Important Martinez wildlife area is close to salvation

DEAR JOAN: I have great news regarding the “Campaign To Save Almond Ranch,” a stunning 281-acre property in Martinez that has been a top priority of conservationists for decades.

On Aug. 28, the California Wildlife Conservation Board unanimously approved a major grant of $2 million. This puts John Muir Land Trust at $3.75 million toward the $4 million we need to raise by the end of this year.

I cannot overstate how much the grant affirms the importance of preserving Almond Ranch and keeping intact the vital wildlife corridor along Franklin Ridge, a haven for local species including federally listed ones.

Many of your readers have generously donated to protect this property, and they will be as thrilled as I am that we have just $250,000 to go. Saving Almond Ranch will be a big win for all residents of California, especially those who make these wild acres their homes.

Linus Eukel, Executive Director, John Muir Land Trust

DEAR LINUS: That is fantastic news and after all the money that’s been raised, that $250,000 goal is tantalizingly close. I know there still is work to be done, however, so I’m again asking my readers to donate, if they can. Every dollar counts.

The land, which serves as a wildlife corridor along Franklin Ridge in Martinez, is home to a lot of rare and special-status species including the Alameda whipsnake and the California red-legged frog. Golden eagles and hawks live there as do American badgers and gray foxes.

In addition to being so vital to wildlife, Almond Ranch is an important part of the visionary Bay Area Ridge Trail.

You can donate online at the John Muir Land Trust’s website or mail contributions, marked for Almond Ranch, to the trust at P.O. Box 31, Martinez, CA 94553.