Why We Acquire
The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the six top biodiversity hot spots in the United States. This is particularly true in the East Bay, where Mount Diablo State Park alone is home to 10% of California’s native plant diversity, and where development pressure is extreme.
As the region’s human population skyrockets in response to economic recovery and job growth, suburban sprawl is rapidly encroaching on what remains of our wild lands, eliminating habitat for imperiled wildlife and plant species, and shrinking the natural spaces available for residents’ recreation and enjoyment. Further, climate change is pushing sensitive species to the edge of their adaptive limits, which are narrow and complex in highly bio-diverse areas like the Diablo wild lands.
The Bay Area’s urban housing deficit has pushed development eastward. Population growth in the East Bay has outpaced that of the rest of the Bay Area and much of California. Contra Costa County–already the Bay Area’s most highly developed county after San Francisco–added 60,000 new residents between 2010-2015, becoming the fifth fastest growing county in California and third in the Bay Area.
The resulting pressure for housing not only chips away at remaining open space–much of it abutting Mount Diablo–but worsens traffic congestion and adds to air- and water-quality problems.
The statistics are telling. Of the more than 400,000 acres of natural landscape in the Bay Area at risk of development, the largest proportion is in Contra Costa County.
“Across the (nine) Bay Area counties… Contra Costa County has the most total land at risk, and the most land at high risk, land that could be developed in the near term.”
Save Mount Diablo is ideally positioned to respond to this challenge. As a leading force in land use advocacy and preservation in the East Bay since 1971, our organization has protected more than 110,000 acres of open space in alliance with partner organizations and influenced other vital issues such as regional transportation planning. We have won our successes using the same strategies we use today: Land-use advocacy, land acquisition (as a bridge to public ownership), stewardship, and support of recreational opportunities consistent with the protection of natural resources.
Benefits of Acquisition
Protecting Diablo’s remaining open space creates a myriad of benefits for people and wildlife alike.
Wildlife have the opportunity to survive and thrive as large, protected swaths of land are pieced together creating natural wildlife corridors. We envision protected lands stretching from Mount Diablo to the Altamont Hills in the north and to southernmost tip of the Diablo Range in Kern County.
For residents and visitors to our area, recreational trails, parks and preserves offer exceptional outdoor experiences.
On a clear day, when standing on the summit of Mount Diablo and looking around in a 360-degree circle, one can see 38 of California’s 58 counties. Mount Diablo offers one of the most expansive views found west of the Mississippi.
Moreover, an intact, protected network of wild lands includes watershed lands that ensure local water reserves are safeguarded, providing healthy and safe drinking water.