Local conservationists win Sierra-wide award | SierraSun.com

Local conservationists win Sierra-wide award

Staff Reports

The Sierra Nevada Alliance board and staff awarded their Sierra Lighthouse Award to Truckee-based Mountain Area Preservation Foundation at the Alliance’s Annual Conference last weekend in Kings Beach.

The award was presented to MAPF for achieving conservation victories, being a statewide leader, and for offering successful strategies for other Sierra groups to follow, according to Sierra Nevada Alliance.

“Mountain Area Preservation Foundation has an extremely impressive strategy,” said Joan Clayburgh, Executive Director of the Sierra Nevada Alliance. “The commitment and time dedicated to achieving recent victories in Martis Valley is truly amazing and should be recognized as part of the ongoing effort to protect important natural areas in the Sierra Nevada.”

The Foundation sued Placer County with other concerned organizations over what was considered by many to be a flawed Martis Valley Community Plan. In his final decision on May 3, 2005, Judge James D. Garbolino agreed and ruled this May that Placer County must “set aside” its development approvals and “suspend” development activities in Martis Valley.

Building on this victory, the Foundation successfully negotiated an agreement with both Northstar and Eaglewood on future development in Martis Valley. At Northstar alone, the agreement permanently protects 4,900 acres of Martis Valley land, establishes specific management practices to preserve wildlife habitat throughout the Northstar property (about 8,000 acres) and prevents 233 acres east of Highway 267 from being developed. Together through negotiated transfer fees, these agreements will provide $45 million over the next 20 years to be used in Martis Valley by groups such as the Truckee Donner Land Trust.

“Although we realize the fight is far from over, we are extremely proud of what the Foundation and our partners have been able to accomplish so far,” said Stefanie Olivieri, the Foundation board member accepting the award. “Just imagine the impacts of over 6,000 additional homes, three new golf courses and a four lane highway.”

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The Mountain Area Preservation Foundation is a local, grassroots environmental nonprofit established in 1987 by concerned residents of the Truckee-Tahoe region and run entirely by volunteers. The Foundation seeks to preserve valuable wildlife habitat and scenic vistas as open space, and works with the Town of Truckee, local governments, developers and other partners to build a community that is sustainable, diverse and prosperous.