Sierra Valley Conservation Partnership
We’re conserving working family ranches and farms in Sierra Valley, protecting critical wetlands and meadows that sustain abundant biodiversity.
At 120,000-acres, Sierra Valley rivals Lake Tahoe in size and beauty. It holds the Sierra Nevada’s largest wetland complex and montane meadows—mostly on privately owned ranches. These freshwater wetlands form the headwaters of the Middle Fork Feather River, a Wild & Scenic River and one of California’s most important water sources. A biodiversity hotspot, Sierra Valley supports the Sierra’s greatest diversity and concentration of bird species, such as White-faced Ibis and Yellow-headed Blackbirds, and offers a key stopover on the Pacific Flyway.
Sierra Nevada's largest wetlands
conserved on working family ranches
will protect headwaters and habitats forever
conserved by ranchers, FRLT, and partners to date
Impact and progress
Since 1999, FRLT along with other conservation groups and agencies have been working with ranching families to protect Sierra Valley’s wetlands and its agricultural and natural heritage. To date, approximately 43,300 acres of private ranchlands in Sierra Valley have been conserved, including FRLT’s Sierra Valley Preserve.
FRLT is working with landowners, the Northern Sierra Partnership, and The Nature Conservancy to conserve ranches and farms in Sierra Valley with conservation easements. With support from public agencies, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the State of California, we’re working to protect the Valley’s vast wetlands, diverse wildlife habitats, and Middle Fork Feather River headwaters, while sustaining agricultural vitality.
Thanks to visionary landowners and our conservation partners, recent conservation successes include:
- Protecting the 5,530-acre Puma Robles Ranch with a conservation easement in 2016
- Conserving the 65-acre Sierra Valley Farms, the region’s only certified organic farm, with a conservation easement in 2019
- Expanding FRLT’s Sierra Valley Preserve to 2,586 acres
- Conserving six working family ranches with conservation easements
These achievements protect scenic open space, critical water resources, biodiversity, and rural livelihoods.
I’m happy the land trust is working with farmers and ranchers who are already taking good care of their land. We’ve been doing it for years, and do it well, so these easements are a great way to promote local livelihoods while maintaining natural resources. That is a good thing.
—Gary Romano, owner of Sierra Valley Farms, conserved in 2019
I have yet to meet a more passionate group of landowners. I am inspired by their deep knowledge of the landscape and their commitment to conserve the natural and cultural resources of Sierra Valley. Their willingness to permanently protect their ranches will benefit generations of Californians who love the cultural heritage, agriculture, and splendor of Sierra Valley.
—Shelton Douthit, Executive Director of FRLT
If you care about protecting Sierra Valley and the whole Feather River Watershed, don’t put off this decision: Join the Feather River Land Trust today and renew your membership every year. It is the best investment you can make in the long term sustainability of our region.
—Lucy Blake, Sierra Valley landowner and President, Northern Sierra Partnership
Next steps and stewardship of conserved lands
Our Land Protection team is currently working on multiple active conservation easement transactions with private landowners that are on track to be completed in 2020-22. These easements will permanently conserve ecologically-rich family ranches in Sierra Valley.
Our work is about more than conserving land; it’s also about conserving and restoring people’s relationship to land. These working family ranches and farms will remain in private ownership, and will continue to be managed as working lands by the landowners. FRLT will hold conservation easements to protect their cultural and ecological resources and to prevent subdivision and unbeneficial land use changes.
As the conservation easement holder, FRLT meets with the landowners annually about management plans and potential impacts on resources, and monitors each property to ensure that the terms of the conservation easement are being upheld. Each conservation easement includes an endowment to fund FRLT’s monitoring in perpetuity.
Every acre we protect begins with you
Help conserve working ag lands with critical wetlands and wildlife habitats
Working together to conserve working ag lands and headwaters
Background and conservation partners
Since 1999, landowners have worked with non-profit land trusts and public agencies to conserve over 40,000 acres of ranch land in Sierra Valley for the benefit of current and future generations. Unfortunately, the amount of public funding for conservation easements wasn’t keeping pace with landowner interest, leaving many landowners wondering when and how they might have a chance to conserve their properties.
In 2015, the Feather River Land Trust, the Northern Sierra Partnership and The Nature Conservancy teamed up to secure additional funding to conserve working ranches in Sierra Valley.
In 2015, the three nonprofit partners garnered a $9 million matching grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to protect working ranches in Sierra Valley with conservation easements. These NRCS dollars will fund up to 50% of the appraised value of eligible easements. Our non-profit partnership is raising state and private funds to match the NRCS dollars, including securing funds from the California Wildlife Conservation Board, California Dept of Fish & Wildlife, and California Department of Conservation.
For more information, contact: FRLT Land Protection Manager, Kristi Jamason at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in conserving your land?
We work with willing landowners and local communities to conserve places they value. Landowners have a deep connection to their land and the gifts protected properties provide: clean air and water, fresh food, wildlife habitat, scenic beauty, and an economic cornerstone to Sierra Valley. We help them conserve it for future generations.
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You Can Count On Us
As a nationally accredited land trust, we are built to last. We leverage your donations with state, federal, and foundation dollars and strategic partnerships to achieve the greatest possible impact for the lands, waters, and people of the Feather River region. You can count on us to make careful and effective use of your support.