By Todd R. Hansen
The Wragg Ridge Preserve at the southern end of Lake Berryessa has been expanded.
The Land Trust of Napa County has added 40 acres, bringing the preserve to 1,950 acres, the agency announced.
“We’re excited to add this property to protected lands in the area,” Doug Parker, chief executive officer of the land trust, said in the statement. “This acquisition ensures that an important gap within protected lands in this area is permanently protected for wildlife and helps to further protect the area’s extensive oak woodlands. The Bay Area Conservation Lands Network identified this property as a high priority for conservation.”
The new addition is adjacent to 30,000 acres owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which includes the lake and the land that surrounds it.
The Reclamation land also abuts the nearby 2,500-acre Quail Ridge Reserve, part of the University of California’s Natural Reserve System, which is a partnership between UC, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Land Trust of Napa County.
“Wragg Ridge Preserve is dominated by extensive oak woodlands – predominantly blue oaks and interior live oaks, with some black oaks. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has documented habitat for more than 300 wildlife species that depend on oak woodlands for food and shelter. Protection is a priority as oak woodlands are endemic to the region and only a small percentage are protected statewide,” the land trust statement said.
The property was purchased from the Goetze family, which owned and ranched thousands of acres in the area for decades, from Bruno Goetze, the grandfather of the current owners. He had a ranch in Wragg Canyon, where Pleasure Cove is now.
“A significant amount of this large landholding was sold by Bruno’s son, Ernie Goetze, to the federal government in 1955 as part of the eminent domain that led to the construction of Monticello Dam and the creation of Lake Berryessa,” the land trust reported.
Besides extensive oak woodlands, the Wragg Ridge Preserve contains priority wetlands, including a creek, seasonal pools and year-round ponds. The wetlands provide habitat for rare species, including the federally listed California red-legged frog, one of the few federally listed species in Napa County.
For more information, visit Land Trust of Napa County at napalandtrust.org.