Anderson Valley Land Trust (AVLT) is the only land trust that primarily focuses on Anderson Valley and the Navarro River Watershed. We provide local expertise to help landowners conserve their land so their property can be protected, managed, and used to preserve its conservation values.
AVLT was founded in 1991. We have a small office in Boonville, with a paid administrative assistant who works half-time. We publish a quarterly newsletter, maintain a website, and sponsor a number of nature walks and other activities throughout the year. All of the work of forming conservation easements, monitoring the easements, and organizing fundraisers is performed by our all-volunteer Board.
AVLT currently holds 27 easements. We work with an annual operating budget of about $30,000. Our funds come primarily from public contributions, with occasional grants for specific projects.
According to the Land Trust Alliance, the premier national organization supporting the land trust movement, there are about 1,700 land trusts in the U.S., of which 60% operate on the all-volunteer business model. (All-volunteer means that an organization has no more than one part-paid employee.) LTA reports that the majority of all-volunteer land trusts hold five easements or fewer and have annual budgets of less than $20,000. This makes AVLT an above average organization, in terms of budget and number of conservation easements held, among other all-volunteer land trusts nation-wide.
As of 2017, AVLT has joined with landowners to protect more than 2,300 acres of forests, riparian areas, agricultural land, oak woodlands, meadows, and views in Anderson Valley. Some of the acreage will be “forever wild,” where natural processes are paramount. Others have been designated as working forest or as agricultural land that will be managed using sustainable practices. Each easement is individually tailored to the property’s conservation values and the landowner’s needs and vision.
A presentation by AVLT to the Mendocino County Supervisors in 1993 resulted in the Board recognizing non-profit land trusts in Mendocino County as non-governmental partners in land and resource conservation. This recognition signifies the public benefits of conservation easements and helps landowner donors receive IRS tax deductions on their qualifying easements.