Additional Land for Petaluma Greenway (CA)

PETALUMA, CA, 4/11/03 –The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today its purchase of two adjacent industrial sites totaling 6 acres along the Petaluma River. TPL conveyed the properties, valued at $790,000, to the City of Petaluma as part of the Petaluma River Access and Enhancement Plan. The properties are adjacent to last year’s purchase by TPL of the 3.3-acre Grange property, the first acquisition for the River Plan. The River Plan envisions public parks, pedestrian and bike trails, and river access along a 6.5 mile stretch of the river including downtown Petaluma.

“Teaming our resources with the State Department of Water Resources, the local Petaluma Watershed Foundation, and The Trust for Public Land offers an exciting opportunity to implement the vision of the Petaluma River Plan. The goals of reducing flood impacts, improving water quality in our River through stream restoration, and allowing public access to the River can be successfully achieved through this type of project,” said Mike Bierman, Petaluma City Manager.

In May 2000 the City of Petaluma and the local Petaluma Watershed Foundation approached TPL seeking assistance in the implementation of the River Plan. TPL negotiated this second phase of the River Plan project with each property’s landowner and successfully sought public funding for the purchase and restoration of the properties from the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) through a $993,000 grant from the Urban Streams Restoration Program. Kurt Malchow of DWR said, “the public acquisition and restoration of these properties will meet the dual purpose of reducing flood hazards and nonpoint source pollution while enhancing riparian habitat and providing recreational opportunities.”

“These purchases represent a tremendous opportunity to simultaneously restore and preserve floodway land along the Petaluma River, provide native plant and animal species with critical habitat and refuge, and provide the public convenient access to the river. Implementation of the River Plan will not only help restore safe passageways for wildlife between the downstream salt marshes and the uplands through the most urbanized corridor of the watershed, but it will also provide the public awareness of and useful connection to our unique water system,” says Andy Rodgers of the Petaluma Watershed Foundation.

“This conservation project serves many purposes,” says Brady Moss, senior project associate for the Trust for Public Land. “The public will have greater access to the river for walking and biking; and the purchase enables the city to implement innovative ways to help solve issues of flooding and stream erosion. We look forward to helping the City of Petaluma bring their River Plan to life.”

The Trust for Public Land works nationwide to secure land for parks and open space, transferring property to local, state, or federal agencies and private land stewards for permanent public protection. Since 1972, the Trust has protected more than 1.4 million acres of scenic, cultural, recreational, and environmentally sensitive lands across the country. Dedicated to ensuring public access, improving water quality, and providing wildlife habitat, TPL’s Western Rivers Program works to reestablish and protect the natural functions of river systems. To date TPL has protected more than 30,000 acres of threatened river and wetland resources in California and has helped establish the Los Angeles River Greenway, the Tuolumne River Parkway, and the San Joaquin River Parkway.