Cotoni-Coast Ridge

Cotoni-Coast Ridge: Connected and Soon to be Protected

Imagine a warm fall day. The sky is bright blue and there is a gentle breeze in the air. You are sitting on your picnic blanket at the top of an open coastal hillside. To the west you look out over Swanton Pacific Ranch toward the Pacific Ocean and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. A white-tailed kite hovers overhead. You adjust your hat and turn your head to look south and see Cotoni-Coast Dairies, a 5,800-acre property added by President Barack Obama to the California Coastal National Monument less than a year ago. You helped to make that happen.

A branch snaps and you turn to see the tail of a critter—perhaps a San Francisco dusky-footed woodrat—as it scampers away. Dang, you missed it! But that’s okay because instead you see a glorious view. You look up and out over oak woodlands, across the canyon and into a cool redwood forest. A bit further to the east you see a ridgeline of the San Vicente Redwoods. You breathe in deeply and feel at peace. You are on Cotoni-Coast Ridge.

This pie-shaped property is 106 acres and sits at the nexus of three large protected areas: San Vicente Redwoods (8,500 acres), Cotoni-Coast Dairies (5,800 acres) and Swanton Pacific Ranch (3,200 acres). Despite its relatively small size, Cotoni-Coast Ridge is a key connector property that facilitates the movement of wildlife across this 17,500-acre protected landscape. For species like mountain lions and badgers that need large areas to roam, this connection is particularly important.

Cotoni-Coast Ridge is exceptional in that it includes a range of elevations, several microclimates and many different habitats. Redwoods cover approximately one half of the property and the remainder is a mix of hardwoods (e.g., oak, madrone, bay), coastal terrace prairie (a sensitive habitat that has been impacted locally by development and the invasion of exotic weeds), and coastal scrub. The property also includes the headwaters of Quesaria Creek, which feeds into lower Scotts Creek, an essential creek for the endangered Coho and steelhead salmon. This diversity of habitats supports native wildlife like the Ohlone tiger beetle, Santa Cruz black salamander, northern harrier and pileated woodpecker.

For all of these reasons, we are protecting this special place.
By helping us to acquire Cotoni-Coast Ridge (and other properties like it), you are protecting its open prairies, shrubs, and trees from the threat of subdivision and development, the landscape it connects from fragmentation, and the ecological processes it supports from degradation. You are protecting breeding, resting, and foraging habitat for wildlife and fresh running water for fish and other aquatic species. And you are protecting 360-degree views that will take your breath away.

The landowner has agreed to sell the property to Sempervirens Fund for $1,225,000 and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has committed $600,000 to support the acquisition. We are trying to raise the remaining $625,000 to complete this purchase. Many of you have already made donations to this project. Thank you! With your help, we will acquire this spectacular property in January 2018, together ensuring that its natural resources, diverse habitats, exceptional connectivity and irreplaceable redwoods remain healthy and unthreatened for all time.

If you would like to help protect and steward the Cotoni-Coast Ridge property and others like it, please make a donation today. To learn more about Cotoni-Coast Ridge, please visit our Cotoni-Coast Ridge information page.

View from Cotoni-Coast Ridge, including meadowland and ocean.

Map of Cotoni-Coast Ridge

The Cotoni-Coast Ridge article was originally published in our Fall 2017 Mountain Echo newsletter. To see more Mountain Echo issues, please visit our publications page.