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November 15, 2016 > Park District purchases almost 400 acres in East Contra Costa County

Park District purchases almost 400 acres in East Contra Costa County

Submitted By Carolyn Jones

East Bay Regional Park District board of directors voted 7-0 last week to purchase two parcels totaling 390 acres to expand Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch and Vasco Hills Regional Preserve near Byron.

The Black Diamond property is a 191-acre parcel that will complete the northern gateway and entrance to the park, and bring the parkÕs total acreage to 8,482. The Park District is purchasing the property, a former ranch once owned by the Arata and then Moller families, from the Antioch Unified School District for its appraised fair-market value, $306,000. It will be land-banked until the Black Diamond Mines land-use plan is updated.

Acquisition funding is from a grant from the State Department of Parks and Recreation Habitat Conservation Fund, from Measures AA and WW, and from proceeds from the sale of a property near Anderson (Shasta County) that was donated to the Park District in 1970.

The second purchase is 199 acres that the Park District is purchasing for $1.5 million, its appraised fair-market value, from the Coehlo Machado family. The funds will come from the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy (using grants from Proposition 84 and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceÕs endangered species conservation fund), Contra Costa County and NextEra Conservation.

With its lush rolling hills and oak woodlands, the property is prime habitat for native species, including many which are threatened and endangered, and is part of an important wildlife corridor that stretches from Antioch to Livermore. Vasco Road bisects the property but a tunnel underpass allows for passage from one side to the other, and may be used to accommodate hikers, bicyclists and equestrians as part of a regional trail network sometime in the future.

The property will expand the boundaries of Vasco Hills Regional Preserve as well as Byron Vernal Pools Regional Preserve. It will be land-banked until the Vasco Hills land use plan is completed. Maps and more information is available at: http://bit.ly/2e3xiOJ

Please contact Carolyn Jones, Public Information Supervisor, for questions or additional information: (510) 544-2217, cjones@ebparks.org

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