Peninsula Open Space Trust
POST protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since our founding in 1977, POST has protected more than 76,000 acres of permanent open space, farms and parkland in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. These lands are now part of the National Park system, National Wildlife Refuge system, California State Parks, county and city parks, regional preserves and private farmland. POST takes a science-driven approach in our decisions about land acquisition and stewardship so that every property is appropriately cared for.
Land Acquisition and Transfer$5.8m
In 2017, POST celebrated its 40th year and continued to address urgent conservation needs by completing four land acquisitions and two transfers, bringing our total protected acres to 75,552 acres.In July of 2016, POST protected a 96 acre farm three miles south of Pescadero as part of our $25 million Farmland Futures Initiative, the goal of which is to triple the number of protected farms in San Mateo County. This working brussels sprout farm has spectacular oceanfront views and POST's work will ensure that the scenic values are protected and that the land will remain permanently in agriculture.In December 2016, POST transferred 21 acres north of Half Moon Bay to San Mateo County Parks including pristine coastal bluff views overlooking one of the state's most prominent marine reserves. The Pillar Point Bluff property has stunning views of both the Pacific and Montara Mountain, a wide and accessible path with a gentle grade, and important habitat for sea lions, salamanders, red-legged frogs, raptors, tide pool organisms, surfers, and dog walkers alike. This transfer completes an important section of the California Coastal trail.In June 2017, POST acquired the 191 acre Krauskopf-Conley property and subsequently transferred it to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District as an addition to the Long Ridge Open Space Preserve. Situated within the largest area of relatively intact forest habitat in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Coast redwoods and Douglas fir dominate the property. The property supports aquatic linkages between forested upland habitat and the Pacific Ocean. Upper Oil Creek contains spawning habitat for steelhead trout, federally listed as a Threatened species. Oil Creek is also part of the larger Pescadero Creek Watershed, designated as a Core Focus Area for Coho salmon recovery by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Sharp-shinned hawks, listed as a "species of concern" in California, have been seen on the property. The woodland provides habitat for animal species associated with the upper elevations of the Pescadero Creek watershed, including deer, coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, and mountain lions. Also in June, 2017, POST purchased an affirmative agricultural easement on a 14.5 acre farm south of Pescadero on the San Mateo coast, ensuring that this property stays permanently in agriculture.Also in June, 2017, POST purchased the 30 acre Fisher Flats property and established an important foothold in Coyote Valley, south of San Jose. Coyote Valley is the critical landscape that lies between the Santa Cruz and Diablo Mountain ranges. This over 7,000 acre area contains one of the last remaining undeveloped valley floors in the Bay Area and the critical landscape linkage in the south Bay Area. It includes Laguna Seca, historically a 1,000 acre wetland complex. Restoring this valuable resource would enhance habitat, retain floodwaters, and increase aquifer recharge with high quality drinking water at the same time. Coyote Valley also contains significant agricultural resources and recreational opportunities. Long under the threat of development, the valley now provides an opportunity to create a 21st century greenbelt on the fringe of San Jose.Coyote Valley as a landscape linkage for wildlife is irreplaceable and essential for the long-term protection of biodiversity in the region according to five regional and statewide planning reports. It connects 1.13 million acres of core wildlife habitat, as defined in the Bay Area Critical Linkages report, in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Diablo Range. Conserving it will help to protect over $3B in regional open space investments and further the resilience of our region.Coyote Valley provides habitat to a wide range of birds and waterfowl, including many seasonal migrants stopping along the Pacific Flyway, and a number of rare and endangered species including Swainson's Hawk, tiger salamander, Tri-colored Blackbird, Bay Checkerspot Butterfly, Most Beautiful Jewel Flower, Burrowing Owl, and a potential sub-species of American badger as well as regionally rare and unique species, such as gray fox.
