River Ridge Institute grew naturally out of our own experiences with the beautiful and bountiful southern Sierra Nevada foothills. These oak woodlands, especially those stretching from Kern to Fresno counties, still retain much of their natural resources in good condition. California oak woodlands are an important component of the state’s lands, comprising about ten million acres. In the Sierra, all of the watersheds pass through these lands on their way to the Central Valley floor and Sierra water supplies 60% of the state’s total supply.
The oak woodlands are also unusual in that they are 80% privately-owned and about 2/3 of the acreage is grazed. This is critical for natural resource conservation in two ways: first, about 60% of California’s 105 million acres is classified as rangelands, so grazing and its practices have a potentially huge impact on our landscape and, second, much of the privately-owned rangeland is still in the form of large ranches. Large ranches means that they have not been subdivided and that means that they are generally functioning ecological systems, contributing oxygen, sequestering CO2, preventing runoff and keeping watersheds in much better shape than if they were in other human-related uses.
Land management thus becomes a critical factor in protecting soil from erosion, water from pollution, habitat from subdivision and represents a significant source of carbon sequestration and oxygen production. The practices that ranchers learn, use and share affect us all and River Ridge Institute was formed to teach our interested neighbors how to protect land while keeping it productive and, ideally, to increase its profitability in a sustainable way. Win-win.
WORKING WITH US
River Ridge Institute and River Ridge Ranch have developed numerous and successful relationships over the years. These partners have been essential to accomplishing goals and attempting large-scale land conservation.
Here’s a list, undoubtedly partial:
- KTIP Radio, AM 1450
- The Porterville Recorder
- Sequoia Riverlands Trust
- Kamansky’s Ecological Consulting
- NRCS- Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Point Blue Conservation Science
- The Kaweah Fly Fishers
- Porterville Unified School District
- The Tule River Tribe
- Patti Torrey and The River Ridge Irregulars (you know who you are)
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Sierra Nevada Conservancy
- National Geographic
- Optimists International- Porterville
- Tulare County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue
- The Springville Hot Shots
- Sierra Foothill Conservancy
- California Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Tulare County Ag Commissioner
- University of California Cooperative Extension
- You or your organization!