Ranchers, vintners to conserve California tiger salamander | NevadaAppeal.com

Ranchers, vintners to conserve California tiger salamander

Associated Press

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A family of ranchers and the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates agreed to help the federal government to conserve the California tiger salamander, officials said.

The agreement reached Friday by Darwin and Jeanette Sainz and Kendall-Jackson to implement measures on their vast properties in Los Alamos and Los Robles came one day after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized habitat protections for the imperiled amphibian.

The Sainz family has been working to protect the California tiger salamanders since the 1990s, maintaining three breeding ponds.

“We knew immediately that we were not in a position to undertake extensive conservation activities alone. Conservation activities usually require a lot of money. If we were going to do anything, it was clear from the start that our family would need the help of our good friends at Kendall-Jackson,” said Jeanette Sainz in a statement.

Pete Downs, vice president of government affairs for Kendall-Jackson, said the agreement allows for “private landowner’s need for an economic return from his or her land, and the conservation needs of the California tiger salamander.”

The California tiger salamander is a black-and-yellow amphibian that grows up to 8 inches long and lives in grasslands, woodlands and vernal pools, where it breeds during the winter rainy season. The species has been threatened by urban sprawl and the invasion of non-native species.

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The Fish and Wildlife Service declared more than 11,000 acres in the county critical habitat for the salamanders.