Imagine a project that would perfectly balance meeting the infrastructure demands of a growing community while protecting a valuable working landscape in the process. A new community in West Roseville, a suburb located 25 miles east of Sacramento, California, is seeking to accomplish just that by serving as a model for thoughtful development, innovative land management, and responsible stewardship.
The 500-acre Winding Creek Community— currently being constructed by the land development and homebuilding company, Anthem United— will provide local residents with access to new homes and amenities that make way for comfort, fun, and outdoor adventure. Simultaneously, this project will also conserve an area of pristine rangeland adjacent to the development site.
The masterplan for the Winding Creek Community will create 2,000 residential units, including 1,400 single-family homes and 600 multiple-family units, some of which will be affordable housing. The plan also includes 16 acres of neighborhood parks, a seven-acre school site, and 20 acres of commercial development.
Developers often need to offset the habitat their project will impact by permanently conserving a similar working landscape nearby. For this development project, 87 acres of rangeland adjacent to the Winding Creek Community will be forever protected as the “Creekview Northern Preserve” to comply with mitigation requirements set forth by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the City of Roseville.
“We’re thrilled about this preserve,” explains Brendan Leonard, Project Manager for Anthem United. “This type of wetland preserve next to a residential area of this size doesn’t really exist in West Roseville; there’s nothing quite like this.”
When it came time for Leonard and the team at Anthem Untied to determine which third-party entity would hold the mitigation easement on the Creekview Northern Preserve, they reached out to multiple accredited land trusts before ultimately landing on the California Rangeland Trust.
“I wanted to put this in the hands of people who are passionate about the work and committed to doing it well,” said Leonard. “The Rangeland Trust is proving to be that champion, both as responsible stewards for the natural resources and as the handler of the administrative responsibilities that come with the project.”
To protect the area’s natural resources, the land will be grazed by cattle as part of the preserve’s management plan. Well-managed grazing helps to maintain the health and biodiversity of the ecosystem. It also improves the resiliency of the landscape and offers a solution to help prevent devastating effects caused by wildfires. Without grazing, grasses and invasive shrubs grow tall and dry out which results in greater fire hazards on the land and to the nearby community.
Anthem United will be responsible for managing the preserve until the development project is complete. After that, the preserve will be transferred to the City of Roseville who will take over the management responsibilities.
“California Rangeland Trust is proud to play a role in this venture which seeks to strike a balance to provide homes and habitat for people, wildlife, and livestock,” said Rangeland Trust CEO Michael Delbar. “We all need places to live and society needs infrastructure to survive. The key is finding responsible ways to do that. We feel this project with Anthem United and the City of Roseville accomplishes that goal.”
Teaming with oak trees, an intermittent stream, seasonal wetlands, and scattered vernal pools, the Creekview Northern Preserve functions as a valuable working landscape that provides potential habitat for the federally listed branchiopod species. Adding further benefit to the area’s wildlife and migratory bird populations is the 1,500-acre Al Johnson Wildlife Preserve, located immediately to the west of the project. “We are very excited about being able to sort of add to that,” said Leonard. “It is biologically connected to the North and to the West of the project where it won’t ever change.” While cattle and wildlife will certainly benefit from the preservation of the landscape’s natural resources, there will also be unique opportunities for the public to experience the intrinsic beauty of nature.
Walking and biking trails will surround the property and provide abundant opportunities for community members to get outside, breathe in the fresh air, and view the cattle and wildlife up-close without disturbing the land’s natural habitat. “We are really happy about that and we think it’s a tremendous amenity for people to enjoy,” expressed Leonard. “When it’s preserved like this forever it makes us feel good about people’s ability to interact with nature and be close to it, while still being in a suburban area and not having completely blitzed over all the natural resources that are surrounding the neighborhood.”
“For the residents of this community to be able to connect with the land and agriculture just by taking a few steps right outside their front doors is an incredibly unique opportunity,” said Delbar. “This partnership offers a win-win solution for the land, people, and wildlife, and that is exactly what the Rangeland Trust is all about.”