SANTA ROSA (KCBS) – An open space district in the North Bay is continuing its nearly two decades of protecting land for future generations.

Former San Francisco Giant Ryan Klesko and a business partner have agreed to sell a conservation easement on their ranch to the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District.

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The property is located east of Cloverdale, in an area identified as one of the seven critical wildlife areas in the Bay Area.

“We ended up being able to protect this 2,700 acre property for just over $1.7 million,” said Conservation Property Manager Misti Arias. “We were looking at the potential purchase of the land outright for over $6 million.”

KCBS’ Larry Chiaroni Reports:

Arias said the district gets the most bang for its buck by only buying the conservation rights to the properties it intends to preserve.

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She said the land owners still manage the properties and can pass them on to their heirs or even sell if they want. But the district always retains the conservation rights to the property.

“We work on everything from intensive-use land, like agricultural lands, to wilderness areas that are pristine and untouched,” said Arias. “We also partner with recreational providers to open space preserves or urban parks.”

Arias said that the district, funded by a quarter cent sales tax, is the only one that’s publicly funded in California for agricultural preservation and open space conservation.

In the last 20 years, the Open Space District has preserved over 85,000 acres in the county, with over 33,000 of that being active agricultural land.

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