The Land Trust joined with a private equity firm landowner and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to balance vital conservation goals, economic growth, and agribusiness operations in the La Purisima Hills. The collaboration resulted in a mitigation agreement that allows for planned development of a vineyard on the property while conserving 320-acres of prime habitat important to many wildlife species, especially the federally endangered California tiger salamander.
Many farmers, ranchers, and investors have come to view the presence of the seldom-seen salamander as an obstacle to agricultural operations, but a growing number of landowners see potential to balance agribusiness opportunities with conservation of critical habitat. In some cases, a conservation easement allows ranchers, farmers, vintners, and others a cost-effective way to increase production on parts of their land while they offset impacts by protecting other habitat for this rare amphibian. The Yellow Foxtrot conservation easement protects grazing land and oak woodlands that are crucial to the survival of the salamander and ensures the landowner’s rights to continue cattle ranching operations that are compatible with preservation of this endangered species.