Special to the Vanguard
Davis, CA – The City of Davis recently purchased an agricultural conservation easement on 124 acres of farmland located less than a mile from the City limits, northeast of the Wildhorse residential development, as a permanent preserve for farmland and open space. The property is currently planted with almond and pistachio trees and abuts a stormwater conveyance channel that also serves as a wildlife corridor.
The City will co-own the $925,000 agricultural conservation easement with the Yolo Land Trust, which will monitor it in perpetuity on behalf of the City. Both parties were interested in protecting this land because of the proximity to City limits, location near other protected farmland, prime agricultural soils and public access to local wildlife corridors.
The family who owns the property, the Gills, also generously donated a limited public trail easement to the City that runs along the channel and adjacent to the nut orchard north to County Road 29. The trail easement will be activated when the City secures legal public access from the City-owned Wildhorse agricultural buffer.
“The protection of farmlands and habitat areas is an important part of preserving the history and character of Davis,” said Mayor Gloria Partida. “We have proudly protected more than 5,600 acres of land so far, of which 240 acres is open space for the enjoyment of our residents and families.”
About a quarter of the purchase price was paid with the City’s special open space protection parcel taxes (Measure O) and open space development impact fees. The remainder was paid with grant funds from the State of California. The transaction closed on May 31, 2022.
The State of California funded its portion of the acquisition through the California Strategic Growth Council’s Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation program (SALC), in collaboration with the Department of Conservation. SALC is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities.