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Save Mount Diablo: Diablo Range is California’s next big conservation story

Environmental conservation group launches campaign to protect Diablo Range

Environmental conservation group Save Mount Diablo has set its sights on a new mountain range for preservation, and have officially launched an ambitious campaign to connect Mount Diablo to the whole of the Diablo Range.

The Diablo Range is a 150-mile long mountain range and biodiversity refuge that stretches from the Carquinez Strait north of Martinez all the way to the Antelope Valley in Kern County, and while this range is located next door to millions of people, Save Mount Diablo officials say very few people know anything about it.

“Seventy-five percent of the ecologically important area around Mount Diablo has been preserved,” explained Edward “Ted” Sortwell Clement, Jr., Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director. “While in the full 150-mile range, only 24 percent of the landscape has any protection. We’re going to change that. Save Mount Diablo’s first step is defining the range as a whole for the conservation community and the public and educating them about its importance.”

The first wave of the campaign will involve educating the public about the existence and importance of the entire Diablo Range.

To this end, Save Mount Diablo recently sponsored a newly published cover story and supplement about the Diablo Range in Bay Nature magazine, with the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority. “The Spine of California,” by Bay Nature Digital Editor Eric Simons, explores the history and biodiversity of the mountain range in and includes the first ever published map of the public and protected lands of the Diablo Range.

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“The 150-mile range of mountains from the Carquinez Strait to the oil fields of the southern San Joaquin Valley holds some of the largest remaining wild places in California. It is a rugged, remote, difficult realm, a biodiversity ark incised by the San Andreas Fault. It is a historic mixing place, where Central Valley Yokuts and coastal Ohlones traded and danced, where California’s ever-more-diverse future residents will seek escape and recreation. And it is nearly unparalleled in ecological significance,” Simons said.

Save Mount Diablo says the Diablo Range is huge, rugged, remote and according to Save Mount Diablo, contains some of the largest remaining unprotected wild places in California. It is bounded by Highway 101 to the west and Highway 5 to the east, and contains a 40- to 50-mile wide area that operates as "a blank spot on the map for the public focused on its outer grassland foothills."

It covers over 5,400 square miles and has many peaks, the tallest of which is San Benito Mountain at 5,241 feet compared to Mount Diablo's height of 3,849 feet.

Crossed only by two major highways at Altamont and Pacheco Passes, the range is extremely important for wildlife and Save Mount Diablo says serves as a "reservoir of biodiversity" and a core habitat for wildlife in California.

The golden eagle for example is suffering from a declining population throughout the western portions of North America, but has enjoyed stability in California because of the Diablo Range. In fact, the northern Diablo Range supports the highest density of golden eagles on the planet.

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Other animals prospering in the region include Tule elk -- nearly hunted to extinction in the 1970s -- who have recovered quickly in the Diablo Range, mountain lions who have had their genetic diversity replenished in the area, Bay checkerspot butterflies who have their last stronghold along Coyote Ridge just above San Jose, and the California condor which is also recovering from the brink of extinction.

Also, although the Diablo Range is right next to some large cities, large areas of it have limited to no cell phone coverage, light pollution, or major roads, an indication of its habitat connectivity.

Multiple threats face the preservation of this land and the life found within it, threats such as energy development -- both alternative and fossil fuel-based energy -- suburban sprawl and proposed dams and reservoirs are all obstacles in protecting the Diablo Range.

Wind turbines also endanger golden eagles and other birds native to the area, and in the Panoche Valley, part of the Diablo Range, a 4,800-acre solar farm has recently been installed.

“The Diablo Range is the missing piece of the California conservation map. It’s California’s next great conservation story,” said Save Mount Diablo Land Conservation Director Seth Adams in a statement. "Our first effort is to put this place on the map."

Save Mount Diablo capped off their most recent preservation campaign in March with the successful incorporation of the Magee Ranch property in Danville -- now known as the Magee Preserve -- into the more than 110,000 acres acres currently protected by the group.

Also as part of the campaign, Save Mount Diablo recently expanded the geographic area in which it now conducts its land use advocacy, the area of protection now includes the three northern counties of 12 crossed by the Diablo Range.

Save Mount Diablo is also in the process of campaigning to acquire both the 154-acre Trail Ride Association conservation easement on North Peak for which it needs to raise a little over $1,040,000 and the Smith Canyon project adjacent to Curry Canyon, which will require $650,000.

The organization’s primary acquisition focus remains north of Highway 580 and around the main peaks of Mount Diablo, but the group has placed a specific priority on an essential, 10-mile-wide wildlife corridor -- which includes the Altamont Pass -- that connects Mount Diablo to the rest of the Diablo Range.

