Mid-Campaign Impact Report

we have accomplished
so much together.

The climate crisis is complex, but the solutions are right under our feet.

 

A Force for Nature was launched  to help build a more resilient Sonoma County. To date we have raised more than $75M to acquire and restore the land and natural resources that sustain us.

Together we are fulfilling our mission to conserve the land of Sonoma County for the benefit of the community and future generations. This campaign has helped us conserve some of the most beautiful and ecologically significant land in the region. It also enables us to plan and raise funds for several important projects in our pipeline.

6,000 Acres
11 Projects

Conserving farmland, ranches, greenways, baylands, forests, coastline, wetlands, meadows, rivers and streams.

MULTIPLE BENEFITS OF NATURAL SOLUTIONS

Lessen Flood Risk
Recharge Ground Water
Reduce Fire Risk
Protecting Biodiversity

NEW
PROGRAMS

to grow an inclusive movement for nature

6,000 Acres 11 Projects

Conserving farmland, ranches, greenways, baylands, forests, coastline, wetlands, meadows, rivers and streams.

MULTIPLE BENEFITS OF NATURAL SOLUTIONS

Lessen Flood Risk
Recharge Ground Water
Reduce Fire Risk
Protecting Biodiversity

PRESERVING
NATURE NEARBY

Santa Rosa
Petaluma
Glen Ellen

NEW
PROGRAMS

to grow an inclusive movement for nature

Projects completed during campaign

A LEADER FOR 45 YEARS

ACCELERATING OUR WORK

We’re taking our 46 years of protecting the landscapes of Sonoma County and stepping up our game. This campaign is helping us use natural solutions to become a force for nature and fight for a climate-resilient future. Our strategic plan says it well: “Our task as humans is not only to turn the corner on global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, but also to ready ourselves for the impacts of a changed climate already underway.”

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the enormity of climate change. But there are many things we can do to address the climate crisis. Nature-based solutions can simultaneously lessen flood risk, recharge groundwater, reduce fire risk, on top of shrinking carbon dioxide emissions. Working with nature, we are helping our community be more prepared for the change ahead. Donations of all sizes are incredibly important and have collective impact when invested in proven strategies for land conservation and restoration and community engagement.

We are pursuing fire resilience

After the 2017 wildfires, Sonoma Land Trust sprang into action with five other public land owners and Cal Fire to form the Sonoma Valley Wildlands Collaborative. Together, we are working on a long-term strategy across 18,000 acres in Sonoma Valley to help communities contend with wildfires. The work includes: reducing fire fuel levels at Jack London State Historical Park, installing shaded fuel breaks in Sonoma Valley Regional Park and conducting prescribed burns at Jack London State Park. By working together, we can prioritize the areas with the highest needs and use resources strategically.

65 Acres

of shaded fuel breaks completed

220 Acres

of understory thinned

64 Acres

of right-of-way roadway cleared

60+ Acres

of prescribed fire*

*Jack London State Historic Park, Sonoma Mountain Ranch, and Bouverie Preserve

MANAGING OUR PRESERVES FOR WILDFIRE RESILIENCE

Sonoma Land Trust is one of the first in the state to have wildfire resilience projects approved under the Cutting the Green Tape Initiative. The Governor issued this initiative to make the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process easier, shorter and less expensive for forest restoration projects. With this approval, four of Sonoma Land Trust’s preserves are now ready for forest thinning, shaded fuel breaks and prescribed fire, and this approval makes them eligible for various government grants. In partnership with the Northern Sonoma County Fire Prevention District, we’ll be implementing our plans across 78 acres at Laufenburg Ranch, Live Oaks Ranch, Pole Mountain and Little Black Mountain Preserves.

"I want to leave a world that works for my grandchildren."

supporting scientific research

By using our preserve as classrooms and labs, we can apply conservation science in real time. For example, the Sonoma Valley Wildlands Collaborative is working with UC Berkeley Professor Scott Stephens to research the effectiveness of different vegetation management practices on wildfire behavior. By changing up our grazing plan at Pole Mountain Preserve we are testing our ability to improve native plant and soil health, maintain grassland species diversity and reduce fire fuels, like thatch and brush, which carry wildfire into nearby forests. Through Soundscapes to Landscapes (S2L), citizen scientists have recorded birds on several of our preserves. That data is linked to remotely sensed images and climate data, resulting in dynamic maps of bird species across the county. By monitoring birds, we can better understand how climate change and wildfire is impacting biodiversity.

Sonoma Land Trust conducted its first prescribed burn on nine acres of Laufenburg Ranch in June 2022. Controlled fires are one of the best tools for reducing wildfire risk and restoring fire resilience to the land. This burn helps restore grassland health and remove Yellow Star Thistle and Medusahead grass.

"The world is fragile. Working hard to safeguard it thoughtfully and strategically is so important. Sonoma Land Trust does just that, here where we call home. Our piece of the world."

ADAPTING TO RISING WATERS

Sonoma Land Trust convened a group of elected officials, state and federal agency representatives and partners for an important tour and discussion of our climate resiliency work in the Baylands. The meeting was convened at the request of Congressman Huffman to help engage and inform important voices among elected officials and agency partners for the work in this region and the Highway 37 project.

