Nearly 315 acres in North Auburn slated for permanent conservation

Published on September 26, 2018

Trees in Conservation Area

Nearly 315 acres of oak woodlands just north of Auburn will be permanently conserved with the Placer County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approving $496,200 in Placer Legacy open space funds to buy three agricultural conservation easements over the land. District 2 Supervisor Robert Weygandt was absent from the meeting.

Known as the Oest Ranch, the property will continue its 150-year legacy of cattle ranching on land that is rich with biological resources, protecting in perpetuity these properties’ open space, biological, cultural, historical and agricultural values.

The board’s decision authorizes the Placer County Department of Public Works and Facilities to execute a funding agreement to facilitate the Placer Land Trust’s acquisition of three agricultural conservation easements from the Oest Family Trust. The easements are located along state Route 49 just north of Lorenson Road and Florence Lane and north and south of Lone Star Road.

The county’s funding leverages funding from the state’s Department of Conservation Sustainable Agricultural Land Conservation program in the amount of $1,402,500.

With the board’s action to approve the funding agreement with Placer Land Trust, three conservation easements will be acquired over 314 acres, which will complement two other prior easements acquired in 2015 and 2016 over the Oest Ranch covering 113 additional acres. With the approval, conservation of the entire 427-acre ranch is assured.

Contributing to the placement of an agricultural conservation easement over the property helps accomplish the Placer Legacy Program’s open space conservation goals and complements the Placer County Conservation Program.

The PCCP is a progressive and proactive strategy for identifying where development should occur in western Placer County while preserving important natural and agricultural resources. If approved, it would streamline the federal, state and local permitting process. The PCCP would also ensure up to 47,000 acres of permanent land conservation in Placer County, required as mitigation for that development.

“I am so delighted to see the Oest Ranch being incorporated into our overall Placer County Conservation Program,” said District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery. “This is a prime example of Placer Legacy and Placer Land Trust working in tandem to protect valuable agricultural lands.”

Last week, the PCCP was granted a waiver from the secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior, which had limited complex environmental impact statements to 300 pages or less. Since the PCCP is a joint federal Habitat Conservation Plan and California Natural Communities Conservation Plan, and includes a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers streamlined process for permitting wetlands, it is necessarily detailed and must analyze all of the required elements of both state and federal regulations. The granting of the waiver is anticipated to allow public review of the program and the environmental impact report later this fall.

More information about Placer Legacy is available by calling the Planning Services Division at 530-745-3000 or visiting the Placer Legacy website.

Learn more about the Placer Land Trust.