, 2008
The Sonoma Land Trust has signed an agreement to purchase the 5,630-acre Jenner Headlands for $36 million, the single largest conservation land acquisition in Sonoma County. Read press release

Eat right off the farm at Slow Food benefit for Sonoma Land Trust

Chef John McReynolds to cook up “heaping platters of food” at Oak Hill Farm

July 31, 2008
Dinner doesn’t get any fresher or more flavorful than when the vegetables have been picked ripe from the fields that very day — and you’re dining at the farm itself! To celebrate farmers, the land and summer’s bounty, John McReynolds, former owner and chef of Café LaHaye in Sonoma, will create a special Slow Food dinner on the evening of the full moon of Monday, September 15, at Oak Hill Farm (14805 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen). An optional farm tour will begin at 5 pm; dinner will be served at 6:30 pm in the White Barn, with live music to follow. Tickets cost $80 per person or $70 plus one used kitchen knife for Slow Food members (knives will be sharpened and donated to the Sonoma Community Center kitchen). Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Sonoma Land Trust and the Sonoma Community Center. Read press release

Sonoma Land Trust Celebrates Food & Land at Slow Food Nation

Slow Dinner and Slow Hike invite people to connect taste and terroir

July 31, 2008
Among the many offerings at Slow Food Nation, the unprecedented event paying homage to sustainably raised local and seasonal food, will be a Slow Dinner at Aziza Restaurant in San Francisco and a Slow Hike at the Sonoma Baylands, both put on by the Sonoma Land Trust. Protecting agricultural lands from development is part of the Land Trust’s mission, and both the Slow Hike and Slow Dinner will stir the senses and cultivate an appreciation for the bounty and beauty of Sonoma County. Read press release

Tax incentive renewed for landowners who donate conservation easements

Second incentive will help recover endangered wildlife

June 25, 2008
The Farm Bill passed last month by Congress renewed a conservation tax incentive, authored by North Bay Congressman Mike Thompson, that helps maintain family farms and ranches and protects natural lands for future generations. This incentive has been responsible for the preservation of more than one million acres across the country over the previous two years and is available to landowners who donate voluntary conservation agreements limiting their development rights to land trust organizations. Read press release

SLT Secures Two Grants for Wildlife Habitat Restoration and Interpretive Center at Sears Point

March 17, 2008
The Sonoma Land Trust and Sonoma County Regional Parks are the recipients of a $1 million federal grant through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) to fund construction of two major wildlife habitat restoration projects in the North Bay. Read press release

SLT Files Suit to Prevent Dumping of Dredge Material

September 26, 2006
Sonoma Land Trust filed a lawsuit in Sonoma County Superior Court on Friday, September 22, to stop the privately owned Port Sonoma marina from dumping dredge material on a scenic 528 acre ranch along Highway 37 near the mouth of the Petaluma River. The ranch, known as Lower Ranch, is protected with a conservation easement that permanently restricts the use of the land to agriculture. more...

Three Business & Community Leaders Join SLT Board

July 5, 2006
Three business and community leaders have joined the board of directors for Sonoma Land Trust. Denny Van Ness is a venture capitalist who is Chairman of Hidden Hill Advisors and owner of Van Ness Vineyards in Geyserville. Kathy Tierney has been CEO of Sur La Table since 2004. Dr. Harry Richardson has practiced medicine for 30 years with a specialization in oncology. more...

SLT Releases Sears Point Restoration Plan

March 10, 2006
The Sonoma Land Trust, which a year ago purchased 2,327 acres at the southern end of Sonoma County that had been proposed as a casino resort, today released its preliminary Plan for the restoration and future use of that prominent open landscape so visible to motorists traveling along Highway 37. more...

SLT Wins Regional Award for Baylands Restoration

October 7, 2005
Every two years, the San Francisco Estuary Project (SFEP) awards one wetlands restoration project that makes a significant contribution to the health of the San Francisco Estuary. Yesterday SFEP presented that award to Wendy Eliot, Sonoma Land Trust's Conservation Director, at the 7th biennial State of the Estuary Conference in Oakland. The award recognizes the Land Trust's 2,327-acre Baylands acquisition as an Outstanding CCMP Implementation Project. more...

Final Grant Seals SLT Baylands Purchase

December 8, 2004
The California State Coastal Conservancy Board on December 2 approved a grant of $500,000 toward the Sonoma Land Trust's purchase of 1679 acres at the top of San Pablo Bay in the Highway 37 corridor. more...

First Large Grant Towards Baylands Purchase

September 21, 2004
The California Wildlife Conservation Board today approved a grant of $8 million toward the Sonoma Land Trust's purchase of 1679 acres at the top of San Pablo Bay in the Highway 37 corridor. more...

Land Trust Closes Funding Gap for Bay Trail

August 12, 2004
The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) has approved a $157,550 grant to help Sonoma Land Trust complete the first 1.6 miles of the San Francisco Bay Trail along the Sonoma Baylands at the northern end of San Francisco Bay. more...

SLT Breaks Ground on Wetland Restoration

August 18, 2003
Heavy equipment at the corner of Highway 37 and Lakeville Highway is not the start of casino construction. It is groundbreaking for the North Parcel seasonal wetland enhancement project, Sonoma Land Trust's latest restoration effort in the Bay region. more...

Plan Approved to Protect Laguna de Santa Rosa

August 1, 2003
The California State Coastal Conservancy has approved a plan that will assist conservation groups in permanently protecting areas of the Laguna de Santa Rosa. more...

Leaders Add Red Hill Ranch to State Parks

March 5, 2003
Red Hill Ranch, 910 scenic acres containing 40 acres of old growth redwood, is in the final stages of being added to Sonoma Coast State Beach, thanks to the unprecedented collaboration of six public and private nonprofit conservation organizations. more...

SLT Acquires Historic Glen Oaks Ranch

July 31, 2002
Sonoma Land Trust is now the owner of Glen Oaks Ranch in Glen Ellen. Owner and long-time Trust member Joan Cochran passed away in March, 2002, leaving the 240-acre ranch to the Trust. more...







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