Sempervirens Fund Protects 76 Acres Adjoining Big Basin, Including Marbled Murrelet Habitat

Sempervirens Fund has purchased the Lachenbruch property—76 acres of coast redwood forest that include the headwaters of Whitehouse Creek, 115 pre-settlement old-growth redwoods, and documented nesting habitat for the marbled murrelet.

The creek and healthy old-growth redwoods on the Lachenbruch property provide habitat for the marbled murrelet, an endangered seabird that spends its life on the open ocean but nests in old-growth trees. The marbled murrelet is federally listed as a threatened species under the U.S. Endandered Species Act, and state-listed as an endangered species in California. In 2007, California Department of Fish and Game surveys determined that approximately 60% of the property was occupied as marbled murrelet nesting habitat.

The Lachenbruch property is surrounded on three sides by Big Basin Redwoods State Park and is located in the Whitehouse Creek watershed, a high-priority conservation area between Big Basin Redwoods and Año Nuevo State Parks. Sempervirens Fund’s goal is to protect the area’s redwood forests in order to expand protected habitat, create safe wildlife corridors, preserve watershed integrity, and open the possibility for establishing trail connections between the two state parks.

The Lachenbruch property is almost entirely covered by forests of coast redwood, Douglas fir, and hardwood trees such as tanoak, coastal live oak, and madrone. There are an estimated 115 pre-settlement old-growth redwoods on the property.

“My wife Edie and I have always felt incredible places like this should be protected forever,” said Art Lachenbruch, the landowner from whom Sempervirens Fund purchased the property. “We’re very grateful to Sempervirens Fund for stepping in to make this happen.”

“Over the past decade, we have forged a strong relationship with the Lachenbruchs, and we’re proud to have earned their trust,” said Sempervirens Fund Executive Director Reed Holderman. “The result has been a unique opportunity to permanently protect critical murrelet habitat, watershed integrity, old growth redwoods, and landscape connectivity.”

A portion of the funding for the Lachenbruch property 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 Lachenbruch property helps fulfill the Living Landscape Initiative’s conservation goals in the Redwood Heartland—one of four priority landscapes targeted for land protection.

You can read more in the article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel: Big Basin land purchase preserves redwoods, protects rare bird.

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