Productive landscapes can “work” for both biodiversity and people! The pastoral scene of Marin’s rangelands, defined by fences and windrows, farm buildings, grazing livestock, and small crop lands, places almost a third of the county’s land area in a private “green-space.”
Supported by public-private partnerships and strong public policy and zoning, ranches from a long-ago era now practice sustainable, climate-smart agriculture that contributes to a suite of ecosystem services like clean water and air, nutrient recycling, soils, carbon sequestration, and local food production. These working lands also support riparian and other native wildlife habitats. Conservation is about connecting these ecological values across all of Marin’s working lands and connecting also with the biodiversity of adjacent protected public lands. Conserving this working green space also means understandings the need for these ranches to remain economically viable and resilient in the face of a shifting climate and unpredictable economy.
The Agricultural Land Use Committee continues to foster understanding between the environmental and agricultural ecosystems and communities. Some examples of its advocacy are:
- Supporting the amendment of the Point Reyes National Seashore General Management Plan to retain historic cattle and dairy ranching as a valuable cultural resource, subject to environmental mitigations and best management practices, while protecting the remaining 75 percent of the park as wilderness and natural ecosystems; and
- Advocating for the Marin Carbon Project and the County to reduce greenhouse gases by promoting carbon farm plans that sequester carbon in rangeland soils and related conservation practices.