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(Half Moon Bay, Calif.)—The San Mateo County Resource Conservation District (RCD) and Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) announced the completion of restoration work on six ponds on POST’s 5,970-acre Cloverdale Coastal Ranches property in Pescadero. The ponds were refurbished to provide drought resilience for threatened and endangered species, and active agricultural operations on the property.
The project deepened the existing ponds to hold more water, stay wet later into dry seasons and include habitat features for different life stages of the threatened California red-legged frog. Additional improvements include agricultural infrastructure, such as fencing, pumps and troughs to bring water to cows while protecting sensitive natural resources.
“POST’s Cloverdale property has long been a proving ground for how conservation and agriculture can work cooperatively,” said POST President Walter T. Moore. “We’re fortunate to be able to partner with the RCD on this work. It’s a great example of how we can expand our approach and provide a solution that’s mutually beneficial to larger land, species and water conservation goals.”
From the 1950s through the 1980s, San Mateo County ranchers created ponds to provide water for livestock. Those ponds eventually provided critical aquatic habitat for the endangered San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog as traditional habitat for those species disappeared. The ponds were originally built to last approximately 20 years. Sedimentation and vegetation growth made it necessary to restore the ponds on Cloverdale Coastal Ranches to their proper function.
“The Cloverdale ponds project has been an excellent conservation collaboration between landowners, agencies and ranchers,” said Doniga Markegard of Markegard Family Grass-Fed, a grazing tenant on Cloverdale. “The work done to restore existing stock ponds that were built in years past by ranchers will benefit both agriculture and wildlife on Cloverdale Coastal Ranches into the future.”
Researchers estimate that only 1,000- 2,000 San Francisco garter snakes remain. The population at Cloverdale is among the healthiest of the elusive, fantastically colored snake. The California red-legged frog, made famous by Mark Twain in The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, is estimated to have disappeared from 70 percent of its range, but is still found along the coast and is an important food source for the San Francisco garter snake.
Restoration of the ponds began in 2012 and was completed this month. Construction was overseen by the RCD. The improvements cost $428,061 and were funded through an agreement between the RCD and Caltrans to mitigate impact on frog and snake habitat from seismic retrofitting along a section of Highway 101.
The Resource Conservation District in San Mateo County is a non-regulatory special district to help people protect, conserve, and restore natural resources through information, education, and technical assistance programs. For 75 years, the RCD has provided assistance to landowners wishing to best manage their natural resources and has been a focal point for local resource conservation and assistance to agriculture.
POST is a leading private, nonprofit land trust that protects and cares for open space, farms and parkland in and around Silicon Valley. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 70,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. On the Web at www.openspacetrust.org.
Public Relations Manager
Phone: (650) 854-7696 x341
Email: mmellon [at] openspacetrust [dot] org
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 76,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.