Rancher wins $10,000 conservation award: easements allowed him to carry on

Bay Area rancher Tim Koopmann has won the 2011 recipient of the Leopold Conservation Award in California. The sixth annual Leopold Conservation Award for California was presented December 5 at the California Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in Sparks, Nevada. “Tim Koopmann’s commitment to the health of the land and wildlife in his family’s care is exemplary, but he has also made extraordinary improvements in water quality that benefit those on and off of his ranch,” said Brent Haglund, Sand County Foundation president. “In addition, he has taken steps to help ensure that his land and land ethic will continue to thrive for future generations.” Koopmann owns and operates an 850-acre cow-calf operation within the San Francisco Bay Area in Sunol. The ranch is surrounded by urban development. Koopmann’s management practices have improved the soil and wildlife populations on his land, and he enhanced the water quality on and off of his ranch. As a Watershed Resource Specialist for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), Koopmann manages over 40,000 acres of watershed lands. The Koopmanns have played an integral role in the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition, which was developed at their ranch in 2005. The Coalition brings together environmentalists, ranchers and resource professionals from state and federal agencies to advocate for the preservation of working ranches. Faced with encroaching development and the reality of selling or sub-dividing his ranch, Koopmann placed two conservation easements on his family’s ranch. He conserved a naturally occurring pond and the surrounding 31 acres of grassland in perpetuity for the California tiger salamander. Koopmann also conserved 107 acres in perpetuity to slow the encroachment of an adjacent golf course. These easements allowed him and his family to pay their estate tax bill and, most importantly, allow them to continue their work on the preservation of the land and other natural resources for the benefit of future generations.The $10,000 Leopold Conservation Award is named in honor of world-renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold. The award is presented annually in eight states to private landowners who practice exemplary land stewardship and management.

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