Big Wins, Top Stories & News You Shouldn’t Miss – 2022 in Review
December 12, 2022
It’s been an action-packed year for us here at the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (folks call us “MALT) and there’s so much for us to celebrate. To date, we have protected over 55,000 acres of West Marin’s diverse mosaic of coastal grasslands, oak woodlands, rangelands and pastoral open space. And we know that we wouldn’t be where we are today without the continued support of our donors, partners and the greater community. Your generous support makes it possible, friends, and we couldn’t do it without you.
In case you missed it, below you’ll find a few of the highlights from our work this year protecting and tending to the agricultural landscapes of Marin County. For us, being in this landscape is what it’s all about so we’ve also included a few of our top recreational blog posts from the year, things you won’t want to miss if you love visiting the spectacular working landscape.
Get out there and stay tuned for more good news in 2023!
McDowell Ranch Protected Forever
In August of this year, we were thrilled to announce the protection of the 723-acre McDowell Ranch just east of Tomales near the Marin and Sonoma County line. We acquired an agricultural conservation easement from the ranch owners, ensuring this land’s verdant, organic-certified grasslands are safeguarded from the threat of development and will forever remain in agricultural production.
This easement builds upon a block of more than 9,000 acres of contiguous MALT-protected land, stretching from the county border to the mouth of Tomales Bay. As a cornerstone for conservation efforts locally, these large blocks of protected land offer ideal refuge for a host of vital biodiversity and are essential in our work to build regional resilience in the face of a rapidly changing climate.
Get the full story here.
Building Resilience to Drought
Farmers and ranchers across the western United States continue to struggle amid the most intense drought in recorded history—the driest period in at least 1,200 years. In response to this crisis, we launched our Drought Resilience and Water Security (DRAWS) initiative in April of 2021 to help Marin County farms and ranches cope with the increasingly dire conditions.
Through this initiative, all agricultural operators are eligible for grants up to $15,000 to design and implement long-term water infrastructure projects. MALT staff have assisted farmers and ranchers in planning, designing and implementing conservation practices specific to water development and security. Since its launch, the DRAWS initiative has committed $830,000 to projects centered around long-term water security.
Learn more about this initiative here.
Measure A Renewed – A Win for All
In June, Marin County voters approved the renewal of funding for Measure A, a one-quarter of one-percent sales tax set aside to help fund parks, open spaces, fire prevention, land stewardship and farmland protection. MALT played a key role in supporting this initiative and we were thrilled to see the overwhelming support from local communities.
Since its passage in 2012, Measure A has allowed Marin County to invest $13.3 million in grants for farmland preservation. With the support of the county’s Farmland Preservation Program (Measure A funding), our team here at MALT has protected 11 farms and ranches totaling 6,691 acres through the acquisition of agricultural conservation easements.
Get the details here about this vital public initiative.
Key Funding Secured to Protect Tomales’ Duncan Ranch
In September, our team secured half of the funding needed to protect the 540-acre Duncan Ranch (pictured in the uplands above) just east of Tomales through an agricultural conservation easement. This property’s oak-studded grasslands are now just a few steps away from being protected in perpetuity from the threat of development, ensuring they remain in productive agriculture for generations to come.
Funding for the $2.7 million easement will come from two sources: half from private donations to the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) and half from Marin County’s Measure A, demonstrating the extraordinary efficiency of MALT’s public-private funding model. We couldn’t be more excited and look forward to finalizing this easement in the coming months.
Get the full story here.
MALT Welcomes Lily Verdone
And last but certainly not least, our team was incredibly thrilled to welcome Lily Verdone as MALT’s new executive director in August of this year. As a Northern California native, Lily has led initiatives to protect agricultural land, open space and fresh water during her 20-year career working inside global organizations such as The Nature Conservancy as well as small, community-based land trusts.
With more than two decades of experience in scaling diverse solutions to meet major environmental challenges, Lily brings the perfect combination of skills to help guide our organization and contribute to the greater agricultural community. We’re so thrilled to have her aboard and excited for what lies ahead!
Watch the video above and learn more about Lily here.
You can help protect farmland forever in Marin County.
Top Posts for 2022
Immerse yourself in the beauty of Marin’s agricultural landscape with these top recreational blog posts from the last year—including some of our staff’s top recommendations, favorite hikes and more. Enjoy!
Find 5 go-to spots for easy hikes in the West Marin area—whether you’re new to hiking or are just looking for easy trails to try. Find more here.
Find the best stops on this route and plan your next great adventure amid this spectacular landscape. Find more here.
There are so many great hikes close to Point Reyes Station but these four are our absolute favorites. Find more here.