|Coast Dairies property to be transferred to State Parks and
by Don Croll
In March the Trust for Public Land, which is currently responsible for the management
of the 7,000-acre Coast Dairies Land north of the city of Santa Cruz, announced
that it will transfer the property to the California Department of Parks and Recreation
(land west of Hwy. 1) and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (land east of Hwy.
1). The land transfer will take place sometime this summer or fall.
The Trust for Public Land will not transfer the property with a permanent management
plan as originally announced. Instead, the land will be transferred with an interim
plan. A permanent plan will be developed by the receiving agencies in the future.
The property will be transferred with deed restrictions that will call for it
to be managed with open space, agriculture, and resource protection as priorities.
It is anticipated that some public access will be an important part of the management
plan with the development of a coastal trail as a near-term priority. Commercial
logging will be prohibited and expansion of mineral development will not be allowed.
The Sierra Club will continue to be involved in assuring that the land transfer,
interim management plan, and long-term management plan are consistent with preserving
the remarkable beauty and biodiversity of the property.
Development of a permanent management plan was delayed because of the need to
resolve water use on the property. There does not appear to be sufficient water
for both salmon needs and agriculture at the level of past use. In consultation
with the California Department of Fish and Game and the National Marine Fisheries
Service, Coast Dairies is striving to come into compliance while preserving as
much coastal agriculture as possible.