Protect and Preserve County Lands

Protect, restore, and preserve working agricultural lands for current and future generations.


Measure A: Farmland Preservation Grants

In 2012, Marin voters passed Measure A, and in 2022 renewed it for an additional 9 years. Measure A funds Farmland Preservation Grants, which help protect working farms and ranches in Marin. The chart below shows that since 2014, 6,693 acres of Marin farmland have been preserved. Farmland Preservation Grants, with matching funds from non-profit partners, are used to purchase permanent conservation easements of properties in productive agriculture use, through voluntary transactions with landowners. Some of these properties have been working ranches for several generations. In addition to protecting Marin's agricultural industry, these ranch lands provide important open space habitat and land corridors to help wildlife thrive. An estimated 70% of California’s most rare, threatened, and endangered plants and animals live on private land. Learn more about Parks Measure A. 

Case Study: McDowell Ranch

On July 12, 2022, the Marin County Board of Supervisors voted to award a matching Farmland Preservation Grant of $1,817,300 to the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) to purchase an agricultural conservation easement at McDowell Ranch, an organic grass-fed beef cattle farm that has been an active ranch for more than 120 years. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, McDowell Ranch is one of the most critical habitats in the state. The ranch includes 1.44 miles of the Stemple Creek watershed, a tributary to the Estero San Antonio. The property also includes 667 acres of perennial and annual grasslands, and 56 acres of coast oak woodland and California bay forest. Almost all of the ranch is considered "farmland of local importance" by the California Department of Conservation, and two-thirds of it is classified as essential habitat by the Bay Area Conservation Lands Network. McDowell Ranch is adjacent to a large swath of permanently protected properties encompassing approximately 9,806 acres stretching east to west in northern Marin County.
Beef cattle at McDowell Ranch

Working in Collaboration 

As of 2022, the Farmland Preservation program was instrumental in preserving twelve working agricultural properties in Marin, totaling 7416.4 acres. Property values in the Bay Area continue to rise, making this preservation program increasingly important.
Farmland preservation takes place in collaboration with local non-profit organizations. Matching funds and administrative partnerships amplify the impact of Measure A funds. Also, the management of these lands remains with the working ranch families. After an agricultural easement is in place, no ongoing management costs are incurred by the County.
The chart below shows each of the thirteen conservation easements purchased, and the amount of funding from Parks Measure A and non-profit partners.
Scenic view of ranch
Cows running on ranchland
Ranch family standing in field

For more information about Marin County Parks, visit marincountyparks.org.
Marin County Parks website.