When we began farming the River Ranch in 1974, we noticed that native wildlife wasn’t as prevalent as prior years, but neither was their habitat. This is when we knew we had to do something different.
Past & Ongoing Projects
It started with small, simple changes. We nurtured oak trees along the river, planted quail brush and native bushes, and built boxes for nesting wood ducks. We chose not to intervene when the deer snacked on vine shoots because in our minds they were just taking their share. We were doing the right thing.
The next chapter happened in 2004 when we decided to undertake a complete restoration of the area that created so many family memories, Sand Point. We really felt it was our responsibility to give back to the area that had given so much to us. The first step was removing 13 acres of vineyard and using the old gnarly vines to create small habitats for wildlife. We then replanted the area with cottonwoods, elderberry bushes, and all kinds of other plants native to California.
The transformation is incredible – spotting wildlife happens on a daily basis, and the habitat is thriving. This motivates us to continue down this path. We know we must balance viticulture with our native habitat and we live each day knowing that we’re not going to be a fifth-generation farm family without farming, protecting, and preserving the land for generations to come.
Our efforts in habitat restoration bring people together to work towards the betterment of our natural ecosystems.
Center for Land-Based Learning & SLEWS
Through our habitat restoration projects, we provide hands-on experience for high-school students in the field. Each project gives the students an opportunity to learn about the importance of agriculture and their local watershed, along with providing them a personal connection with the land.
With Audubon’s mission to restore and conserve natural ecosystems, they are instrumental in giving us technical advice on best practices for habitat restoration, along with hands-on assistance.
NRCS & RCD
Working hand in hand, the NRCS and RCD aid in ideation of future projects and provide advice from a technical perspective on what to plant and the location it will thrive.