District and Sonoma Land Trust to Protect Pole Mountain on Sonoma Coast

District and Sonoma Land Trust to Protect Pole Mountain on Sonoma Coast

May 20, 2014

Posted in: Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
Amy Ricard
707/565.7261
amy.ricard@sonoma-county.org

Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District and Sonoma Land Trust to Protect Critical Habitat, Wildlife Linkages at Pole Mountain on Sonoma Coast

Acquisition will prevent future development, allow for low-intensity public recreation

SANTA ROSA, CA (May 20, 2014) – The Board of Directors of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District (District) today approved the acquisition of a conservation easement and recreation covenant over the approximately 238-acre Pole Mountain property for a $1,000,000 contribution to the pending acquisition of the property by the Sonoma Land Trust. The District’s conservation easement restricts use of the property to natural resource protection, and low-intensity public outdoor recreation and education. The recreation covenant requires the Sonoma Land Trust to provide public access to the property in the future, which ultimately will be made available via the adjacent Jenner Headlands Preserve.

At 2,204 feet, Pole Mountain, located north of Jenner, is the highest point on the Sonoma Coast. The property is the primary wildlife corridor connection between the adjacent 5,630-acre Jenner Headlands to the south and the Sonoma Land Trust’s 500-acre Little Black Mountain Preserve to the north. Pole Mountain lies within the Russian River watershed, contains the headwaters of three important salmonid streams, and is home to one of the last remaining volunteer fire lookouts in the state. The property includes several types of important habitat, including oak savannah, oak woodlands, open grassland, hardwood/coniferous forests, serpentine outcroppings, wetlands, ponds, and native riparian habitat. The range in topography, elevations and habitat provide variability for helping plant and animal species adapt to the effects of climate change.

“Today’s action will protect forever critical habitat along the Sonoma Coast,” said District 5 Supervisor Efren Carrillo. “Once the adjacent Jenner Headlands Preserve is open to the public for recreational use, individuals and families will have the ability to access Pole Mountain making it a recreational destination point. This is particularly exciting as the public will eventually have the ability to traverse from the Pacific Ocean, through multiple habitat types, to the highest peak along the Sonoma County coast.”

The conservation easement will protect the property’s significant natural features by prohibiting subdivision, and restricting all structures on the property to two small areas – one for the fire lookout and one for a land manager’s residence. The recreation covenant requires that the property be made available to the public for recreation and educational use in two phases. Initially, people will be able to visit Pole Mountain via the Sonoma Land Trust’s “On the Land” program. Eventually the public will be able to hike to Pole Mountain through the planned public access at the Jenner Headlands Preserve.

Sonoma Land Trust has a purchase contract for acquisition of the property. The total cost of the acquisition of the property is $2,350,000. The District’s contribution is $1,000,000 while the Sonoma Land Trust seeks the remaining funds from other agencies and non-profit partners, including the California State Coastal Conservancy, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Wildlife Conservation Board.

“The District is thrilled to work with the Sonoma Land Trust and the other partners to acquire this important property along the Sonoma Coast,” said Bill Keene, the District’s General Manager. “As a result of this acquisition and the conservation easement and recreation covenant, the community is protecting sensitive habitat and ensuring this property will remain undeveloped and open for public recreation for future generations.”

About the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District
The Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District permanently protects the diverse agricultural, natural resource and scenic open space lands of Sonoma County for future generations. Since 1990, the District has protected more than 109,000 acres. Agricultural and open space lands have been protected through a 1/4-cent sales tax approved by voters in 1990 and reauthorized in 2006. For more information, please visit www.sonomaopenspace.org

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