Fred Corda Ranch, Novato
1,214 ACRES MALT-PROTECTED SINCE 2011
The Corda family has owned this spectacular ranch west of Novato since the early 1900s. Agricultural operations on the ranch include raising beef cattle and dairy heifers, as well as silage crop production for a local dairy. Without the sale of a conservation easement to MALT, the family would have likely been forced to subdivide the ranch and sell parcels to settle estate issues.
"Our family has been tending this land for over a hundred years," said Fred Corda, who retains ownership of the property along with his wife and two adult sons, and continues agricultural operations. "I'm sure that in the beginning, no one ever dreamed that property values would grow so high and the pressure to sell would be so great. But now, thanks to MALT, we know this ranch will always be protected for agriculture, and that's really important to us as stewards of the land."
A special feature of the Corda Ranch is that it comprises 13% of the Stafford Lake watershed, including the headwaters of Novato Creek, the primary tributary to Stafford Lake and an important part of Novato's drinking water system. MALT's easement will help permanently protect water quality through the establishment of special creek conservation areas, which will be managed according to a plan that is approved by MALT and updated at least every ten years. Additionally, the protection of the Corda Ranch will preserve the many natural habitats that exist there, including wet meadows and native grasslands, rare oak woodland savannahs, chamise chaparral hillsides, and well-vegetated riparian corridors.
Protection made possible by a $2 million grant from Lucasfilm Foundation
In 2011, Lucasfilm Foundation, the private charitable enterprise founded by legendary filmmaker George Lucas, granted $2 million to MALT to acquire the agricultural conservation easement valued at $2,913,000 on the historic ranch. The remainder of the acquisition funds were provided by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service through its Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program.
George Lucas has taken an active interest in the landscape of Marin since bringing his Lucasfilm operations to Skywalker Ranch near Nicasio in the late 1970s. Today, Skywalker Properties owns several ranches in the area covering more than 6,100 acres, most of which are protected by MALT agricultural conservation easements.
"As a long-time resident of Marin, the county's natural open spaces are very important to me," Lucas explained. "Since we first made the move here in 1979, we've always worked to preserve the landscape and the environment. We need to respect and protect the land while we're here, so that future generations can also appreciate its beauties and its benefits."
"The farms and ranches of Marin are an important resource for the entire Bay Area," Lucas continued. "By supporting MALT's protection of the Corda Ranch, we're helping to ensure that these diverse habitats are monitored and well-managed now and in the future."