An additional 37 acres of ancient seabed will be protected from development under a new conservation easement in Santa Cruz County.
This month, the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County acquired the easement for the property, known as the Sandhills land. It's located near Lockhart Gulch and Green Valley Road in Scotts Valley.
The easement restricts development on the property, ensuring it will be remain Sandhills habitat forever. The land remains privately owned and on tax rolls, however.
The Sandhills make up an ancient seabed, and sand dollars, seashells and fossils of extinct sea mammals can be found there. The area is home to seven species of plants and animals that biologists say exist nowhere else on earth. That includes the Mount Hermon June Beetle, the Zayante band-winged grasshopper, the Santa Cruz kangaroo rat, the Ben Lomond spineflower, the Santa Cruz wallflower, the Silverleaf manzanita and the Ben Lomond buckwheat.
"The Sandhills are a rare habitat, threatened by development and destructive human use,” said Land Trust Executive Director Terry Corwin. “We are excited to add these 37 acres to the 230 acres of Sandhills the Land Trust already protects in the area.”