Protecting Salmon, Redwoods and Meadows
In late 2009 Siskiyou Land Conservancy recorded a conservation easement that permanently protected 163 acres of privately owned second-growth redwood forestland, meadows and streams in western Mendocino County.
The two parcels, near Elk, stretch from rolling ridgetop meadows to the mature redwood forests along Greenwood Creek, which is an important salmonid stream in the region. The importance of the easement was clearly demonstrated in 2015, when biologists discovered endangered coho salmon in Greenwood Creek for the first time in fifty years. This easement protects a half-mile of Greenwood Creek.
The property also features extensive redwood groves, including some of the oldest second-growth redwood forest in the county. The conservation easement also protects scattered “residual” old-growth redwood trees and unentered stands of old-growth Douglas fir.
The land’s elegant ridgetop meadows are noteworthy. They remain undeveloped in a region of coastal Mendocino County that is otherwise highly desirable for large ridgetop “trophy homes” and vineyards. The easement allows just one new dwelling, and the possible expansion of an existing dwelling, on the entire 163 acres.
This easement disallows subdivision, commercial logging, road building and other potentially harmful uses, including application of pesticides. In addition to protecting a half-mile of Greenwood Creek, the easement also protects a half-mile of a smaller creek that provides clear water year-round to Greenwood Creek.
Preserving the meadows protects native grasses, which are returning to the land after the owners removed sheep from the property when they bought the land 40 years ago. The meadows also provide habitat for coyote mint (Monardella villosa), which the state of California lists as a “threatened species.”