The Santa Cruz Mountains region has a long history as a place of significant cultural, biological, and environmental diversity which supports many native plant and animal species found nowhere else on Earth.

The act of stewardship toward land is based on the concept that landowners and land managers take good care of the land for its own sake and for the future, and not only for short-term personal gain. Good land stewardship occurs on both public and private lands, “preserved” and “working” lands, and effective stewardship of a large landscape or region requires an approach that promotes a wide range of beneficial uses or values, including but not limited to ecological, recreational, aesthetic, spiritual, cultural, and economic.

Stewardship Network members agree that effective land stewardship on a regional level is characterized by:

  • Emulating or enhancing natural ecosystem functions
  • An active, varied, “mosaic” approach that promotes a wide variety of conservation benefits, including the generation of responsibly produced resources and livelihoods from working lands.
  • Experimenting with a range of stewardship practices as appropriate
  • Consistent monitoring and evaluation, adjusting land practices to improve results
  • Co-operative efforts and the sharing of critical information
  • Identifying and communicating the acceptable and unacceptable thresholds of threat or hazard from activities or events such as fire, and the consequences of action versus inaction
  • Responsible and responsive regulation that does not unduly hamper stewardship efforts
  • The availability of sufficient resources to achieve long-term goals   

Some of the specific priority areas we agree are critical include:

  • Enhancing Water Quality and Watershed Health
  • Managing Invasive Plant and Animal Species
  • Maintaining Biodiversity and Endangered Species
  • Climate Change Adaptation
  • Monitoring, Research and Education
  • Access to Public Lands
  • Strong Human Communities and Citizen Engagement