California Rangeland Trust Earns National Recognition

Dec 15, 2010, 17:17 ET from California Rangeland Trust

Accreditation Awarded by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, announced that the California Rangeland Trust has been awarded accredited status.

"Accredited land trusts meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever," said Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn. "The accreditation seal lets the public know that the accredited land trust has undergone an extensive, external review of the governance and management of its organization and the systems and policies it uses to protect land."

"The California Rangeland Trust's accredited status demonstrates our commitment to permanent rangeland conservation in California," says Nita Vail, the Rangeland Trust's Chief Executive Officer. "Our land trust is a stronger organization today having gone through the rigorous accreditation program. Land owners as well as all Californians can count on the Rangeland Trust to employ the highest organizational standards in the protection of our remaining rangeland resources."

The California Rangeland Trust is a state-wide land trust that was founded in 1998 and is dedicated to conserving the open space, natural habitat and stewardship provided by California's ranches. They use conservation easements to forever protect these rangelands from development and other pressures. Today, California Rangeland Trust holds easements on over 200,000 acres of rangeland on thirty-one ranches, ensuring that these working landscapes will be forever protected.

The California Rangeland Trust was awarded accreditation this December and is one of 113 land trusts from across the country that has been awarded accreditation since the fall of 2008. Accredited land trusts are able to display a seal indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., awards the accreditation seal to community institutions that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. The Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance established in 2006, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country. The Alliance, of which the California Rangeland Trust is a member, is a national conservation group based in Washington, D.C. that works to save the places people love by strengthening conservation throughout America.

"We consider it an incredible honor to receive this distinction of national accreditation. It means our process and methods for ensuring rangeland conservation are anchored in the best management practices possible," said Steve McDonald, the California Rangeland Trust's chairman. "We will continue to strive to ensure ranching families stay on the land where they safeguard the critical natural, cultural, and economic resources that ranchlands represent for the residents of California."

Land is America's most important and valuable resource. Conserving land helps ensure clean air and drinking water, food security, scenic landscapes and views, recreational places, and habitat for the diversity of life on earth. Rangelands in particular are an important asset to California. In addition to providing the land base for the state's $1.6 billion beef cattle industry, rangelands provide significant environmental and social benefits. Most of California's vital water resources originate on or flow through rangelands. Many of California's most important wildlife species, including mountain lions, mule and blacktail deer, songbirds, salmon, and steelhead, just to name a few, depend on rangelands and associated riparian areas for their primary habitat. Approximately 90 percent of California's remaining privately-owned oak woodlands are part of range livestock operations. These working ranches also provide important natural area resources.

The California Rangeland Trust, a 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation, was created to conserve the open space, natural habitat and stewardship provided by California's ranches. To date, the Trust has protected over 200,000 acres of productive grazing lands across the state through the use of conservation easements. For more information, please visit

More information on the accreditation program is available on the Land Trust's Accreditation Commission's website, More information on the Alliance is available at

SOURCE California Rangeland Trust