Tuesday January 9, 2024

SF Gate

One hundred twenty acres of the Upper Zayante Watershed in the Santa Cruz Mountains were recently donated to the Sempervirens Fund by anonymous private landowners, marking a major step forward in conservation efforts that could aid in the recovery of endangered coho salmon and help support the habitat of other native species living in the area, per a Thursday news release from the group, which was founded in 1900 and is California’s first land trust.

Laura McLendon, director of land conservation for Sempervirens Fund, remembers the warm, clear-skied morning in October when she first hiked up to the property near Felton, about 75 miles south of San Francisco, and was struck by the diversity of the ecosystems there. She wandered along the creek shaded by ancient towering redwood trees and marveled as they gave way to higher elevation scrubland, where the sun beamed down and provided an endless vista of the surrounding forest.

 “Whenever I come across a grove of old-growth redwoods — these majestic, cathedral-like trees that are centuries old — it’s just a no-brainer that they should be protected,” McLendon told SFGATE over the phone Wednesday, noting that just 5% of the original old-growth coast redwood forest remains along a 450-mile coastal strip in California. “They’re pretty rare to find these days, and while most of these elder trees have been placed under protection, there are still some pockets remaining.” 

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