Plan Would Protect 4,000 Acres Near Truckee (CA)

July 12, 2005
California

TRUCKEE, CA, 7/13/05 -- The Truckee Donner Land Trust and The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today the acquisition of 1,400 acres in the Truckee River Watershed. The acquisitions, near Floriston and in Gray Creek, are the first phase of a larger 4,000-acre conservation effort in the Truckee Donner area. The upper reaches of the Canyon, a critical tributary to the Truckee River and buffer to the Mt. Rose Wilderness Area, are now fully protected.

The additional acreage includes Snow Mountain in the North Fork of the American Watershed and nearly 2,000 acres surrounding Independence Lake. These acquisitions will be completed sometime this fall.

The areas were acquired from Croman Timber Corp. of Oregon, the same company that sold Schallenberger Ridge and 2,000 acres above Donner Lake to the Land Trust and TPL in 2002.

"This is a huge and significant conservation victory for the Sierra," said David Sutton, Sierra Program Director for The Trust for Public Land. "Today's acquisition ensures that future generations will be able to enjoy Truckee's natural beauty, including its wonderful mountains, rivers and lakes."

The Trust for Public Land and the Truckee Donner Land Trust have now acquired or have under contract more than 7,100 acres in the Truckee Donner region. These properties have a value of more than $10 million.

"The scale of these acquisitions will have a true impact on what the future landscape of the area looks like," said Perry Norris, Executive Director of the Truckee Donner Land Trust. "We want to keep this a special place to live and this acquisition brings us one step closer to that goal."

Conservationists believe the acquisitions are important because of a closing window in which to acquire large tracts of land in the Sierra. "Today we have an opportunity. Tomorrow we won't. And to thanks to private donors and California's voters who passed important parks bonds including proposition 13 and 40, we are able to protect 1,400 acres of important watershed land and wildlife habitat today," Sutton said.

Funding for the Gray Creek acquisitions came from Prop 13 through a grant from the State Water Resources Control Board and Preserving Wild California, a program of the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation.

"The Sierra population has tripled in the last 40 years, and is projected to triple again over the next 40 years," said Mike Chrisman, secretary of the California State Resources Agency. "Protecting our watersheds from the impacts of increased development is critical to the health of all Californians. Purchases such as this one are critical to watershed protection."

"Transfer fees from developments in Truckee and the Martis Valley are not helping to finance these acquisitions," Norris emphasized.

The Truckee Watershed Council also partnered with the Land Trust and TPL on the Gray Creek acquisitions. The grant from SWRCB includes $200,000 for restoration that the Watershed Council will be managing.

"Some of the upper parts of Gray Creek have road-stream crossing that are causing a lot of erosion. Restoring these areas will improve riparian habitat and decrease excessive sediment flow into the Truckee River," Lisa Wallace, Executive Director of the Watershed Council said. "We think this project can become a demonstration site for similar areas."

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. TPL has protected more than 60,000 acres of land in the Sierra Nevada.

TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations and businesses to achieve its land for people mission. For more information, please visit www.tpl.org/cal.

Founded in 1990, the Truckee Donner Land Trust is the local non-profit grass roots organization preserving and protecting open spaces in the Truckee/North Tahoe region.

Posted 07/05