The spectacular, newly protected Mill Bend Preserve is located at the mouth of the Gualala River, straddling Mendocino and Sonoma Counties along Highway 1. The property was recently purchased for conservation by the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy (RCLC), with support from the State Coastal Conservancy and multiple other partners. It encompasses a portion of the Gualala River estuary, which provides valuable salmonid habitat, and the slopes above it.
Historically the site of lumber mills, the Mill Bend site now supports extensive wetland and forest, as well as some highly disturbed areas. PCI worked with RCLC, stakeholders, and the local community to develop a Conservation Plan that includes strategies for restoration of the mill site and estuary habitat, public access designs that protect natural resources, and guidance for ongoing management of the land. An overview of the Conservation Plan can be found here: https://www.rclc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/MillBendPreserve-ConservationPlan-Abstract_9-12-22.pdf
Given its location immediately adjacent to the town of Gualala on the north, and Sonoma County Regional Parks land to the south, the site offers the community rich opportunities to experience a diversity of natural habitats close to town and to connect with other regional trails. Currently, PCI is assisting RCLC as they seek additional grant funding for implementation of public access improvements and estuary enhancement design.
For more information on RCLC and the Mill Bend site, see: https://www.rclc.org/mill-bend-conservation/.