California Rangeland Trust, a land trust that works to conserve California’s working ranches, announced it has achieved renewed accreditation - a mark of distinction in land conservation. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded renewed accreditation, signifying its confidence that California Rangeland Trust’s lands will be protected forever.
Almost 15 million acres of farms, forests and natural areas vital to healthy communities – an area about the size of the state of West Virginia – are permanently conserved by accredited land trusts.
“Renewal demonstrates California Rangeland Trust’s commitment to permanent land conservation in California,” said Nita Vail, Chief Executive Officer. “We’re a stronger organization having gone through the rigorous accreditation renewal process and this strength will help make our state an even better place for us and our children.”
The success of the California Rangeland Trust has been exceptional, Vail added. Ranchers have seen firsthand the benefits associated with partnering with the California Rangeland Trust, and have come to the organization in large numbers seeking to place a conservation easement on their property. They understand that the Rangeland Trust is interested in working with them to not just see their property conserved as open space and wildlife habitat, but also as a working, productive ranch, which remains economically viable and in family ownership.
During the Rangeland Trust’s first five years, over 75,000 acres on 12 privately owned ranches were conserved and from 2004 to the present, the California Rangeland Trust’s portfolio has nearly quadrupled, now with over 291,000 acres under conservation easements.
Even more significant is the large waiting list of projects and applicants – 120 landowners representing over 500,000 acres of potential conservation in California. These and other working ranches hold some of the last remaining grassland and oak savannah habitat, numerous endangered and threatened plant and animal species, riparian habitat, and critical water and food sources.
California Rangeland Trust was among 38 land trusts across the United States to achieve accreditation or to have accreditation renewed in August. California Rangeland Trust joins the more than 350 accredited land trusts that demonstrate their commitment to professional excellence through accreditation, helping to maintain the public’s trust in their work.
“It is exciting to recognize California Rangeland Trust with this distinction,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Commission. “Accredited land trusts stand together, united behind strong ethical standards ensuring the places people love will be conserved forever. This network of land trusts has demonstrated fiscal accountability, strong organizational leadership and lasting stewardship of conservation land.”
Each accredited land trust must apply for renewal every five years and undergo a comprehensive review as part of its renewal application. The process is rigorous and strengthens land trusts so they can help landowners and communities achieve their goals.
The Commission is an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization. The Commission recognizes conservation excellence by awarding the accreditation seal. More information about land trust accreditation can be found at www.landtrustaccreditation.org.