Saving Coast Dairies: Pioneering a Landscape Approach to  Conservation

Saving Coast Dairies: Pioneering a Landscape Approach to Conservation

Twenty years after being slated for development of nearly 150 luxury estates, a former dairy ranch on the Santa Cruz County coast is part of a federally protected national monument. Practically every step of that evolution involved Resources Legacy Fund.

The 7,500-acre Coast Dairies property comprises six distinct watersheds, more than seven miles of pristine beaches, hundreds of acres of agricultural lands, and 700 acres of redwood forest. With land speculators poised to develop the property in 1998, the Trust for Public Land worked with Save the Redwoods League to purchase the property. They were supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation by way of Resources Legacy Fund’s Conserving California Landscapes Initiative—the Packard Foundation program that brought RLF into existence.

Coast Dairies remains an RLF focus. RLF worked closely with the Packard Foundation to support land management, due diligence, environmental cleanup, and other activities that enabled Trust for Public Land to donate the coastal section of the property to California State Parks and the remaining 5,500 acres to the U.S. Bureau od_05_TPL_pacificcoastbeachf Land Management.

Coast Dairies is adjacent to the 8,532-acre San Vicente Redwoods property purchased by Peninsula Open Space Trust and Sempervirens Fund in December 2011 (with support from the Packard and Gordon and Betty Moore foundations through another RLF program, as well as from other funders). Thus, Coast Dairies became part of a much larger protected landscape.

RLF supports a cohort of organizations in the area—including Conservation Lands Foundation, Sempervirens Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Save the Redwoods League, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, and Peninsula Open Space Trust. One of RLF’s aims has been incorporation of the BLM-owned portion of Coast Dairies, known as “Cotoni–Coast Dairies,” into the existing California Coastal National Monument.

On January 12, 2017, in one of the final acts of his term, President Obama made Cotoni-Coast Dairies part of the national monument, securing for it improved management, public use, and funding opportunities. RLF is working now to protect this and other national monument designations from rollback under the Trump administration.





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