MROSD adds five years to grazing lease in Bluebrush Canyon

District Extends Grazing Lease
on Coastside Bluebrush Canyon Property

– Grazing Conservation Practices and
Rangeland Management Plan Part of Operations–

Los Altos, CA – The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (District) is extending its grazing lease on Bluebrush Canyon with the current tenant Tom Pacheco, a long-time rancher, for another five years. Part of the Purisima Creek Redwood Open Space Preserve, Bluebrush Canyon is a 260-acre parcel of land between Lobitos and Purisima Creeks. When the District purchased the property in 2009, it assumed the existing grazing lease with the intent of continuing grazing on the property with Pacheco. The new lease will take effect September 1, 2012.

“The District supports grazing along the San Mateo coast to retain the grasslands, the rural atmosphere and way of life that define this breathtaking landscape,” said Steve Abbors, the District’s General Manager. “We’re also excited to support sustainable farming practices as part of our land management contribution to the region.”

Pacheco added during the public comments period following the proposal to authorize the lease that “we’re learning as we go and we will work together to continue to have a successful grazing operation.” After taking public comment, the District’s board of directors voted unanimously to authorize the grazing lease.

To continue uninterrupted grazing, the District and its tenant must observe “conservation grazing” practices and create a Rangeland Management Plan. Conservation grazing is a resource management tool that supports the District’s mission to protect the diversity and integrity of natural resources for their value to the environment and to people. The District’s grazing policy helps restore perennial grasses and wildflowers by taking advantage of the annuals’ life cycles and the appetites of cattle. Other grazing benefits include fire fuel reduction, which minimizes the risk of wildfire, and support for the local agricultural economy.

In addition to following the principles of “conservation grazing,” the Rangeland Management Plan outlined three other objectives: to control non-native, invasive plant species; protect and enhance riparian and aquatic habitat; and develop or improve ranch infrastructure on the property to enhance the ease and benefit of the livestock operation and improve wildlife habitat.

Located within the Coastside Protection Area, Bluebrush Canyon is subject to the District’s Coastside Service Plan, which guides the District’s purchase, use, and management of open space land within the area. The Rangeland Management Plan was reviewed by the San Mateo County Farm Bureau at its June 7, 2012, meeting.

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