Our natural resources exist in a delicate balance and are vulnerable to environmental changes. That’s why it’s important that we all do our part to conserve, preserve, and care for the Earth’s resources - and protect the environment that sustains us with food, fuel, shelter and medicine.
Our preserves are home to an array of plants and animals, from bugs to deer, and from common to rare, and are even home to some species in danger of extinction. California is one of the world's few places with a Mediterranean climate. As such, there are many unique habitat types and endemic flora and fauna here. The Conservancy’s preserves protect these plants and animals and the habitats they depend on so that future generations may enjoy “California gold.”
Clay Station and Churchill Downs contain vernal pool grasslands. Vernal pools are uncommon aquatic features that must have correct temperatures, soil types, and weather patterns to persist. It is estimated that up to 90% of the vernal pools in California’s Central Valley have been destroyed to date. Vernal pools experience cold winter rains followed by intense summer drought. The only organisms found in vernal pools are those capable of withstanding both months of inundation and months of extreme heat. Truly aquatic plants cannot survive because pools are not wet long enough. Terrestrial vegetation is held back because it cannot tolerate the prolonged soil saturation.
Each pool has its own, special combination of plants and animals that change every year. An abundant species one year may be absent the next.
Vernal pools are home to the endangered vernal pool fairy shrimp, which breed in the pools each winter and leave behind their eggs. These eggs stay in the dry soil all summer long, only to hatch again when the winter rains return.
Vernal pools are also home to frogs, toads, and salamanders. Migratory birds all the way from South America depend on these pools for food and water during their long travels.
Cavitt Ranch may provide habitat for the valley elderberry longhorn beetle, which depends on elderberry shrubs for food and shelter. This tiny beetle lays its eggs on these shrubs, and the larvae live inside the stems until they turn into adults. They emerge from small holes as adult beetles and are ready to fly away. The Elliott Conservancy is proud to protect and manage the region’s precious natural resources for future generations!
The below map reflects the Elliott Conservancy’s three preserve areas: Cavitt Ranch in Granite Bay; Churchill Downs in Elk Grove; and Clay Station in South Sacramento.