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Save Mount Diablo: Diablo Range is California’s next big conservation story

Environmental conservation group launches campaign to protect Diablo Range

by Ryan J. Degan /

Uploaded: Wed, Apr 15, 2020, 2:15 pm

Environmental conservation group Save Mount Diablo has set its sights on a new mountain range for preservation, and have officially launched an ambitious campaign to connect Mount Diablo to the whole of the Diablo Range.

The Diablo Range is a 150-mile long mountain range and biodiversity refuge that stretches from the Carquinez Strait north of Martinez all the way to the Antelope Valley in Kern County, and while this range is located next door to millions of people, Save Mount Diablo officials say very few people know anything about it.

“Seventy-five percent of the ecologically important area around Mount Diablo has been preserved,” explained Edward “Ted” Sortwell Clement, Jr., Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director. “While in the full 150-mile range, only 24 percent of the landscape has any protection. We’re going to change that. Save Mount Diablo’s first step is defining the range as a whole for the conservation community and the public and educating them about its importance.”

The first wave of the campaign will involve educating the public about the existence and importance of the entire Diablo Range.

To this end, Save Mount Diablo recently sponsored a newly published cover story and supplement about the Diablo Range in Bay Nature magazine, with the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority. “The Spine of California,” by Bay Nature Digital Editor Eric Simons, explores the history and biodiversity of the mountain range in and includes the first ever published map of the public and protected lands of the Diablo Range.

“The 150-mile range of mountains from the Carquinez Strait to the oil fields of the southern San Joaquin Valley holds some of the largest remaining wild places in California. It is a rugged, remote, difficult realm, a biodiversity ark incised by the San Andreas Fault. It is a historic mixing place, where Central Valley Yokuts and coastal Ohlones traded and danced, where California’s ever-more-diverse future residents will seek escape and recreation. And it is nearly unparalleled in ecological significance,” Simons said.

Save Mount Diablo says the Diablo Range is huge, rugged, remote and according to Save Mount Diablo, contains some of the largest remaining unprotected wild places in California. It is bounded by Highway 101 to the west and Highway 5 to the east, and contains a 40- to 50-mile wide area that operates as "a blank spot on the map for the public focused on its outer grassland foothills."

It covers over 5,400 square miles and has many peaks, the tallest of which is San Benito Mountain at 5,241 feet compared to Mount Diablo's height of 3,849 feet.

Crossed only by two major highways at Altamont and Pacheco Passes, the range is extremely important for wildlife and Save Mount Diablo says serves as a "reservoir of biodiversity" and a core habitat for wildlife in California.

The golden eagle for example is suffering from a declining population throughout the western portions of North America, but has enjoyed stability in California because of the Diablo Range. In fact, the northern Diablo Range supports the highest density of golden eagles on the planet.

Other animals prospering in the region include Tule elk -- nearly hunted to extinction in the 1970s -- who have recovered quickly in the Diablo Range, mountain lions who have had their genetic diversity replenished in the area, Bay checkerspot butterflies who have their last stronghold along Coyote Ridge just above San Jose, and the California condor which is also recovering from the brink of extinction.

Also, although the Diablo Range is right next to some large cities, large areas of it have limited to no cell phone coverage, light pollution, or major roads, an indication of its habitat connectivity.

Multiple threats face the preservation of this land and the life found within it, threats such as energy development -- both alternative and fossil fuel-based energy -- suburban sprawl and proposed dams and reservoirs are all obstacles in protecting the Diablo Range.

Wind turbines also endanger golden eagles and other birds native to the area, and in the Panoche Valley, part of the Diablo Range, a 4,800-acre solar farm has recently been installed.

“The Diablo Range is the missing piece of the California conservation map. It’s California’s next great conservation story,” said Save Mount Diablo Land Conservation Director Seth Adams in a statement. "Our first effort is to put this place on the map."

Save Mount Diablo capped off their most recent preservation campaign in March with the successful incorporation of the Magee Ranch property in Danville -- now known as the Magee Preserve -- into the more than 110,000 acres acres currently protected by the group.

Also as part of the campaign, Save Mount Diablo recently expanded the geographic area in which it now conducts its land use advocacy, the area of protection now includes the three northern counties of 12 crossed by the Diablo Range.

Save Mount Diablo is also in the process of campaigning to acquire both the 154-acre Trail Ride Association conservation easement on North Peak for which it needs to raise a little over $1,040,000 and the Smith Canyon project adjacent to Curry Canyon, which will require $650,000.

The organization’s primary acquisition focus remains north of Highway 580 and around the main peaks of Mount Diablo, but the group has placed a specific priority on an essential, 10-mile-wide wildlife corridor -- which includes the Altamont Pass -- that connects Mount Diablo to the rest of the Diablo Range.

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