Posted by: Bruce Robinson on May 25, 2009
A little-seen watershed near Occidental, informally known as Waterfall Park, may be moving toward actually becoming a real park.
Conservation consultant David Katz, who is representing the property owner in talks with the Sonoma County Ag and Open Space District, says that while the waterfall there may be the most unusual aspect of Bohemia Ranch, it's really just part of a larger array of natural resources.
There is an element of urgency in the renewed effort to see Bohemia Ranch acquired by the county, not just because the property is already legally allowed to host six future homesites, but also, David Katz adds, because a long-term permit for logging is also in place there.
As a representative of the current owner of Bohemia Ranch, Katz has also developed a website to market it, which features photographs and a video of the property.
The Community Clean Water Institute says about this property:
The property is on Bohemian Hwy. about four miles from Occidental and
fourteen miles from Santa Rosa. Most of the site is moderate to steep
sloping ridges covered with forest or grassy meadows. The ranch is drained
by three creeks that flow into Dutch Bill Creek, which is just off the
property. The famed waterfall is on lower Duvoul Creek.
Over the past 8 years extensive clean-up and restoration work has occurred
on the ranch. All debris has been removed, roads re-graded and resurfaced,
new roads developed, numerous erosion sites repaired, extensive biologic
evaluation and documentation accomplished, and many new water sources
A conservation easement on the ranch is held by the Sonoma Land Trust, but
the possibility of subdivision into six separate home sites still exists on
The property is 862 acres, with about 400 acres in fir forest with some
redwoods. The forest has an approved Nonindustrial Timber Management Plan in place, which means that it can be commercially harvested without additional approvals. As a result of quantifying this timber resource a great
opportunity exists to sell carbon credits to raise funds for supporting the
proposed park while simultaneously preventing any further cutting of trees.
The creeks that drain Bohemia Ranch flow directly into Dutch Bill Creek at
the very heart of its watershed. Bohemia Ranch cover approximately 17% of
the entire watershed of Dutch Bill Creek. Dutch Bill creek supports
federally listed endangered species coho salmon and threatened steelhead and has been the focus of considerable restoration expenditures over the past
The Dutch Bill Creek Watershed Council, the Watershed Institute at
Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, Westminster Woods, and the Goldridge
Resource Conservation District have supplied leadership in implementing
restoration activities on the creek. The Sonoma County Water Agency, CA
Dept. of Fish and Game, NOAA Fisheries, and the University of California
have been actively engaged in restoration on Dutch Bill Creek. Many other
organizations are also involved and are supporting the restoration work on
the creek. All of these organizations support protecting the watershed by
protecting Bohemia Ranch.