Bay Area rancher receives Leopold Conservation Award

Jan 13, 2012
by WLJ

Sand County Foundation, the California Farm Bureau Federation and Sustainable Conservation are pleased to name Bay Area rancher Tim Koopmann as the 2011 recipient of the Leopold Conservation Award in California.

The $10,000 Leopold Conservation Award is named in honor of world-renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold. The award is presented annually in eight states to private landowners who practice exemplary land stewardship and management.

“Tim Koopmann’s commitment to the health of the land and wildlife in his family’s care is exemplary, but he has also made extraordinary improvements in water quality that benefit those on and off of his ranch,” said Brent Haglund, Sand County Foundation president. “In addition, he has taken steps to help ensure that his land and land ethic will continue to thrive for future generations.”

Tim Koopmann is a thirdgeneration rancher who owns and operates an 850-acre cow/calf operation within the San Francisco Bay Area in Sunol. The Koopmann Ranch is an agricultural gem surrounded by urban development.

Koopmann’s effective management practices have improved the soil and wildlife populations on his land, and his dedication to the enhancement of water quality on and off of his ranch is truly exceptional. As a Watershed resource specialist for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Koopmann manages over 40,000 acres of watershed lands. His talent for building partnerships to tackle environmental issues has produced significant results. For instance, he formed a team of 15 public agencies and agricultural organizations to develop a comprehensive watershed management and monitoring plan that has been recognized in California and internationally.

Also, the Koopmanns have played an integral role in the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition, which was developed at their ranch in 2005. The coalition brings together environmentalists, ranchers and resource professionals from state and federal agencies to advocate for the preservation of working ranches.

Faced with encroaching development and the reality of selling or subdividing his ranch, Koopmann placed two conservation easements on his family’s ranch. He conserved a naturally occurring pond and the surrounding 31 acres of grassland in perpetuity for the California tiger salamander. Koopmann also conserved 107 acres in perpetuity to slow the encroachment of an adjacent golf course. These easements allowed him and his family to pay their estate tax bill and, most importantly, allow them to continue their work on the preservation of the land and other natural resources for the benefit of future generations.

Approximately 90 percent of the global cackling goose population passes through the Lyons family’s property during its winter migration from Alaska to California’s Central Valley. Thanks to the family’s efforts, which included selling 2,000 acres to the refuge, the goose was taken off of the endangered species list in 2006.

For more information, please visit www.leopoldcon — WLJ