Completed: Aug 01, 2003

Tejon Ranch: California's Natural Heritage

CBI contributes to assessment, planning, and implementing a landscape reserve

The 270,750-acre Tejon Ranch is the largest contiguous tract of privately owned land in California. In addition to its outstanding core biological resource values, the Ranch represents a biogeographic crossroads of many Californias—the Sierra Nevada, the Pacific Coast, the Mojave Desert, and the Great Central Valley. It represents the last intact connection among these ecoregions for numerous plants and animals that cannot cross water, intensive agriculture, or urban development. In addition to its irreplaceable resource values, the ranch has historical and cultural significance to the citizens of California.

In 2003, the Tejon Ranch was threatened by large-scale residential and industrial development proposals that threatened to destroy the ecological integrity of the property.  Over the past 10 years, CBI has played a significant role in assessing, planning, and implementing a landscape conservation design that protects this regionally significant resource for future generations.  Working with our partners, South Coast Wildlands and California Wilderness Coalition, CBI has prepared three reports that provided baseline information for negotiations.

CBI worked closely with Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Planning and Conservation League, Audubon California, and Endangered Habitats League to negotiate the precedent-setting agreement with the Tejon Ranch Company to set aside up to 240,000 contiguous acres of spectacular and ecologically significant California wildlands. The agreement will protect approximately 90 percent of Tejon’s rich natural habitat from development, provides for the formation of an independent Tejon Ranch Conservancy to implement stewardship activities for the preserved land, and opens new opportunities for Californians to enjoy this tremendous landscape firsthand. CBI provided the principle natural resources and conservation science expertise for these negotiations.  For additional information see: Tejon Ranch Conservancy.

Photo credit:  Mike White

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