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Sempervirens Fund buys 80 acres in priority conservation areas

Sempervirens Fund purchased 80 acres of redwood forest -- the Butano Creek and Waterman Creek properties -- from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The properties consist of two 40-acre parcels in south San Mateo County that include tributaries to Butano Creek and Pescadero Creek, important nesting habitat for the endangered marbled murrelet, and older second-growth redwoods. The two properties are in high priority conservation areas, and by protecting them, Sempervirens Fund has taken two more important steps toward connecting existing parklands and reassembling a healthy, beautiful and accessible redwood forest between Silicon Valley and the Pacific Ocean. The properties are near Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Butano State Park and Castle Rock State Park.

"We are very excited to finally complete our first land-protection project with the Bureau of Land Management," said Reed Holderman, Executive Director of Sempervirens Fund. "The two properties will be protected forever from building, paving and commercial logging."

"We were glad to be able to sell these surplus lands to a land trust as venerable as Sempervirens Fund," said Rick Cooper, Field Manager of Bureau of Land Management's local Hollister Field Office (BLM). "They will be excellent stewards of these properties."

The Butano Creek parcel is located in Butano Canyon on the North Fork of Butano Creek, about a mile and a half north of Butano State Park. Butano Creek provides potential sheltering habitat for California red legged frogs. Coho salmon and Steelhead live downstream. The canyon provides nesting habitat for the threatened marbled murrelet and is also a murrelet flyway to groves upstream. The property is characterized by steep south-facing hillsides that are alternately bare on the ridgetops (known as "The Chalks") or vegetated with chaparral. Mature second-growth redwoods and Douglas fir line the ridgeline, which younger second-growth redwoods dominate the lower slopes. Sempervirens Fund purchased an adjacent 160-acre property in 2010, which it continues to own and care for.

The Waterman Creek parcel is located west of Castle Rock State Park, and is surrounded by private forestland. The property is just upstream of Pescadero Creek, an essential creek for protection of Steelhead trout. Waterman Creek contains mature second-growth redwoods and scattered residual old-growth redwood trees. While BLM has retained the mineral rights over the 40-acres; Sempervirens secured a no-surface access clause to prevent any future mining from taking place.

A portion of the funding for the Butano Creek and Waterman Creek properties came through a grant from the Living Landscape Initiative Challenge Grant Program, administered by Resources Legacy Fund and funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Sempervirens Fund's purchase of the two properties, announced today, helps fulfill the Living Landscape Initiative's conservation goals in the Redwood Heartland — one of four priority landscapes targeted for land protection.

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