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Land Management

Brush Creek watershed protected by grant

Independent Coast Observer of Gualala, California

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More than 2000 acres of working forestland in Mendocino County are now protected thanks to a $1,676 million grant awarded to the Mendocino Land Trust.

The property, owned by the Edward Miller Trust, is located along Brush Creek, a watershed between Boonville and Manchester, which contains 4.8 miles of streams that provide habitat for steelhead and Coho salmon.

At its Sept. 3 meeting, the California Wild-life Conservation Board, through the Department of Fish and Wildlife, approved a grant award to protect 2,018 acres of working forestland with the purchase of a conservation easement to be held by Mendocino Land Trust.

The site is home to an active Northern Spotted Owl nest, and also home to the endangered Point Arena Mountain Beaver. The Point Arena Mountain Beaver is of particular importance, according to Ann Cole, Executive Director of Mendocino Land Trust. There are only 27 remaining known colonies in the state, she said, and this one lies considerably east of previous detections of this endangered animal. The conservation easement contains specific protections for both species.

The landowners agreed to sell the conservation easement for 25 percent less than fair market value. "We are thrilled with this grant award and pleased to be working with landowners who have such a positive land protection ethic," said Cole.

Under the conservation easement, subdivision of the property will be prohibited and old-growth redwood and Douglas fir trees will be protected in a natural old growth area.

"We plan to manage the forest on the Brush Creek property to help with climate change and are excited to work with the Mendocino Land trust to accomplish this," said landowner Steve Miller.

The conservation easement includes provisions to enhance water resources on the property and allows the continuance of non-industrial working forest practices on selected areas within the easement. Any plans associated with timber harvesting will require the completion of a timber management plan that must be approved by Mendocino Land Trust and Cal Fire, and must also comply with all applicable state and federal forestry laws.

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Original Publication Date: September 11, 2015

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