Willow Creek Ranch

San Benito County, California

Resources from one of Central California’s paragon ranches provides wetland and agricultural benefits for major cities in the region.

The Willow Creek Ranch is a beautiful beef cattle ranch that contains a haven for California’s federally threatened and endangered species and provides a significant water source for major cities in the region.

The ranch has been in the Zgragen family for four generations. It encompasses vital habitat that protects and promotes healthy habitat for endangered species like the California condor, kit fox, red-legged frog, and California tiger salamander. It also contains critical watersheds like ponds, springs, and several miles of the San Benito River, a tributary to the Pajaro River and Willow Creek. The tributary provides fresh water to working farms and ranches, businesses, and residential areas encompassing the city of Watsonville and a part of Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.

Willow Creek Ranch is surrounded by homes, vineyards, and row crops, and most notably the Pinnacles National Park. Due to the exponential growth of the surrounding vicinity, developmental pressures intensify and therefore, increased efforts to conserve the open space. The Zgragen family worked with California Rangeland Trust in 2019 to forever conserve 5,459 acres of their land. It allows for the land’s resources to continue providing wetland and agricultural benefits to the region for generations to come.