For supporters of the Tri-Valley Conservancy, last week’s “Jeans and Jewels” dinner was an opportunity to reflect on the group’s 25 years of success — and a promise to keep pushing to preserve open space and agricultural land.

Over $150,000 was raised during the event, held Nov. 10 at Casa Real in Pleasanton. It will be used toward the continued protection of agricultural land, open space and wildlife; youth and nature activities; and to start new programs. About 200 people attended.

Founded in 1994, the Tri-Valley Conservancy was initially established to preserve the South Livermore Valley area, later expanding into Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon and Sunol. In the late 1800s, the Livermore Valley boasted over 50 wineries with over 5,000 acres of vineyards. By the mid-20th century, only six of those wineries and 1,500 acres remained.

Population growth in the 1980s and 1990s saw agricultural land swallowed up by housing, industries and other development. Open space was disappearing, taking with it indigenous wildlife and plants. Few protections were in place for their conservation.

Today, the Conservancy protects over 4,500 acres in over 100 properties with permanent conservation easements in the Tri-Valley. In addition, 8,000 more acres of land including orchards, vineyards, farms, trails, parklands and wildlife have been preserved through the development of specific land use plans.

“Let’s celebrate this organization’s work and resolve to commit ourselves to 25 more years of responsible stewardship of our land,” said U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, the night’s emcee and a member of the Conservancy advisory council.

TVC Board Chairman Ryan Callahan presented Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty with the 2019 Tri-Valley Conservancy Award and praised his commitment. Recently, Haggerty was instrumental in completing the Edward R. Campbell Bridge as the first individual major donor. When the bridge is finished next month, it will result in over 44 continuous trail miles, connecting 25,000 acres from Livermore to Fremont, for the Valley Trail connection project.

Haggerty noted that he still has one year left as supervisor until he retires. “Before that happens, I still want to reach my goal of 55,000 acres of open space, with 19,000 acres located in Alameda County, and the rest in San Joaquin and Santa Clara counties,” he said.

Callahan agreed. He added, “There is still a ton of work to do to guarantee that agricultural, range and heartlands are preserved and enhanced for the benefit of current and future generations.”

Other local leaders were also in attendance. Livermore Mayor John Marchand read a proclamation congratulating TVC members “for defending and protecting open space, supporting agricultural sustainability and engaging the next generation with the outdoors.”

Pleasanton Vice Mayor Karla Brown, who volunteers with TVC, was drawn to the organization early in her political career because of its dedication to protecting open space and ridgelands. “This is the perfect organization to protect our legacy,” she said.

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