Fourth Generation Carmel Valley Family Completes Legacy Conservation Sale to Restore Carmel River

Date: 
Fri, 07/01/2016

 

NEWS     

For Immediate Release

July 1, 2016

           

Contact:         Dave Sutton, 415-307-8584, dave.sutton@tpl.org

Christy Fischer, 831-626-8595, cfischer@slconservancy.org

Tim Frahm, 831-298-7185, tfrahm@tu.org

Rafael Payan, 831-372-3196, payan@mprpd.org

 

Fourth Generation Carmel Valley Family Completes Legacy Conservation Sale to Restore Carmel River 

 

CARMEL, Calif. – One of the oldest families in Carmel Valley joined with leading conservation groups today to announce the closure of escrow on a land transaction along the Carmel River that will return badly needed water to the river and improve access to Palo Corona Regional Park.

The Hatton family completed the sale of 140 acres underlying the Rancho Canada Golf Club’s East Course to The Trust for Public Land, the lead conservation group in the deal.  

Other project partners include the Santa Lucia Conservancy, Trout Unlimited and the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District. This acquisition represents a major milestone in the conservation groups’ effort to restore river flows and floodplain habitat and to enhance recreational access along a mile of the Carmel River.

The groups also announced they achieved a second conservation milestone this week as The Trust for Public Land secured an agreement to purchase a 50 acre property from the Lombardo family. The Lombardo property adjoins the Hatton property and includes the remainder of Rancho Cañada’s East Course.

The conservation partners said their focus now turns to completing an $11 million fundraising campaign including public and private funds so that the Hatton and Lombardo properties can be turned over to the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District. The District plans to use the land to create new public access to Palo Corona Regional Park, permanently dedicate water to the Carmel River, and restore that reach of the river and its floodplain.

The conservation of the Hatton property represents a dramatic addition to recent conservation successes on the Carmel River, including the removal of San Clemente Dam and recent donation of a portion of the Odello property by Clint and Maggie Eastwood to the Big Sur Land Trust.

“We are very grateful to the Hatton family for selling their property to The Trust for Public Land for a price below that of other offers they received,” said Gina Fromer, California Director of The Trust for Public Land. “Thanks to their generosity and vision we have the opportunity to create a natural asset that will benefit the community for generations.”  

Representing the Hatton family, Dryden Branson Bordin said, “This land has been in the family and contributing value to the community since the late 1800’s. After receiving multiple offers on the property and much consideration, the family decided to sell the property to a group that could create an even greater public good.”

Some funding for the project has already been pledged by private citizens, and a portion of the acquisition cost will be provided by California American Water Company through a voluntary forbearance agreement that will return water currently used to irrigate the golf courses to the Carmel River beginning July 2016.

Representing the Lombardo family, Tony Lombardo said, “We are very pleased that The Trust for Public Land will preserve the land as open space, as our family has done for the last 50 years, and that the conservation of water on the property will help reduce impacts on the community from the cease-and-desist order that CalAm must operate under and which is currently scheduled to take effect at the end of this year.”

The conservation partners said they anticipated additional funding for the acquisitions from the California State Coastal Conservancy. Sam Schuchat, Executive Officer of the Coastal Conservancy, said, “the Coastal Conservancy is excited about all of the possibilities this acquisition brings – restoration of the river, decreased flooding, reduced water demand, and new recreation opportunities -- including increased access to Palo Corona Regional Park. It’s rare to see a project with so many benefits.”

The conservation partners are also pursuing funding from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, the California Wildlife Conservation Board, the California Department of Natural Resources and additional private donors.

The Hatton and Lombardo properties represent a substantial portion of the Rancho Cañada Golf Club, which has leased the properties for many years under a lease agreement that expires next year. The properties are located on the Carmel River roughly two miles from the ocean, adjacent to Carmel Middle School.

“This acquisition provides extraordinary benefits for people and for nature,” said Christy Fischer, Executive Director of the Santa Lucia Conservancy. “The Hatton family’s decision to help us protect this land creates exciting new pathways for wildlife and people alike, supports the recovery of the Carmel River, and helps ensure clean water for steelhead trout and Peninsula communities. The benefits of this project extend far beyond the boundaries of a single property, or a single community.”

“On its surface, this project demonstrates the commitment of the Hatton and Lombardo families to the Carmel River and to an enduring natural heritage for this community,” said Tim Frahm, the Central Coast Steelhead Coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “Below the surface, this commitment is also about sustaining the Carmel River aquifer and restoring steelhead, the legendary freshwater sportfish of the Central Coast. It shows how people with a common vision can make a real difference in the world. The Carmel River may well become one of the most talked about restoration stories in America.”

“We want this gateway to Palo Corona Regional Park to offer meaningful recreational and environmental education opportunities for everyone irrespective of ability or age,” added Rafael Payan, General Manager of the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District. “Each of us deserves the opportunity to be immersed in and be inspired by nature, and with this latest milestone we are one step closer to realizing that vision.”

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.

Additional information available upon request. 

 

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