2070 acres near Fairfield city in Solano county
2006-04-29 “A jewel of Solano” from “Vacaville Reporter” newspaper:
California poppies grow near the Suisun Slough on Rush Ranch, which is open to the public for tours.
2006-05-01 “$500,000 GRANT TO SUPPORT MARSHLAND NATURE CENTER”
from “Bay City News Wire”:
The California Coastal Conservancy has approved a $500,000 grant to the Solano Land Trust for a nature center at Rush Ranch where visitors learn about one of the last remaining examples of slightly salty marsh in the United States.
The nature center on the 2,070-acre Rush Ranch will be part of a complex of historic ranch buildings that includes a working blacksmith shop, a 1932 Sears kit house, a barn, water tower and working windmill.
Rush Ranch is not connected to a power grid and wind and solar power supply most of its energy needs.
"For anyone who wants to understand the history of the North Bay marshlands or to enjoy their sights, sounds and smells, Rush Ranch is a must visit,'' said Douglas Bosco, chairman of the Coastal Conservancy.
The nature center will be open to school groups and other visitors who want to learn about the ranch's history and the natural environment of the Suisun Marsh. Trails through fields and along the edges of the marsh provide glimpses of the area as it has existed and changed through the least few centuries.
The ranch is home to several threatened and endangered plants and animals and contains many artifacts from the property's Native American habitations and nineteenth-century farmstead.
The conservancy's funding is available through Proposition 50, a resources bond act approved by voters in 2002. It will be joined by $500,000 from the National Estuarine Research Center Reserve and $250,000 from an anonymous donor.
The conservancy provided $1.5 million for the land trust's purchase of Rush Ranch in 1988 and over $400,000 for improvements to the ranch.
The Solano Land Trust has protected more than 16,000 acres of natural areas and farmland and Rush Ranch is the trust's largest and oldest open space preserve.
The Coastal Conservancy has helped open more than 100 miles of coast and bay shores to the public and preserved more than 185,000 acres of wetland, wildlife bird habitat, park and farmland.
Construction of the nature center is expected to begin this summer and be completed by the end of the year.
2006-05-10 “Land trust to establish 'off-the-grid' nature center”
by Danielle Samaniego from “Contra Costa Times”:
Our goal would be to have different programs going on, suitable for all sorts of classes and events
With $1 million secured, the Solano Land Trust is preparing to break ground on a nature center that would turn its Rush Ranch near Fairfield into a science hub for professionals and students alike.
Plans are to build an 'off-the-grid' nature center and new caretaker residence, complete with restrooms and a classroom with nature displays, a working lab, offices and living quarters for visiting scientists. Solar and wind energy will provide most of the center's power needs because Rush Ranch is not connected to the power grid, according to the trust.
'Our goal would be to have different programs going on, suitable for all sorts of classes and events,' said Marilyn Farley, executive director of the land trust. 'Another goal is to educate people about the marsh and the habitat and have more people have an opportunity to see what's there.'
Construction is expected to begin in July, trust officials said.
Rush Ranch protects 2,070 acres of Solano County marsh and rolling hills located on Grizzly Island Road, two miles off of Highway 12. According to the trust, the preserve is considered one of the best remaining examples of brackish marsh habitat in the United States and is home to rare and endangered plants and animals.
Plans for the nature center kicked off last year thanks to a $500,000 grant from the National Estuarine Research Reserve, a Rush Ranch partner. Just last month, the State Coastal Conservancy granted $500,000 toward the center, which is expected to cost about $1 million to complete.
'The property is and has always been a part of the work of the land trust ... and it provides a lot of education to school children and the public -- not only of the nature of the marsh, but the history of the area as well,' said Bob Berman, president of the trust's board.
He added that the nature center will enhance the land 'just in terms of making a better visitor attraction and in terms of Rush Ranch.'
Another benefit will be having a caretaker on site 24 hours a day, trust officials said.
With the center now financially on track, the trust is looking to raise $2 million for a stewardship endowment fund to pay for annual costs of preserving and managing Rush Ranch's natural resources. It would also support the nature center, wildlife habitat improvements, trail construction and repairs and educational and research programs. An anonymous donor just gave $250,000 and pledged up to $200,000 more if the trust can raise $450,000 from other supporters before Oct. 1.
The Solano Land Trust, formed in 1986, aims to protect open space for public access and farming, either by buying the land outright or by acquiring conservation easements.