723 Acres Added to Undeveloped Coastal Grassland Corridor￼
August 29, 2022
Protected Farmland Surpasses 55,000 Acre Milestone
POINT REYES STATION, Calif., August 29, 2022 — Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT), a leading farmland trust in California’s Marin County, announced today that it has permanently protected the 723-acre McDowell Ranch by securing an agricultural conservation easement. The property, which has been in active agricultural production for more than 120 years, is the cornerstone of a larger contiguous tract of undeveloped coastal grassland that plays a critical role in providing watershed protection, riparian habitat and wildlife corridors.
“Putting a conservation easement on McDowell Ranch, a large, productive working ranch in the Tomales area, will help preserve its extensive wildlife corridors, wide-sweeping grasslands and valuable water resources,”” said Eric Rubenstahl, associate director, stewardship. “Since MALT has purchased and extinguished the development rights, this land’s conservation and agricultural values will now be protected forever.”
Funding for the purchase of the easement comes from two sources: private donations to MALT and Marin County’s Measure A, a quarter-cent sales tax devoted to preserving Marin County’s parks, open spaces and agricultural land.
With the McDowell Ranch easement, MALT has now purchased 92 agricultural conservation easements totaling 55,182 acres—12 easements and 7,414 acres of which have received Measure A funding.
McDowell Ranch Encompasses Valuable Natural Resources
Approximately 667 acres of McDowell Ranch consist of certified organic perennial and annual grasslands used to graze organic beef cattle. The remaining 56 acres are a classic mosaic of coast oak woodlands and dense California bay forests that include a nearly 1.5 mile stretch of Stemple Creek and its watershed and provide essential habitat for native birds and other wildlife.
Almost 100 percent of the ranch is considered Farmland of Local Importance according to the California Department of Conservation’s Farmland Mapping and Monitoring data, recognizing its role in contributing to Marin’s agricultural economy, and two-thirds is classified as essential habitat by the [San Francisco] Bay Area Conservation Lands Network.
Marin Agricultural Land Trust is a nonprofit organization created in 1980 to permanently protect Marin’s agricultural land for agricultural use and establish Marin County as a thriving and inclusive agricultural community in a healthy and diverse natural environment. Some of the Bay Area’s most highly acclaimed dairy and meat products and organic crops are produced on farmland protected by MALT, which totals more than 55,000 acres. To learn more about MALT, visit malt.org.
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