300 Acres of Tunitas Creek Watershed Now Permanently Protected
Nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains within the Tunitas Creek Watershed, the Potrero Nuevo Farm (PNF) is a privately-owned farm and ranch that encompasses nearly 300 acres. Ecological Concerns Incorporated (ECI) was chosen to write the initial biological assessment and habitat management plan in 2008 due to their deep knowledge of native plants and long-term relationship with local farmers. It is a robust assessment of the current biodiversity and strategic planning to enhance and preserve the four main habitats of the property: riparian woodland, wetland, coastal prairie and coastal scrub.These habitats support a diverse mix of both plant and animal species, including habitats for rare and endangered species. The plan focuses on enhancing biological diversity through invasive weed management, grazing management for prairie restoration, and the management of woody debris in creeks and streams.
The property operates as a working farm with 30-40 acres of row crop production fields with crop rotation, cover cropping and sustainable grazing practices in place. The farm prides itself on sustainability; building healthy soils for healthy plants; and its mission to provide organic produce to charity.
As of 2015, the rich habitats of PNF are now permanently protected by an affirmative agricultural conservation easement executed with Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST). ECI implemented many of the strategies suggested in the habitat management plan and trained employees of the farm to properly execute the restoration practices. The relationship between ECI and PNF continues to grow as the farm’s many habitats show success in their management.