The Lompico Headwaters Will Be Saved

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Another redwood forest will never be logged. The only source of fresh water for the 1,500 residents of Lompico, CA has been protected. Sempervirens Fund, the oldest land trust in California, has purchased the 425-acre Lompico Headwaters for $3.85 million. Donate now to help pay off this loan, so more redwood forests and watersheds can be protected.

Santa Cruz Mountain residents and all conservationists can celebrate! The Lompico Headwaters, also known as Islandia, will never be logged. Sempervirens Fund, California’s oldest land conservancy will close escrow on June 15, 2006 for the $3,850,000 purchase of the 425-acre Lompico Headwaters property. Negotiations with Roger Burch of Redwood Empire, have led to the purchase of this land for $9,058/acre. This transaction will permanently retire all the property’s timber rights and guarantee safe drinking water for 1,500 residents of Lompico Canyon.

Sempervirens Fund has made a substantial commitment to the people and the environment of the Santa Cruz Mountains by obtaining a $2.8 million bridge loan to complete the purchase and permanently preserve this land. The balance of the purchase price, $1,050,000 was made possible by individual Lompico Headwaters donations and reserve funds from the Sempervirens Opportunity Fund. To date, over $370,000 in private donations has been received from 1,900 donors for the Lompico Headwaters. Donations have come not only from Santa Cruz County and the Bay Area, but as far as Belgium via Sempervirens web site at: http://www.sempervirens.org

Although the transaction will be completed to save Lompico Headwaters, Sempervirens Fund will continue to seek contributions and grants until the full purchase price has been received and the loan is paid off. “Currently there is no public funding available; so it’s up to the private sector to help by contributing the funds to preserve this important resource.” said Brian Steen, Sempervirens Fund Executive Director. “Sempervirens Fund has never been more committed to preserving the natural environment of the Santa Cruz Mountains than now.”    

This is not the first time Sempervirens Fund has utilized private financing to preserve large tracts of redwood. The 2001 purchase of the 1,350-acre San Lorenzo River Redwoods property ($8,000/acre) was financed by a $10,000,000 loan, which was paid off fully in three years thanks to generous individual donations.

The upper Lompico Creek watershed is the primary source of domestic water for the Lompico County Water District which provides water for approximately 1,500 residents. Proposed timber harvesting activities by the current owner, Redwood Empire would endanger this community's water service and would impact forest and riparian ecosystems. Currently undeveloped, any harvest would require the new construction of roads, landings, skid roads and trails. Soils are fragile with landslides frequently occurring. Steelhead trout populations have been documented by the State Department of Fish and Game.

Sempervirens Fund is planning several fundraising events to complete the Lompico Headwaters campaign. These include receptions, benefit concerts, collaborative events and special tours of the Lompico Headwaters property. The next event is a celebration on Saturday, June 17, 5pm, at the Trout Farm Inn, in Lompico to mark this important milestone. Anyone interested in attending this and future events should contact Sempervirens Fund at redwoods@sempervirens.org or call 650-968-4509.

Founded through a grassroots effort in 1900, Sempervirens Fund’s first project was preserving 3,800 acres of spectacular old-growth redwoods for California's first state park: Big Basin Redwoods State Park. To date, Sempervirens has purchased more than 110 properties totaling 23,600 acres in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties, many of them now a part of California State Parks. The purpose of Sempervirens Fund has always been to preserve the forest resources of the Santa Cruz Mountains for public use, enjoyment and benefit.

Donors are encouraged to contribute toward the purchase of the Lompico Headwaters through Sempervirens Fund’s secure website http://www.sempervirens.org/gifts.htm or call 650-968-4509.

Donations are deductible under IRC 501(c)(3).

For photos, go to: http://www.sempervirens.org/lompiconews.htm

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Melanie Kimbel