Madera Irrigation District to Consider Option Agreement with The Trust for Public Land for the Madera Ranch
Madera Irrigation District (MID or District) is excited to announce the potential of a new chapter for the property known as the Madera Ranch. Madera Ranch is located in Madera County approximately four miles southwest of the City of Madera. Madera Irrigation District purchased the Madera Ranch in 2005. In 2008, MID sold approximately 2,700 acres of cultivated land, the District continues to own and operate the remaining almost 11,000 acres as grazing land.
As many in the community of Madera are aware, the Madera Ranch has had a long and convoluted past. From ownership by an Enron subsidiary to unsuccessful attempts to create a water bank on pristine grassland, the Madera Ranch has had countless hurdles and a history longer and more complex than most. It is with great optimism that the MID Board of Directors will be considering an agreement with the Trust for Public Land (TPL) that would benefit MID, the community of Madera, and the public at large.
The property would be conveyed to TPL and then subsequently to a public agency or environmental steward and preserved for open space, habitat restoration, and other related uses. There are many documented endangered species and areas of potential habitat on the site, including species thought only to still exist or have the potential to exist there. In the past, the presence of these species was seen as a detriment to the property’s development; however, the presence of those species is now viewed as an asset—an asset for the environment itself, the District as the landowner, and most importantly, Madera. The MID Board of Directors’ intent and objective in entering into a potential agreement with TPL is to preserve that asset for generations to come while also realizing the monetary benefit of a property transfer.
The funds generated from the sale would be reinvested back into MID. The monies could be used for capital improvements to the District’s aging infrastructure, to reduce water rates for District landowners, to payoff existing bond debt, and to continue to enhance projects and programs for the long-term groundwater sustainability of the District.
“I would like to extend our thanks to the Madera Irrigation District for their leadership in spearheading this promising first step towards the protection and restoration of the Madera Ranch. This space represents crucial habitat for the protection of diverse species that are special to this region” said Guillermo Rodriguez, TPL California State Director. “Madera Ranch is a living testament to what the entirety of California’s Central Valley once embodied — a rich tapestry of natural beauty and biodiversity. By conserving and restoring this open space, we are not just preserving history but forging a path towards a sustainable future.”
The MID Board of Directors will be considering the Option Agreement for approval at the MID Special Board Meeting to be held on October 24, 2023. If you would like to submit comments beforehand, please email Andrea Sandoval, MID Board Secretary, at email@example.com. For more information on the Trust for Public Land, please visit www.tpl.org.