Land Conservation

SMW represents public entities, conservation groups and land trusts in their efforts to preserve wilderness, open space, and farmland. The firm develops, manages, and enforces programs that preserve significant natural resources through acquisition, conservation easements, and other means. We have extensive experience with innovative conservation financing mechanisms, such as assessment districts and transfer fees. Examples of SMW’s expertise in land preservation matters include:

photo courtesy of Tejon Ranch Corp.
Tejon Ranch
  • Tejon Ranch Agreement: In one of the largest conservation deals in California history, the firm represented a coalition of major environmental groups in negotiating the landmark Tejon Ranch Conservation and Land Use Agreement, preserving 240,000 acres (90%) of this ecologically significant property.
  • Bahia Wetlands: The firm represented the Marin Audubon Society for the purchase of the 630-acre Bahia oak forest and marshland in northeastern Novato.
  • Land Trusts and Private Conservation Organizations: The firm represents land trusts in planning, negotiating, implementing, and enforcing conservation easements and similar agreements, including the Sonoma Land Trust, the Tri-Valley Conservancy, the Peninsula Open Space Trust and the Sierra Land Trust.
  • Parks and Open Space Districts: The firm represents agencies including the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD), Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) as well as cities and joint powers agencies in planning for and implementing land conservation programs such as MROSD’s Coastside Protection Program extending the District's boundary in San Mateo County to the Pacific Ocean, and assisting EBRPD in the negotiation and acquisition of Eastshore State Park.