County and MALT preserve Furlong ranch, restore fish habitat

12/07/2017

The Board of Supervisors has approved over $1 million in Measure A funds for the preservation of a Point Reyes Station ranch seen as a key piece in a plan to restore steelhead trout habitat. The purchase of the conservation easement by the county and the Marin Agricultural Land Trust—which each paid half of the total $2.7 million purchase price—was the next step in a major plan to restore the Millerton Gulch Creek watershed. The creek flows through the 609-acre Furlong ranch, located a couple of miles north of Point Reyes Station, and the plan is to create spawning habitat on the land. The Furlong family, which purchased the property in 1956 and raises cattle and sheep, approached MALT about the easement. “This is the first time MALT has had the opportunity to protect [agricultural land] and work to restore an entire watershed,” Jeff Stump, MALT’s director of conservation, said in a statement. Steelhead numbers have dwindled in the watershed since the 1970s; Mr. Stump said the work will include removing a barrier in a downstream section of creek that blocks the passage of fish. Since Measure A was approved by voters in 2012, the Preservation Grant Program has helped preserve eight ranches—including the Furlong ranch—totaling 4,167 acres. Supervisors were excited to approve the funding; Supervisor Judy Arnold began the discussion by remarking, “We always like these,” and Supervisor Dennis Rodoni described the purchase as “another great acquisition.”