Leading up to the 2021 purchase of Mill Bend by the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy, the Mendocino Land Trust assisted in securing state and federal grant funding to add to the generous support of regional and local RCLC donors for the purchase of this 113 acre area near the mouth of the Gualala river. This estuarine area is home to sensitive habitats and endangered species including coho salmon and steelhead. In addition to providing critical habitat for these fish, the Gualala River estuary is home to Gualala roach and other fish species, as well as red-legged frogs, harbor seals, river otters, osprey and bald eagles. Mill Bend has a variety of wetland, riparian and upland habitats, including willow, aspen, bay, Bishop pine, and redwood forests that support a broad variety of rare plants, terrestrial and avian wildlife species. In addition to these valuable ecosystem values, the property provides free public access to scenic views, paddling watercraft, and hiking trails.
MLT staff’s extensive knowledge of funding sources and grant-writing expertise put the Land Trust in a good position to assist project partners in securing monies from the Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Grant Program. Surveys and maps completed by MLT staff and interns helped the Coastal Conservancy secure a sizable National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant toward the land purchase. The Redwood Coast Land Conservancy paired these funds with generous donations from their supporters, as well as support from Sonoma Land Trust, Sonoma County Regional Parks, Gualala Arts Center, Friends of Gualala River, and individuals and families throughout the community. Redwood Coast Land Conservancy succeeded in purchasing the property in early 2021.