POST currently holds 18,971 acres in fee ownership and holds conservation easements on 13,585 acres.The organization has an established stewardship program for the lands it owns that includes resource conservation planning and management, along with active uses of land for conservation grazing and agriculture as well as sustainable forest management and restoration where appropriate. POST works to protect and manage lands in its possession through site-specific stewardship plans for the natural resources on each property. POST staff and volunteers actively monitor the acreage on which POST holds easements or restrictions. Volunteers also assist with stewardship projects on POST-owned land. In total, POST stewardship volunteers contributed an impressive 1,324 hours of work time in 2017 treating invasive plants that degrade natural systems along the San Mateo coast.Other land management and infrastructure accomplishments include the following:- Farmland Futures Initiative:- Farm Labor Housing. In conjunction with the San Mateo County Farm Labor Housing pilot program, POST kicked off two projects to build farm labor housing on two farms. This supports our goal of preserving agricultural land while also providing the necessary infrastructure on those lands for farming operations. Confined to a small footprint within the property, the housing projects help ensure that farmers can retain trained farmworkers critical to their ongoing operations in a region where there is a significant shortage of farm labor housing.- Root Down Barn. POST rebuilt a decaying barn on Cloverdale Coastal Ranches to improve the long-term operation of Root Down Farm, a pasture based livestock operation on the property, and all future farms to come. The new barn, built to last 300 years using both recycled wood from the old barn as well as locally grown redwood sustainably harvested from our San Vicente Redwoods property, will be an iconic structure on this pastoral landscape for generations.- Continued our water infrastructure efforts, having now drilled three wells in order to increase resiliency of both agricultural operations and our natural systems by minimizing use of stream water during peak usage seasons and provide farmers and ranchers with improved, more flexible water infrastructure.- POST completed restoration of one mile of Butano Creek by installing structures to help slow the creek down and reconnect the stream channel with its historic floodplain. This section of Butano Creek can now act like a creek again. It will more frequently spill its banks, flood its floodplain and deposit sediment in the floodplain forest as it did for thousands of years. Over 150,000 tons of sediment will be prevented from entering the Pescadero Marsh because of this project helping to alleviate flooding that impacts the town of Pescadero. The project restores over 100 acres of historic wetlands on the property and nearly a mile of creek habitat supporting rare amphibians and reptiles and endangered fish species.- On the San Vicente Redwoods property, in collaboration with partners, we continued the implementation of a Timber Harvest Plan, sustainably harvesting redwood on an additional 80 acres of this 8500 acre property. We also began planning our first restoration forestry treatment on about 200-acres in the Deadman Gulch portion of the property. This treatment will help accelerate the development of old-growth forest conditions on the property that provide critical habitat for endangered marbled murrelet, a rare seabird that nests on the limbs of large old trees. Other restoration efforts on the San Vicente Redwoods property include a project to restore about one half mile of San Vicente Creek by placing redwood logs in the stream to slow down water, capture sediment, and reconnect the stream with its historic floodplain. In addition, planning is underway for a major invasive species eradication effort on this property to limit the spread and eventually eliminate Clematis vitalba, a pernicious weedy vine that forms dense mats and blankets trees and is known only to be present only in this watershed in California.- Public Access Program. POST finalized the Bay to Sea Trail Adaptive Strategy and Plan, incorporating key elements of a master plan and community engagement strategy. We also continue our planning efforts for public access on a number of other POST projects.- Wildlife Linkages Program. POST has launched a program focusing specifically on creating landscape linkages supporting wildlife movement. We have commissioned a number of studies to make sure our infrastructure and land protection efforts are firmly guided by science. Of particular note, this year we partnered with the UC-Santa Cruz Puma Project and Pathways for Wildlife to undertake a study to track the movement of bobcats in and around Coyote Valley using telemetry and camera tracking. The information gathered through these studies is providing essential data to drive our conservation strategies and investments in this area.
Community Outreach and Education$1.2m
To further our community outreach and education efforts, in fiscal year 2017 the organization executed a variety of content marketing programs and community outreach events. We executed six pieces of gated content from which we acquired 9,977 new names on our monthly email list. These people continued to benefit and stay connected to POST throughout the year from our monthly email newsletter content. Additionally, we hosted 27 outreach events of various types (sponsored events, hikes, family events and others) at which we met over 2,573 community members and donors. This includes our annual Wallace Stegner Lecture Series which in 2017 included National Geographic photographer, extreme athlete, and award winning filmmaker Jimmy Chin, beat generation poet, essayist, environmental activist, and thinker Gary Snyder and journalist, author, and former New York Times columnist Mark Bittman. Total attendance at all three lectures was 1,706 individuals. POST produced and delivered three issues of our Landscapes magazine this year to over 9,000 donors. Through these efforts we added 15,000 new members to our email community.