SOLANO LAND TRUST TO ACQUIRE IRREPLACEABLE ROCKVILLE TRAILS PROPERTY IN SOLANO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
DEADLINE LOOMS IN EFFORT TO PROTECT 1170 ACRES FROM DEVELOPMENT
Fairfield, Calif. – The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation recently boosted efforts by Solano Land Trust to acquire the 1,170-acre Rockville Trails property from a developer of luxury homes. Rockville Trails is the gateway to the Blue Ridge Berryessa Natural Area (BRBNA) and is rich in biodiversity. The land is home to several sensitive and threatened species and provides unusually intact wildlife corridors that connect to other undeveloped properties in the region.
The option to purchase the property was made possible by a 2011 legal settlement. Solano Land Trust completed an initial purchase of 330 acres for $3 million in June. The Land Trust retains the right to purchase the balance of the Rockville Trails property for $10.5 million, but the purchase must be completed by February 2012. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has made a $1.98 million contribution toward that goal. At this time, the Land Trust is undertaking a fundraising campaign to raise the remaining $5.6 million in order to complete the sale.
“This is a rare and wonderful opportunity to purchase a large swath of land that protects significant wildlife corridors and watershed lands. After decades of disputes over how to develop Rockville Trails, we now have the chance to conserve this incredible property forever,” said Nicole Byrd, Executive Director of Solano Land Trust.
The Rockville Trails property is located just outside the City of Fairfield in Solano County, approximately half-way between San Francisco and Sacramento. The undeveloped site features steep hills and plateaus and is rich in biological resources, including sensitive species and rare habitats, such as broad grass savannahs as well as blue oak and coast live oak woodlands. Rockville Trails is a key entry point into the BRBNA, 800,000 acres of intact habitat that stretch from Hwy 12 in Solano County to north of Clear Lake in Lake County. The region has seen relatively little change over time due to minimal development and low population.
The property falls within watershed lands that drain into Suisun Marsh and creeks that host endangered steelhead trout. Because of the proximity to both the San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento Delta, preserving water quality in Suisun Marsh is particularly important.
The purchase would enable six miles of trails to be added to the Bay Area Ridge Trail, ultimately connecting trails and open space from Fairfield to the Napa River. The Bay Area Ridge Trail will one day connect 550 miles of trails and open space in a loop that surrounds the Bay Area, stretching as far south as San Jose. In addition to its tremendous ecological value Rockville Trails offers panoramic views stretching from Mount Diablo all the way to the Sacramento Delta.
“This project provides tremendous benefits both to people and wildlife by protecting the land that provides clean water and gives wildlife room to roam,” said Gary Knoblock of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. “People throughout the region will have the opportunity to enjoy it, and our trustees are hoping that this lead gift will inspire additional contributions, both large and small.”
If Solano Land Trust is unable to raise the remaining funds by the February 2012 deadline, the previous owner will retain the remaining 1,170 acres, including the right to build up to 185 homes on the site. For more information about Solano Land Trust, or to donate to the effort to save Rockville Trails, see http://www.solanolandtrust.org/Index.aspx.
About the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, established in 2000, seeks to advance environmental conservation and cutting-edge scientific research around the world and improve the quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area. The San Francisco Bay Area Land Conservation area of focus seeks to conserve the Bay Area’s unique and irreplaceable landscapes and ecosystems for future generations. For more information, visit www.moore.org.