Over 23,000 acres of ecologically valuable forest and wildlife habitat will be protected using Cap-and-Trade dollars through a project selected by CAL FIRE’s Forest Health Program. When implemented, the Nature Conservancy’s (Conservancy) Reef to Ridge Coastal Forest Protection: Ten Mile River Watershed Easement Acquisition Project (Phase I) will protect the upper watershed of the Ten Mile River with a conservation easement. The easement will prohibit subdivision, retire development rights, expand protection of riparian forests and improve forest management practices.
The Ten Mile River harbors the only remaining Coho salmon in Mendocino County. Its three forks flow through headwaters to a protected estuary at the river mouth, providing over 80 total miles of unhindered freshwater habitat. The Conservancy works to protect the river because of its value as fish habitat, the intact nature of its forests, downstream natural resources such as the estuary and protected lands surrounding the estuary, and the climate benefits associated with avoiding land-use change and improving forest management. The estimated GHG reduction associated with Phase I of this project is over 50,500 MTCO2e. Since 2010, the Conservancy and its partners have used conservation easements to protect 3,900 acres in the Lower Ten Mile River watershed, nearly all the private land immediately surrounding the Ten Mile River estuary.
California Climate Investments enable the first phase of headwaters conservation planned by the Conservancy. When all three phases of the upper watershed conservation plan are complete, nearly the entire Ten Mile River watershed will be conserved in perpetuity.