The Land Trust of Napa County announced that they have acquired almost 2,000 acres near Lake Berryessa, and will turn the property into a new preserve. Dubbed the “Wragg Ridge Preserve,” it will protect a wide expanse of oak woodlands, as well as priority habitat for wildlife.

The new 1,910-acre Wragg Ridge preserve is the largest property the Land Trust has added to its portfolio in over 10 years. “The vast majority of our transactions are conservation easements, as I think most people know,” Doug Parker, CEO of the Land Trust. “But this property was in a strategic location and had a wealth of habitat and wildlife values that we thought could benefit from our ownership and management.”

The property abuts protected lands at Lake Berryessa and is near land owned and managed by BLM, part of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, as well the Quail Ridge Reserve, which is part of the University of California’s Natural Reserve System. It expands protection along a high ridge – Wragg Ridge – extending south from the lake. The property is dominated by extensive oak woodlands – predominantly blue oaks and interior live oaks, with some black oaks – and it also contains priority wetlands, including a creek, seasonal springtime pools and year-round ponds. The wetlands provide habitat for rare species, including the federally listed California Red-legged Frog, one of the few federally listed species in Napa County. The largest native frog in the western United States, this species is estimated to have lost over 70% of its previous habitat. It was listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act in 1996. The Land Trust will work with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on habitat enhancement and restoration efforts for this species as well as other priority wildlife on the preserve.

Protecting large expanses of oak woodlands is very significant for wildlife. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has documented habitat for more than 300 wildlife species that depend on oak woodlands for food and shelter. Protection is a priority because oak woodlands are endemic to this region and only a small percentage are protected statewide.

With this newest acquisition of Wragg Ridge Preserve, the Land Trust has now protected over 72,000 acres, more than 14% of Napa County.

See some of the other organizations helping preserve green space in Napa County.