The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County joined with private equity firm Homestead Capital and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a mitigation agreement that provides a clear pathway to develop vineyard on the 684-acre property, while it conserves 320-acres of prime habitat in the Purisima Hills important to many wildlife species, especially the federally endangered California tiger salamander.

This conservation easement allows ranchers, farmers, vintners and others a cost-effective way to increase production on valuable parts of their land while they offset impacts by protecting other habitat for the rare amphibian. The agreement protects a key wildlife corridor connecting a regional system of upland habitat and breeding ponds vital for California tiger salamanders that are already protected by other conservation easements.

“We need to continue building strong partnerships that support thriving local economies and protect land for agriculture and habitat. The costs of not protecting natural resources for long term resilience are astronomical, and so are the costs of losing local agriculture that is essential to our food system,” said Meredith Hendricks, Land Trust executive director… Read the full story as covered by Noozhawk, Santa Barbara News-Press, and the Santa Ynez Valley News.