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Placeholder Image photo credit: Noah Abrams/KRCB
O'Byrne speaks in front of the newly unveiled Land Trust sign

Thursday Sonoma Land Trust unveiled its newest preserve of sensitive vernal pools on Sonoma Mountain. 

Home to hundreds of plant species, the 174-acre property is now protected via a conservation easement by the Land Trust and Sonoma Ag and Open Space.

It helps preserve a vital wildlife corridor between the mountainous areas in Sonoma and Napa counties, and wild lands in Point Reyes.

"You know, our work has just started here, but this land...I've been really impressed by how intact, especially the grasslands are here," Chris Carlson said.

Carlson is the stewardship program manager at Sonoma Land Trust.

"And of course, the focus of this land is rare plants that are in the vernal pools, which are a really unique ecosystem, but there's also over 300 other plant species growing on this property," Carlson said.

Vernal pools are small seasonal wetlands which form through the winter and spring.

As many as 90% of California’s vernal pools, and the unique species they support like the vernal pool tadpole shrimp and hairy Orcutt grass, have been lost.

California has lost almost one fifth of the state’s native species in the last half century, and 99% of riparian habitats, according to Eamon O’Byrne, Sonoma Land Trust’s executive director.

Just two of the many reasons why he said protecting areas like the Sonoma Mountain vernal pools is important.

"Protecting this place is a real step towards reversing that trend," O'Byrne said. "The extremely rare and very precious native species, particularly the plant species, now have a home forever."

The new preserve is part of California’s 30x30 initiative, which aims to preserve 30% of the state’s lands and coastal waters by 2030.

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