The Habitat

Animal Habitat
The Rancho Ventura Conservancy Trust provides habitat for many large and small mammals, insects, birds, and reptiles.

Rancho Ventura Conservation Trust is located in the beautiful Channel Islands region of California on a foot of a coastal stretch of the Santa Ynez Mountain system in-between the Ventura and Santa Clara River.  The biological, agricultural, visual and cultural resources on this land are very significant, and intrinsically valuable in many different ways. Through the efforts of the trust founders, fully 1612 acres of the Ventura Foothills are now permanently protected, in perpetuity, for the benefit of the land and for the appreciation and enjoyment of the public.

The Trust land includes several types of highly functioning ecosystems while remaining productive agricultural land. Habitat types found within the Trust are part of a Mediterranean-style biome and are included in an ecoregion known as coastal sage & chaparral.  The two dominant habitat types found on the trust are known as the “coastal sage scrub & chaparral” and “California coastal prairie.” The plants represented in the trust area are typical of the general area, and other physical determinates including soil type, slope and climate. These include lovely coast live oak forest, majestic sycamores and mulefat near the barrancas (drainage areas) and the rugged coastal sage scrub plant community and wildflower filled grassland.These habitat types, to the average Californian may seem common or even unremarkable; however they are highly important and increasingly rare and impacted. These they are under a very high threat of development in Southern California with only about 15% of the original habitat remaining according to the World Wildlife Fund.

The land is made up of one contiguous open space creating an uninterrupted wildlife corridor connecting all the way to the Los Padres National Forest. Low disturbance, lack of development, continuous maintenance of the wildlife corridor and proper land management and enhancement has allowed wildlife to thrive. This is highly significant because these habitats can support a very high amount of biodiversity as well as provides refuge for many threatened and endangered plant and animal species. State and Federally listed plants such as the Catalina Mariposa Lily, Plummer’s Baccharis have been documented on site. State and Federally Listed animals, especially birds have been documented on site. Western Burrowing Owls, Southern California Rufous-Crowned Sparrow, Northern Harrier as well as numerous other rare birds have all been documented or have a high probability of occurrence. Rare mammals such as Long-Eared Myotis, Pallid Bat and San Diego Desert Woodrat and reptiles such as San Diego and California Horned Lizards and Coastal Western Whiptail are present or have a high potential to occur.  Although very close to a metropolitan area, the wildlife and plants in the Ventura Foothills remain relatively isolated and protected. Ongoing efforts will be made to maintain and improve the land, increase and restore valuable habitat document and study the wildlife and eventually acquire more land in the Ventura Hillsides for permanent preservation.

Hollistic Ranch Management

In addition to pasture land, there are also 90 acres of avocado orchards, citrus trees and other seasonal row crops such as pumpkins and bee hives that produce honey.

There is a high value in the land because of what is has been for 220 years- a symbiotically functioning ecosystem that is also productive ranchland. Future guests will get a chance to personally experience this working landscape as both a fusion of agrotourism and ecotourism. The land is managed as-such to work in harmony with nature. Anywhere from 50-100 cattle are frequently moved around the 1522 acres of grazing pasture as a part of a strict holistic management policy known as “rotational grazing.” Rotational grazing works by maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship between the ecosystem and agricultural activities. Benefits to the ranch including providing better quality forage, more productive pasture, higher soil fertility levels, more stable production during drought, increased animal health. Advantages to the ecosystem include decreased erosion, increased biodiversity, reduced intensity of grazing, maintenance of protected areas, conservation of wildlife corridors.

In addition to pasture land, there are also 90 acres of avocado orchards, citrus trees and other seasonal row crops such as pumpkins and bee hives that produce honey. It is a hope of the Trust staff to one day have a small farm stand on site to be able to directly share our excellent produce with the community.

Scenic Resources

Background contains sweeping views of the Topa Topa cliffs in nearby Ojai.

The first things that guests will notice about the Trust land are the incredible sweeping vistas of the regional and local area. There are several ridgelines and high points that provide access to some of the best views in Ventura County. The scenic view sheds can be described as epic, unique, inspiring and iconic. On a clear day visitors will be able to see dramatic views of the region south and southwestward over the City of Ventura to the Channel Islands. The vast Oxnard Plain, Santa Monica Mountains and Point Mugu can be seen to the southeast.  Views northward include Sulphur Mountain in the foreground and the Topa Topa Mountains in the distance.

Cultural Resources

The iconic Two Trees landmark is the crown jewel and cultural identity of the City of Ventura.

The crown jewel of the Rancho Ventura Conservation Trust is the local iconic landmark- Two Trees. Situated on the very western edge of the property, Two Trees is highly significant as a local landmark as it is situated prominently and is visible from almost all parts of the City of Ventura. Guests should be assured that the Trust will do it’s utmost to preserve, maintain and protect Two Trees while providing opportunities to legally visit this treasured landmark to and enjoy the splendorous views.