The 19,655 acre Buckeye Forest in NW Sonoma County is largest single acquisition since 2013. This landscape of redwood, Douglas-fir, tanoak, montane hardwoods, Oregon oaks, and patchy shrubs and grassland was threatened by proposed vineyard and rural residential development on many of the ridgetops. The land was purchased by a partnership between The Conservation Fund, California State Coastal Conservancy, Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, and Sonoma Land Trust with funding from the Moore Foundation and other sources. Combined with the adjacent Flat Ridge Ranch and Camp Gualala (SCAPOSD easements) it forms a 26,808 acre complex of contiguous protected lands.
Hydrologic and aquatic resources are exceptional. Buckeye Forest is in the wettest part of the Bay Area; 60″ of rain yield 38,000 ac-ft of recharge and 17,000 ac-ft of runoff and a highly productive forest. Fractured bedrock enhances recharge that provides steady cool summer baseflow into local creeks. The recharge and runoff feed headwaters of the Wheatfield Fork Gualala River, with coho and steelhead habitat on the property represented by 4.8 miles of Priority 1 and 18.1 miles of Priority 2 streams, as well as many miles downstream. The Coho Recovery Plan designates Flat-Ridge Creek as Phase 1 recovery watershed, and the other watersheds are designated Phase 2. Nearly all accessible streams are winter steelhead habitat and likely support foothill yellow-legged frogs.
The land is being sustainably managed by The Conservation Fund for resource protection and carbon sequestration. Working forestlands will provide resources for land stewardship – road repair/maintenance, erosion control, stream restoration, and forest management to produce healthy stands of large well-spaced trees. At least 5 northern spotted owl territories are known from the property; the healthiest populations of this threatened species are in the North Bay and securing these territories is a critical fine-filter CLN goal.
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