We are on track to meet our goal of enhancing and restoring 20,000 acres of tidal marsh habitat in the San Pablo Bay by 2030. Our commitment manifests in both planning and action. We are partnering with a Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit team to redesign Highway 37 in a way that mitigates traffic congestion and alleviates flooding while restoring and enhancing diverse Baylands habitats. Our efforts, and those of our conservation partners, have helped secure $7M in federal funding for the region.

This video, produced by Sonoma Land Trust, shares how nature is making a comeback around the Bay and proving its resilience. With help from conservation groups led by Sonoma Land Trust, citizen scientists are documenting the return of thousands of birds to San Pablo Bay.

Sonoma Land Trust recently partnered to produce an episode of OpenRoad on NBC Bay Area, highlighting how the restoration of wetlands may be the best and biggest opportunity for large-scale wetland restoration in the Bay Area.

Peter Baye, coastal ecologist and botanist explains how nature-based solutions in tidal wetland management can help us respond to rapidly changing conditions at the 970-acre Sears Point Tidal Wetland Restoration Project.

Climate change disproportionately affects low-income communities which is why we are intentionally engaging with underserved communities to foster solutions and plans that distribute the benefits of nature equitably.

HELPING CREATE SANTA ROSA’S OWN CENTRAL PARK

We are partnering with the City of Santa Rosa and the citizens of the Santa Rosa Southeast Greenway Coalition to purchase the Southeast Greenway from Caltrans. 

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will restore, preserve and protect a two-mile stretch of vacant freeway right-of-way into a thriving, 47-acre urban park. Creating a new park takes a long time and has many stages from acquiring the land, to planning, to installing and building the new amenities like trails and community gardens, to the ongoing stewardship.

Connecting Spring Lake Park and Farmers Lane, the Greenway will feature numerous pathways for cyclists, walkers and joggers and provide a respite for neighboring apartment dwellers to enjoy community gardens, play areas and public art. Restoration will preserve wildlife habitat and create a rich and biodiverse outdoor classroom for students in eight nearby schools. We’re honored to play a leadership role at this early stage (and future stages) and know that open space in urban areas plays a critical role in creating a more healthy and resilient Sonoma County.

WE are Empowering communities

New programs developed and launched during this campaign are helping Sonoma Land Trust engage children, teens and families who reflect the rich diversity of our community.  Our programs are designed to introduce these future environmental leaders and their families to the work we do and inspire the future conservation leaders of our community.

150+

Students

participated in Bay Camp, a bilingual summer camp. For many it was their first time to the Bay

86%

OF Teens

in Conservation Council said they feel more connected to the environment and nature

2051

students

participated in the SLIME program during 2020-21

Conservation Council: Finding Our Future Environmental Leaders

Our Conservation Council program introduces underserved Sonoma County high school students to environmental and STEM careers through conservation research projects on Sonoma Land Trust protected lands. 
 
Using wildlife cameras, teens monitor and document biodiversity at Laufenburg Ranch in Knights Valley in Northeast Sonoma County and use the research they gather to write a scientific paper. Research papers are presented to advisors and students can cite their work on college applications. Teens also engage in a variety of other youth development activities, including stewardship projects, hiking and outdoor recreation, journaling, team-building games and college and career awareness workshops.

Teens reported increased interest in STEM education and conservation careers.

100%

 increased their awareness of Sonoma’s habitats and ecosystems

71%

learned about impacts of climate change on their community

86%

believe they can be a scientist if they choose to be

Bay Camp: Introducing  Families to the Wonders of the San Pablo Bay

Bay Camp, our bilingual summer day camp for children aged 7 to 12, has introduced more than 150 children to the dynamic ecosystems of San Pablo Bay. Prior to attending camp, most of the participants had never visited the Bay shore. We’re delighted that campers are bringing their families to the Sears Point Wetlands site and sharing what they learned with their families. Eighty percent of families indicated plans to visit this underutilized and free site again.

100%

He's never gotten so muddy in his life!
What's not awesome about that?

Bay Camp Parent

SLIME: Students Learning In Marsh Environments

Students Learning in Marsh Environments (SLIME) is Sonoma Land Trust’s regional school field trip program that connects 3rd and 4th grade students to the salt marsh ecosystems of the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. On field trips, students get real-world examples of landscape-scale tidal marsh restoration and how it helps defend against sea level rise in Sonoma County.

With our partners, we developed resources for students and teachers in English and Spanish.
Click here to download.

BALANCING HOUSING AND WILDLIFE

The wildlife corridor that runs through the Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) is a critical link within a larger corridor that connects Marin and Sonoma to the regionally important Blue Ridge Corridor along the Mayacamas. Plans to redevelop the 930-acre site, which has been officially closed since 2018, are underway. Our aim is to influence a redevelopment process that not only includes strategically placed affordable housing to create a vibrant community, but also protects the biodiversity that our lives depend upon.

thank you

Thank you for supporting the work of Sonoma Land Trust and in doing so being a force for nature!
The work we do during this campaign will have a tremendous impact on our future.

together we are a force for nature

want to get involved?

Want to talk about how you can take part in the campaign?
Contact Shannon Nichols Director of Philanthropy | 707-933-7220 | shannon@sonomalandtrust.org

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