Stewardship Spotlight: Millerton Creek Ranch

January 14, 2021

Each year, MALT’s Stewardship Assistance Program (SAP) provides conservation planning expertise and funding to farmers and ranchers on MALT-protected farmland, supporting them as they care for the land. To date, the program has contributed over $1.23 million through 135 projects on more than 52 ranches. A number of critically important projects were completed over the last year, each one the result of strong community collaborations among multiple local and regional partners and ranch agriculturalists. 

One such project was on Millerton Creek Ranch, MALT-protected since 2018 and co-owned by Mike Giammona and his son Morgan Giammona of Tomales Bay Pastures, and Andrew Zlot of Double 8 Dairy. The 864-acre Millerton Creek Ranch looks over sweeping views of West Marin and Tomales Bay, and is home to an abundance of diverse natural ecology and critical water sources including Millerton Creek Gulch. As part of the ranch’s large-scale carbon farm plan, multiple projects were designed and implemented this past summer to enhance rotational grazing practices, improve livestock water infrastructure and restore critical riparian habitat. 

Learn more about Millerton Creek Ranch’s unique history and how MALT saved this at-risk property from subdivision and development.

In partnership with the Marin Resource Conservation District (MRCD) and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), 3,300 feet of cross fencing, new water pipelines and new livestock water troughs were installed at Millerton Creek Ranch. These installations will enhance the ranchers’ ability to rotationally graze their cattle, increasing the land’s productivity and capacity to capture and store carbon. 

In collaboration with Point Blue Conservation Science’s Students & Teachers Restoring a Watershed (STRAW) program and the California State Coastal Conservancy, 125 willows, 50 shrubs and 80 native wetland sedge grasses were planted to stabilize and shelter the banks and surrounding wetland habitats.

Another 2,500 feet of fencing was built to protect an eroding gully. Protecting and restoring the eroding gully will allow the newly planted vegetation to establish strong roots, stabilizing the soil and allowing it to absorb and retain water. Over time, this work will enable more perennial grasses, shrubs and other native species to establish, providing wildlife habitat along the gully’s riparian corridor and sequestering more carbon in the plants and in the soil.

Learn more about SAP today and how you can apply for and/or support this work!