Watch Out when they say they're going to "save" something that's already been saved
Local land trusts oppose breaching of conservation easement for Roblar quarry
Troubled about "the integrity of the overall system of conservation easements and land protection in Sonoma County and beyond," Sonoma Land Trust executive director Ralph Benson and Marin Agricultural Land Trust executive director Bob Berner sent letters urging the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors not to permit a modification of the conservation easement on an adjacent property to accommodate a haul road for the proposed Roblar Road quarry. While SLT did not take a position on the proposed gravel quarry, we were "very concerned" about the alternative calling for running the access road through a property protected with a conservation easement. Benson wrote: "The promise of conservation easements — a promise to the taxpayers who fund the purchases and to donors who gift easements — is that they are permanent … We believe that approval [of the road] would do incalculable harm to the integrity of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District and SLT's efforts to protect land with conservation easements." The supervisors chose not to modify the easement.
Read SLT's complete letter here
Near Two Rock Valley, small wooden signs with the message “Protected Forever” stand along cattle-dotted hillsides that make up Sonoma County's long-tenured dairy belt.
County taxpayers have poured millions of dollars into preventing development on about 2,000 acres of private ranchland here...
Under a proposal by the owner of a 70-acre rock quarry tentatively approved for the area, about 105 acres of adjacent, county-protected farmland owned by a local dairy family would be used to partly replace habitat for two rare amphibian species that would be impacted by the quarry...
The developer, former North Bay Construction owner John Barella, defends the deal by pointing to past instances where the county has allowed habitat mitigation on county-protected farmland.