Inside this issue: Conservation helping the climate, how the Arroyo Hondo Preserve serves Santa Barbara County's youth, a meeting of neighboring Land Trust minds, new and outgoing faces on the staff and board, and more.
The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County and The Trust for Public Land today
protected the 780-acre Jordan property, a Lompoc Valley farm that dates to shortly
after California became a state. The property will be permanently protected from
future residential development by an agricultural conservation easement, the first in
the agriculturally rich Lompoc Valley.
“This is a terrific opportunity to protect, in perpetuity, one of most productive farms
in the Lompoc Valley, due to its significant size and the fact that it is prime
agricultural land” said Chet Work, Executive Director of the Land Trust.
Gina Fromer, California Director of The Trust for Public Land, said, “This is a great
example of our mission of protecting land for people because protecting this farm
means protecting a classic California landscape for future generations.”
The 780-acre property, located west of Lompoc and surrounded on three sides by
Vandenberg Air Force Base, is now permanently protected. Produce grown on the
farm, which includes a variety of flowers, fruits and vegetables like Brussels’ sprouts,
artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce, supplies restaurants, grocery stores and
farmers’ markets throughout the county.
“The Jordan family has long contemplated placing an agricultural easement on this
property,” stated Steve Jordan, who runs the farm. “We are extremely pleased that
this long-term goal of keeping our property in agricultural use permanently has
been brought to fruition. We greatly appreciate the efforts of The Trust for Public
Land and the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County in providing this opportunity
and bringing us to this successful conclusion.”
The $1.5 million in funding came from a pair of federal pots of money, including the
U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service
Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), and the Pentagon’s
Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program which
protects land near military bases.
“I am very pleased that federal funding has made the difference in the completion of
this project which will protect local agricultural lands and contribute to the beautiful
open space and rural atmosphere of the Lompoc Valley,” stated Congresswoman
Lois Capps, (D-Calif.). “Protecting the Jordan Farms property will not only
permanently protect 780 acres of prime farmland adjacent to the Santa Ynez River,
but it will also provide an important connectivity opportunity for future land
conservation projects in the area. I am hopeful that this is just the first of many
similar agricultural protection projects in the Lompoc Valley.”
“Not only is this permanent agricultural easement on the Jordan property a step in
the right direction toward protecting agriculture in the County, but it is also critical
to preserving the agricultural heritage and rural character of the Lompoc Valley,”
stated Santa Barbara County Supervisor Doreen Farr, who supported the project
since its inception.
The Trust for Public Land worked out details of the permanent easement, which will
be held and monitored by the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. In addition to
preserving the property’s agricultural resources, the easement will preserve the
highly scenic qualities of the Lompoc Valley, as well as providing environmental
benefits due to its adjacency to the Santa Ynez River along its northern boundary.
Finally, the easement will provide an incentive to other landowners in the area to
similarly protect their agricultural lands.
“Protection of the Jordan Farms property is entirely compatible with the mission of
Vandenberg Air Force Base and will provide more flexibility to the Base’s Western
Range and Launch Operations when considering new technologies, launch vehicles,
and project development,” stated Kenneth Domako, Chief of Planning and
Programs. “We are thrilled to have played a role in the success of this very positive
The REPI Program prevents encroachment on military missions, such as training,
testing and operations by helping to remove or avoid land-use conflicts near military
bases, such as Vandenberg Air Force Base.
“This project, with the Trust for Public Land, the Land Trust for Santa Barbara
County and the Department of Defense, is unique for us at NRCS California,” said
State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. “As the first easement adjacent to a military
installation in part funded by California NRCS, it clearly provides a productive
buffer ripe with many mutual benefits for agriculture and defense. We are happy to
partner on this easement near Vandenberg and welcome the possibility to pursue
similar opportunities in the future.” The Agricultural Conservation Easement
Program (ACEP) helps conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related
benefits. Under the Agricultural Land Easements component, NRCS helps Indian
tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations protect
working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land.
“Protecting the Jordan Farms property was a high priority for The Trust for Public
Land due to the site’s highly productive soils, adjacency to the Santa Ynez River and
connection to Santa Barbara County’s agricultural community, including the area’s
local farmers’ markets,” stated Alex Size of The Trust for Public Land, the
organization’s project manager for the easement acquisition. “The Santa Barbara
Foundation helped support this, and we appreciate that support.”
The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in
1985 and dedicated to preserving and enhancing Santa Barbara County’s natural
resources, open spaces and agricultural heritage for present and future generations.
To date, the LTSBC has helped to preserve nearly 24,000 acres of natural resource
and agricultural land and has assisted landowners in placing conservation
easements on 43 properties totaling more than 16,000 acres in Santa Barbara
County. For more information, visit www.sblandtrust.org. The Trust for Public Land
creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities
for generations to come. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a
Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these
sites every year. To share your story or learn more, visit www.tpl.org.