Area: 413 acres
Location: City of Wilton, Sacramento County, California
Date Acquired: 2006-2012
Acquisition Type: CNLM holds a conservation easement to protect imperiled species and habitats that exist on the preserve in perpetuity. The preserve is owned by a third party.
The George Dairy Preserve, located in southern Sacramento County between Galt and Elk Grove, was initially established in 2006, when the Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) accepted a conservation easement to 28.5 acres for the purpose of protecting suitable habitat for Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsoni), a bird species that is listed as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act. In 2008, the area covered by this easement was expanded and the Preserve is currently just over 413 acres. The George Dairy Preserve is owned by Mark Beck Livestock.
This Preserve is comprised of high quality crop land habitat for Swainson’s hawk. A large area to the south of the Preserve also provides protected habitat for the federally and state threatened giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas). Habitat loss, particularly foraging habitat, is a primary threat to Swainson’s hawk, because of commercial and residential development. The conservation easement maintained by CNLM ensures that the George Dairy Preserve will not be developed and will be managed to enhance the habitat for Swainson’s hawk.
The goal for the George Dairy Preserve is to protect the habitats and species that depend upon the Preserve for survival. The primary strategies used include planting of appropriate crops such as alfalfa that Swainson’s hawks use as foraging habitat. The role of CNLM is to monitor the Preserve in perpetuity and ensure that the terms of the conservation agreement are maintained.
In 2006, the County of Sacramento adopted an ordinance (SCC 1328) to provide additional and effective methods to mitigate for the loss of suitable Swainson’s hawk foraging habitat in that county. This ordinance provides a means of providing protection, in perpetuity, of an area that is suitable habitat and is the same size as the area directly impacted by a development project. The George Dairy Swainson’s Hawk Preserve has been determined to be suitable habitat for inclusion in such a mitigation program and considerable acreage is available.
Due to the vulnerability of the species and habitats that exist on this Preserve, it is not open to the public.