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Land Trust conserves 178-acre farmland

Easement protects Tynan Ranch from future development

PROTECTED The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County acquired a conservation easement for the 178-acre Tynan Ranch off of Lakeview Road. —photo courtesy of the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County

WATSONVILLE—The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County recently announced that it secured a conservation easement for the 178-acre Tynan Ranch, located one-half mile from the current urban growth line of the City of Watsonville off of Lakeview Road.

Tynan Ranch has been in production for over a century and is 100% certified organic, according to the Land Trust. The conservation easement will help protect this prime farmland from the pressures of future development and keep it in production for the foreseeable future, the organization noted. 

A grant from the California Department of Conservation’s ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program provided the funding for the Land Trust to take ownership of the easement in October.

In 2019, The Conservation Fund purchased Tynan Ranch on behalf of the Land Trust, subsequently selling the property to Dirt Capital Partners and the People’s Land Fund with a long-term option agreement for the Land Trust to purchase the conservation easement. In addition to the purchase, Dirt Capital Partners, the People’s Land Fund, and Kitchen Table Advisors (a third partner in this project) collaborated on a plan to transfer ownership of Tynan Ranch to a group of immigrant farmers.

Conservation easements between landowners and conservation organizations keep land in private hands and productive use, while permanently protecting it from development. 

“Tynan Ranch has long been a priority for the Land Trust due to its prime soils, proximity to the City of Watsonville, and habitat values surrounding Lake Tynan,” said Barry Baker, Director of Land Protection for the Land Trust Santa Cruz County. “We value our relationships with the local farming community, The Conservation Fund, and the Department of Conservation who made this project possible.” 

Tynan Ranch and Tynan Lake provides refuge to wildlife traveling across Pajaro Valley, including several species of ducks, herons, sparrows, raptors, and other birds associated with freshwater marsh and riparian vegetation.

“We cannot risk losing any more valuable, productive farmland like Tynan Ranch in Santa Cruz County,” said Steve Hobbs, California state director at The Conservation Fund. “Supporting the Land Trust’s unique and ambitious goals for agricultural conservation across the county has been a huge honor and we hope this is just the beginning.”

Tynan Ranch supports year-round organic production of cane berries, leafy greens and vegetables.