A project that took nearly six years to complete, and the support of numerous donors, the Big Valley Wetlands- Melo property is the Lake County Land Trust’s most recent addition, and a very exciting one at that!
This is the Lake County Land Trust’s first purchase of land in the Big Valley Wetlands preservation area, a property which we hope will become a keystone parcel for what may become the largest protected area of wetland/riparian habitats adjacent to Clear Lake. Purchase of this 34-acre shoreline and inland wetland property from George and Lisa Melo was completed in October, 2016.
This vital Clear Lake shoreline stretches from Clear Lake State Park, west to Lakeport and maintains high value habitats with pristine lakeshore vegetation and mature oaks used by a variety of species. The “Melo Property”, located on Clipper Lane off Soda Bay Road includes beautiful native wetland and shoreline forests as well as upland wet meadow, pasture, and oaks. The Land Trust will steward this property for its wildlife values including its littoral shoreline that provides nesting habitat for both wildfowl and fish; and tules that provide a filtration system important to the water quality of Clear Lake.
A management plan will be developed for this parcel that may include some public access opportunities taking into consideration the ultimate goal of the project which is to protect the natural values of the land and shoreline.
The property is part of the Big Valley Wetlands Conceptual Area Protection Plan (CAPP) developed by the Lake County Land Trust and approved by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife. The existence of the CAPP, which includes numerous properties along this shoreline, makes the area eligible for funding from the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB), the land acquisition arm of the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The purchase price was $215,000 plus appraisal and closing costs, of which $110,000 was contributed by the WCB. The remainder of the funds came from individual donations, foundations and businesses. Of note was an original $20,000 donation from John Sheridan and Andrea DuFlon which kicked off the fundraising campaign in 2014. The Pitzer Family Foundation of Southern California also donated $35,000; The Priest Foundation, the Keeling-Barnes Family Foundation, funds from both the Robert Morse and John Graham bequests were used, as were donations from numerous individuals and businesses who, it may be assumed, care deeply for the preservation of our beautiful county. The Lake County Land Trust appreciates the commitment of our dedicated supporters in ensuring that land such as this will be preserved in perpetuity!
For a map of the Melo Property, please click here.