“We hope the Conservation Blueprint will inspire more collaboration, and will be just as beneficial to farmers, ranchers, housing advocates, and developers as it will be to conservation,” said Sharyn Main, former Senior Director of Community Investments for the Santa Barbara Foundation, during the March 14 public unveiling of the Santa Barbara County Conservation Blueprint.
A collaboration of The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County, Cachuma Resource Conservation District, and the Santa Barbara Foundation’s LEAF Initiative, the Conservation Blueprint includes an online mapping tool called the Atlas and a written report that focuses on five natural resource themes – water, flora and fauna, agriculture and ranch lands, climate change, and community and the land. In addition to showing opportunities and challenges related to each resource, the report demonstrates how thoroughly resources are interconnected.
“Santa Barbara County is a rare environment, and with extended droughts, increased fires, flooding, and debris flows, we need a greater understanding of the unique landscapes we call home,” said Ron Gallo, President of the Santa Barbara Foundation.
At launch, the Conservation Blueprint includes an online Atlas, housing nearly 300 datasets that can be viewed as maps to analyze and better understand land use and natural resources in the county, and an accompanying report focused on major land conservation themes – water, flora and fauna, agriculture and ranchlands, and community and the land.
“The Blueprint is the first impartial, complete, up-to-date source of data that has been fully vetted and verified and made available to everyone, not just a single interest group,” said Pamela Doiron, a rancher from The Spanish Ranch in Cuyama Valley, and a member of the Blueprint Steering Committee.
“It was important to ensure the voice of the farming and ranching community in the Blueprint,” said Anna Olsen, Executive Director of the Cachuma Resource Conservation District. “What is particularly significant about the Blueprint is that it levels the playing field and provides the same valuable information to everyone in the community, and that it’s not trying to create new policy or new regulations. It provides a common language for us to promote our own interests and passions, explain these passions to others, and work together to understand each other.”
The Blueprint was funded by a consortium of foundations and donors through the Land Trust and Santa Barbara Foundation LEAF Initiative: