Fairy shrimp have been observed in vernal pools in land near Madera Ranchos that has received $2.6 million in conservation funding.

published on November 30, 2018 - 1:53 PM
Written by David Castellon

A project to preserve more than 3,600 acres of ranchland in the Madera Ranchos area is slated to receive more than $2.6 million in state funding.

That money is coming from the California Strategic Growth Council, which this week voted to award more than $47.9 million to fund 17 agricultural conservation easements in 13 counties.

Another recipient of a portion of that funding is the Sequoia Riverlands Trust in Fresno County, which had $772,666 earmarked fop it to help pay to conserve a 108-acre, irrigated tree fruit farm less than a mile from Reedley College, off the banks of the Kings River.

“The farm provides wildlife habitat along the Kings River,” a summary of the project states.

As for the larger project in Madera County, that involves an operation raising up to 320 purebred Angus, Angus cross and Charolais cows and calves, according to its project summary.

The property contains vernal pools, and the summary states, “vernal pool fairy shrimp and five other special-status species have been observed on site.”

It goes on to say, “The property is located adjacent to the Madera Ranchos and thus could serve as a greenbelt for that unincorporated community. It is also located between the Madera Ranchos and the City of Madera and thus could serve as the beginning of a community separator.”

The Strategic Growth Council began the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) Program in 2014 as part of a larger effort to promote more compact development across the state. In its first three years, the SALC Program distributed $75.9 million to land trusts and local governments, according to a press release from the council, a division of the state Department of Conservation.

The projects funded by the program help California protect agricultural land while reducing carbon footprints, along with advancing the goal of preserving vibrant communities and enhancing the quality of life for Californians, California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird stated in the release.

“This year’s awards will conserve approximately 10,721 acres of high-value and productive agricultural land and eliminate more than 18 billion potential vehicle miles traveled that would result from development of these lands over a 30-year period,” it continues. “That equates to nearly 7.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent over the 30-year period.”

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