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Protected Coastal Prairie Transferred to Landless Tribe

Aug. 23, 2013—Ninety-six acres of ecologically and culturally important coastal prairie land between Ano Nuevo State Park and the Rancho del Oso unit of Big Basin will enjoy protection from the Amah Mutsun tribe under the terms of a first-of-its-kind conservation easement deal brokered by Sempervirens Fund.

Acceptance of the easement, previously held by the American Land Conservancy, will be the first official act of the Amah Mutsun-run Tribal Land Trust, which will be able to buy and protect land throughout the tribe's historic territory. The Amah Mutsun, descendants of Ohlone Indians who spoke the Awaswas and Mutsun languages, have no sovereign lands but have established the Quiroste Valley near Costanoa Lodge as a State Cultural Preserve. The tribe may work with Costanoa Lodge (which is retaining ownership of the land under the easement) to reintroduce native management techniques to the property in a bid to stop the encroachment of coastal scrub and Douglas fir forest. California coastal prairie, which occurs from Los Angeles to southern Oregon, is considered an Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area; some 24 percent of it has been paved over.

In its first partnership with a tribal organization, Sempervirens Fund will provide support and technical expertise to the Tribal Land Trust as it gets on its feet.

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