about the project
|HQT Assessment By:||
Environmental Defense Fund
Moore Ranch is just over 1000 acres and located northwest of the town of Nicasio in Marin County. The area is mixed oak woodland and grassland, and has been grazed for close to 150 years. The landowners, Jim and Margaret Moore, sold an easement to Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) in 2004, and have since implemented various habitat-friendly practices on the property with assistance from MALT and other local state and federal agencies. The Moores are enhancing their partnerships by collaborating with CVHE to promote migratory bird habitat along the ranch’s riparian corridors.
The project is located along Blue Line Creek, an intermittent creek that empties into the Nicasio Reservoir just south of the ranch. Historic grazing has constrained riparian vegetation along this creek to steeper upstream areas where cattle have a harder time accessing the channel. This has left downstream sections of the creek unforested and subject to erosion.
Jim Moore in partnership with CVHE and MALT has secured funding to replant the downstream section of the creek and install riparian fencing along Blue Line Creek, protecting and restoring habitat for the riparian birds that nest in Marin County.
The project team ran a Riparian Landbird Habitat Assessment on the site to evaluate the potential benefits of restoration to migratory riparian bird species. Riparian bird experts at Point Blue Conservation Science assisted with the HQT, helping to adapt the assessment methodology for bird species in Marin County. Restoration actions will be designed based on the results of this assessment to maximize benefits to riparian birds and have the added benefits of improved water quality and habitat creation for other wildlife species.
The assessment on 1/26/17 was run to determine the restoration potential of this property and to investigate funding opportunities for a restoration project. It covered 12.3 acres of riparian and oak woodland habitat along over 2 km of creek. 5.3 of these acres were identified as in need of extensive restoration and the remaining 7 acres only requiring basic beneficial management practices.
PARTNERING WITH MALT
Moore Ranch is also a pilot in CVHE’s partnership with MALT, which oversees more than eighty agricultural easements throughout Marin County. MALT is looking into the RLB HQT as a potential standardized assessment tool for riparian zones on the properties encumbered by MALT easements. The HQT will allow MALT to track the benefits of various restoration actions that they help fund, such as riparian fencing and conservation plantings. CVHE plans to use its online habitat tracking system, the spatial registry, to help MALT track its riparian conservation program.
in their words
“We come at this from the perspective of balancing two interests: having a viable agricultural property and doing what’s right for the land itself… and we don’t think they are mutually exclusive”
Scoring Habitat Attributes
The HQT tracks a number of habitat attributes that are important to the species. Over time, restoration actons will improve these attributes and benefit our target species. We track progess against our projections below.