Lazy K Heritage Preserve

Merced county

Conserving Vernal Pools and Wetlands to Protect Species Habitat

The Lazy K Ranch Heritage Preserve is more than just a name, it is a place that is home to a hard-working family who built their treasured ranch from the ground up and now will see it intact forever. This unique conservation project created a solution which blends together a mitigation preserve for species habitat and the creation of critical vanishing vernal pools and wetlands while forever protecting the ability to continue ranching on the land and providing the opportunity to grow.

Mike and Sherry Knapp, along with their son Larry and daughter Michele, initiated this project to provide long term sustainability for their ranching operation and to maintain the threatened habitat and species on their property. The Knapps worked with John Vollmar of Vollmar Consulting, recognized for its expertise in all aspects of vernal pool assessment, construction and monitoring, to complete this project. Vollmar Consulting put the mitigation preserve agreement together among the Knapps, California Rangeland Trust (Rangeland Trust) and a developer, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

To offset the impacts of a 31-acre development project by nearby U.C. Merced, this 93 acre easement, held by California Rangeland Trust, ensures the preservation of seasonal wetlands and vernal pools, San Joaquin kit fox habitat, and California adult tiger salamander migration and sheltering habitat. Most notably, this mitigation easement is part of the family’s larger ranch where the Knapp’s plan to enter into additional mitigation easements.