Tri-Valley Conservancy Works to Protect Opens Space, Agriculture Industry

Since 2003, the Tri-Valley Conservancy has worked to conserve open space and agricultural land in the area. What began in 1994 as a small land trust in South Livermore to revitalize the viticulture industry and limit development in agricultural lands has become an organization that covers the cities of Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon and Sunol. The Tri-Valley Conservancy is a non-profit, public benefit corporation holding land easements totaling over 4,000 acres.

"We're all about preserving and protecting land for future generations," says Executive Director Sharon Burnham. "We want people to know we are here, working to maintain their quality of life."

The Conservancy's mission is "to permanently protect the fertile soils, rangelands, open space and biological resources, and to support a viable agricultural economy in the Tri-Valley area." It accomplishes this mission by providing landowners with a flexible, voluntary alternative to subdividing or developing their property, resulting in more open space. In keeping with its key strategy to enhance the viability of agriculture, the Conservancy has an educational program for growers and vintners through a partnership with the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association.

"Our goal is to add another 10,000 acres for open space, viticulture and other agriculture," explains Burnham. "We now have eight olive growers, a pistachio and a pomegranate grower in the region."

Open space goals also include a vision to connect all the hiking and biking trails in the East Bay, from Del Valle Reservoir to Mt. Diablo, and from the Pleasanton Ridge and Bay Ridge trails to the Iron Horse trail. Another is to maintain and keep open animal habitat corridors, areas where animals naturally cross within the region.

Considering the rapid growth in the Tri-Valley, the Conservancy realizes it faces many challenges in the region, but is not unrealistic about its goals. "It is important to have a vision of what the public needs in the long term, 50 to 100 years in the future," explains Burnham. "We need to look at the long-term effects on a regional basis with regard to what we must protect and what can be developed."

Tri-Valley Conservancy's success depends on the involvement and support of area residents through contributions, donations of land and fundraisers. The main fundraiser of the year, co-sponsored by the Winegrowers Association, is the annual Livermore Valley's Wine and Food Experience: "A Taste of Terroir" on Thursday, July 26, from 6pm to 9pm at the Palm Event Center, Mitchell Katz Winery in Pleasanton. The event features 18 local wineries that partner with 18 local chefs and restaurants to create food and wine pairings for guests to enjoy.

"We're always looking for corporate sponsors for this event," commented Burnham.

For event tickets and more information call (925) 447-WINE (9463), or visit the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association website at .

For more information about the Tri-Valley Conservancy, visit its website at .

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