Published August 21, 2012
Volume 20, Number 8

Tri-Valley Conservancy Builds Connections Through Upcoming Fundraisers  

(Photo courtesy Stephen Joseph)

If you want to see the Tri-Valley in all its natural glory, take a look at the photos at www.trivalleyconservancy.org. Whether it is a sunset over tawny hills, a meandering creek, or a grape cluster ripening on the vine, the beauty of the pastoral landscape is stunning. The Tri-Valley Conservancy (TVC) has posted these bucolic scenes as a tangible illustration of its reason for being—preserving precious undeveloped land.

The Conservancy's mission is "to protect land for agriculture, open space, and recreational uses,” especially in the rural eastern part of Alameda County. At the turn of the last century, the Livermore Valley boasted 5,000 acres of vineyards and more than 50 wineries. By the late 1960s, those numbers had fallen to just “1,500 vine-planted acres and six wineries.”

Happily, the trend is reversing. Since TVC’s land trust was formed in 1993, it has partnered with 79 property owners to save 4,229 acres of agricultural and open space lands in the Tri-Valley. It accomplishes this mission primarily by acquiring conservation easements, “a flexible, voluntary alternative to subdividing or developing” landowners' property.

Sharply in focus now is the creation of parklands and trails through north and south Livermore and south Pleasanton. These areas “are under constant pressure for development,” according to TVC Executive Director Laura Mercier. “While it is hard to identify the total number of acres to be preserved, the critical piece is the network of trails so people can hike from Mt. Diablo to Mt. Hamilton to Pleasanton Ridge.”

The process involves multiple entities--agencies, districts, the county, the city, and property owners. “Our thinking is to preserve as much land as reasonable and help connect all these different trails, while respecting the wishes of all stakeholders in the community,” Mercier comments.

The TVC has two upcoming events designed to promote its mission. The annual “Freeze Frame!” photo competition runs from August 27 to September 17. The contest solicits “striking images of nature highlighting the diversity of life in the Tri-Valley”—either agricultural, recreational, or arresting rural scenes. The top 25 photos, like those posted on the website, will be displayed in venues like the Bankhead Theater and Firehouse Arts Center. The top 12 will also grace the TVC's 2013 calendar, whose proceeds support the organization.

The winning entries will be announced at the Conservancy's primary fundraiser, Jeans & Jewels, slated for Thursday, October 4, with a Great Gatsby theme. Now in its eighth year, the event has evolved from a barbecue for 40 people to a gourmet dinner and auction for over 200.

To submit an image to the photo contest, purchase tickets for Jeans & Jewels, or find out more about the mechanics of its property acquisition, visit the TVC website referenced above.


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