SAN FRANCISCO (July 7, 2016)— Water for 25 million Californians who depend on sources from the forested mountains in the north state is that much more secure thanks to the expanding conservation of the McCloud River watershed, a major tributary to the Sacramento River that supplies the Shasta Reservoir. Pacific Forest Trust (PFT) and Hancock Timber Resource Group (HTRG) completed a conservation easement on the 12,646-acre McCloud Dogwood Butte forest property at the end of June.
This private, commercial forestland will continue to be managed for timber production by HTRG subject to the terms of the easement, which will protect 74 volcanic cold-water springs and 36 miles of streams, enhance habitats for threatened wildlife, and expand outdoor recreational access for the public in the spectacular Mount Shasta region. The voluntary, collaborative project increases the network of privately owned working forests conserved in partnership with PFT in the McCloud watershed to over 30,000-acres—an area the size of San Francisco.
PFT was able to acquire the McCloud Dogwood Butte conservation easement thanks to state grants provided by the Wildlife Conservation Board, the lead funder, as well as the California Resources Agency Environmental Mitigation and Enhancement Program, and the Department of Water Resources Integrated Regional Watershed Management Program, using bond money approved by voters under Proposition 84. A group of charities led by the Libra Foundation assured sufficient funds to complete the $10,230,000 project.
The McCloud Dogwood Butte property sits at the junction of the Klamath and Cascade mountain ranges, just south of Mount Shasta and adjacent to the historic mill town of McCloud. By preventing future subdivision and development and assuring long-term management for its natural values, McCloud Dogwood Butte’s conservation permanently bridges a key north-south gap in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and secures an important migratory corridor for wildlife adapting to climate change. Its abundant water, varied soils, and topography make the area rich in biodiversity. Management under the terms of the easement will increase habitat values for an estimated 127 species, including 10 that are rare or threatened, such as the northern spotted owl, willow flycatcher, and Pacific fisher. A highly productive timber property, McCloud Dogwood Butte will continue to provide logs and jobs for the regional wood products economy while also supporting outdoor recreation for residents and visitors.
“We are proud to partner with the Hancock Timber Resource Group and applaud their conservation commitment. California’s mountain headwaters region is a mix of public and private forestlands. Protection of McCloud Dogwood Butte and other private forests in the Mount Shasta area is important to ensure that the integrity of the watershed and keep water sources safe for all the downstream cities and farms that depend on them,” Connie Best, Co-CEO of Pacific Forest Trust commented.
“Stewardship is a core value of our organization so we are pleased and proud, to partner with the Pacific Forest Trust in the effort to preserve vital forest lands,” said Hancock Timber Resource Group President Brent Keefer. “This partnership is an example of how solid cooperation and creative approaches can support and expand quality jobs in the forest and wood products industries while at the same time keeping wildlife and watersheds healthy. In addition, it supports the local economy through the protection of viewsheds and expanded recreational access.”
John Donnelly, Executive Director of the Wildlife Conservation Board, said, “The State of California made such a significant investment in the McCloud Dogwood Butte conservation partnership because the project meets so many state priorities for water security, climate adaptation, conservation of working lands, and expanded opportunities for outdoor recreation. The project benefits people across the state.”
Working Forest Conservation Easements keep lands in private ownership and productive use, allowing the landowner and the land trust to work together as partners to safeguard the public benefits in perpetuity for far less than what it would cost to purchase lands outright for state or federal protection. Property owners can continue to earn forest revenues and make more investments in habitat enhancement and other stewardship needs. The property also remains on the county tax rolls, ensuring tax money is available to local government.
About Pacific Forest Trust
Since 1993, the Pacific Forest Trust has been dedicated to conserving and sustaining America’s vital, productive forest landscapes. Working with forest owners, communities, and an array of partners, we advance innovative, incentive-based strategies to safeguard our nation’s diverse forests. In so doing, we’re ensuring forests continue to provide people everywhere—from rural communities to urban centers—with a wealth of benefits, including clean water, sustainably harvested wood, green jobs, wildlife habitat, and a livable climate. https://www.pacificforest.org
About Hancock Timber Resource Group
The Hancock Timber Resource Group, founded in 1985, is a division of Hancock Natural Resource Group, Inc., a unit of Manulife Asset Management Private Markets. Based in Boston, it manages approximately 6.1 million acres of timberland in the United States, Brazil, Chile, Canada, New Zealand and Australia on behalf of investors worldwide. http://www.hancocktimber.com