Member Spotlight: Building Climate Resilience at Bivista Ridge Ranch

This story is Courtesy of Marin Agricultural Land Trust and was originally published on their website

The 592-acre Bivista Ridge Ranch along the eastern shore of Tomales Bay will soon be protected in perpetuity. On December 5, 2023, MALT secured the remaining funding needed from Marin County when the Board of Supervisors approved a grant from the county’s Farmland Preservation Program (Measure A). We are now a few steps away from safeguarding this ranch (as well as Spring Valley Ranch) with an agricultural conservation easement. 

By protecting this ranch with a MALT easement, we will ensure this land remains dedicated to agricultural milk, butter, and cheese production, offering refuge for local biodiversity, and supporting regional resilience amid a changing climate. We’re deeply grateful for all the support in preserving agriculture and open space, as well as the local food economy.

You might have passed this ranch driving along Highway 1 as you parallel its western boundary north of Marshall. Winding along the coast, the ranch’s six acres of wetlands are fed by over a mile of creek habitat — an ideal refuge for the profusion of life that call this landscape home. 

An Essential Landscape to Preserve Local Agriculture 

Standing at the ranch center, the legacy of coastal ranching is palpable in the barn’s weathered redwood and the charming, historic house, built the same year California became a state. Today, 473 acres of the Bivista Ridge Ranch have been deemed “Farmland of Local Importance” by the California Department of Conservation, indicating its critical role in contributing to Marin County’s robust food economy, now and in the future.

The Taylor family are the current land holders and have been faithful stewards of the land since 1976. The land serves as an integral part of their organic dairy operation that is based at the 705-acre Bivalve Dairy, another MALT protected ranch a few miles to the south. With more than 150 acres of organic hayland and ample pastures, Bivista Ridge Ranch is an essential part of their local business and the natural foundation of their award-winning cheeses. 

Key Piece of Regional Climate Resilience

Flying over the eastern shore of Tomales Bay, you will find a landscape that looks much as it has for decades, a complex matrix of working ranches that fit neatly like pieces of a puzzle. Since MALT’s founding in 1980, we have protected more than 55,500 acres of this landscape, with Bivista Ridge Ranch building upon a block of 10,726 contiguous acres of MALT-protected lands.

As our climate continues to change, maintaining and enhancing the landscape’s health and connectivity will become increasingly important. As species are often forced to migrate to find suitable climates, food sources, or mates, it’s critical our ecosystems continue to function the way nature intended, with room to roam. Bivista Ridge Ranch adds to this connectivity of protected lands.

Nearly the entirety of Bivista Ridge Ranch is within the Critical Linkage Area identified by the Conservation Lands Network, a broad area of land that supports the movement of both plants and animals. Protecting this landscape is vital for the preservation of our local biodiversity and its resilience to a changing climate. We’re excited to be partnering with the Taylor family to further this land’s legacy of careful land stewardship.

Partners Make it Possible

Our ability to protect this agricultural landscape would not be possible without our partners in conservation. The funding approved today by the Marin County Board of Supervisors comes from the county’s Farmland Preservation Program (Measure A), a quarter-cent sales tax voters renewed in 2022. Since its initial passage in 2012, our team at MALT has applied for and received Measure A grant funding to protect more than 13 farms and ranches totalling more than 7,953 acres — the power of a community united.

The matching funding for this $3.9 million easement comes from the California Department of Conservation’s Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC), which is an initiative aimed at protecting productive farmlands and encouraging compact, transit-oriented communities. As part of the East Shore community of Tomales Bay, Bivista Ridge Ranch is in close proximity to residential zoning designations as small as 0.172 acres, putting it at significant risk of future subdivision and ranking it among the state’s highest priority for protection.

There’s a lot to celebrate. In the coming weeks as we finalize this land’s protection and the complimentary easement at Spring Valley Ranch, in total MALT and our partners will have invested more than $100 million in Marin County agricultural land conservation since our founding in 1980— a huge milestone only made possible through the ongoing commitment of our generous donors, partner organizations, and Marin County voters.

We are deeply grateful for the public funding, our donor community’s unwavering support, and the commitment of Marin County voters. Stay tuned for more good news from MALT in the coming weeks as we finalize this land’s protection.

Photo credits: Jeff Lewis, 2023 –

The Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) acknowledges that we work in the unceded ancestral lands of the Coast Miwok people of present-day Marin County. We recognize the centuries of attempted erasure, displacement, and genocide these communities have endured and that many inequities exist to this day. We honor with gratitude the land itself and celebrate the ongoing relationship with the Coast Miwok people on their traditional territories. 

Learn more here.

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