Mendocino Land Trust

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Mendocino Land Trust
P.O. Box 1094
Mendocino, California 95460
(707) 962-0470 phone

Office Location
330 North Franklin Street, Ste 7
Fort Bragg, CA 95437

The Mendocino Land Trust is a member of the Land Trust Alliance since 1985 and the California Council of Land Trusts since 2007

About Big River

Big River is a place of gentle tidal flows, mist-laden redwoods, tucked-away marshes.  It is home to an amazing array of wildlife, and it has a history as a resource and a respite for humans as well.   

The purchase of Big River presented an unusual opportunity to link coastal habitats to inland habitats on a landscape scale, greatly enhancing conservation efforts on adjacent state lands through cooperative management, support of scientific research, and by facilitating management of the entire acreage as an ecological system.

The property's strategic location created an unbroken core of critical protected habitat for northern spotted owl, coho salmon, steelhead trout, and other rare, forest-dependent species. These large corridors are known to promote greater genetic diversity in plant and animal populations, and are vital for the survival of large resident mammals such as mountain lion and black bear. 

The property's unique natural resources include:

  • 1,500 acres of wetlands, including brackish, freshwater, saltwater, and fresh emergent marshes, the 8.3-mile long estuary, and associated riparian habitats.
  • 27 endangered, threatened, or species of concern.
  • 60,000 acres of connected wildlife habitat between this and adjacent public land, and over 100 miles of joined trails.
  • 50 miles of Big River and its tributaries, home to Dungeness and shore crab, freshwater mussels, ghost shrimp, river otter, beaver, harbor seals, and over 22 fish species including coho and steelhead salmon, bocaccio, starry flounder, Pacific halibut, Pacific herring, eulachon, buffalo and prickly sculpin, and 7 species of surfperch.
  • Over 130 bird species recorded to date, including Osprey, Northern Spotted Owl, Golden Eagle, Yellow Warbler, Purple Martin, Vaux's Swift, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Olive-sided and Pacific-slope Flycatchers.  Download the Land Trust's 2008 Checklist of Birds Seen at Big River State Park (520 K).
  • The longest undeveloped estuary in northern California.
  • Significant, untapped archeological resources throughout the Property.
  • High diversity of plant communities including Northern Coastal Salt Marsh, Coastal Brackish Marsh, mudflats, Coastal and Valley Freshwater Marsh, Coastal Scrub, riparian forests, Coastal Redwood Forest, Bishop Pine Forest, Grand Fir Forest, Mendocino Pygmy Cypress Forest, Coastal Coniferous Forest, and mixed hardwood/conifer forest, as well as five aquatic plant associations.
  • 27 sensitive plant species, identified on Big River property quadrangles, and which are likely to be positively identified in future surveys.
  • At least 32 mammals including river otter, black bear, beaver, mountain lion, bobcat, mink, ring-tailed cat, long and short tailed weasel, little brown bat, gray fox, harbor seal, and the red tree vole.
  • 60-acre Laguna Marsh, an unusual inland and extensive fresh-emergent wetland representing one of the most productive habitats on earth.

Links to Additional Information about the Big River Estuary

  • Visit our Big River Resources webpage for many links related to Big River, such as the Coho Recovery Strategy and
  • Visit the Natural History webpage to learn more about the natural history of Big River.


For more information, contact:

Doug Kern, Big River Program Manager

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