Natural Resource Program

Committed to Environmental Stewardship Through Innovation & Reuse


The City of Santa Rosa purchased multiple properties, totaling approximately 1,500 acres in the Laguna de Santa Rosa. The primary purpose in purchasing the land was for agricultural reuse of the recycled water from the Laguna Treatment Plant. In addition to irrigation, each property has opportunities for enhancing natural resources in the Laguna de Santa Rosa, necessitating the implementation of a Natural Resource Program. 
Oak Trees on Brown Farm
The Natural Resource Program aims to balance the use of recycled water to grow food with the need to preserve and promote biodiversity in the Laguna. The four largest properties and some of the management activities are featured here.

Alpha Farm

 
Alpha Farm is a 429-acre property. It is leased to several agricultural producers who raise sheep and cattle, as well as farm hay. The farm has holding ponds that can be filled during the winter and spring to provide water for summer irrigation. Summer irrigation allows ranchers to keep the pasture green and grow multiple hay crops in a season. Roseland Creek crosses the property on its way to the confluence with the Laguna de Santa Rosa. Seasonal wetlands and valley oaks dot the landscape. Alpha Farm has a 90 acre wildlife area on its western border with the Laguna de Santa Rosa that receives no irrigation or farming. A number of special management projects have occurred in the Lower Alpha Natural Area as well as throughout the greater farm.

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Aerial View of Alpha Farm

Stone Farm

 
Stone Farm is 112 acres, separated into 5 separate fields. Approximately 80 acres is irrigated. It is currently leased to a dairy producer who pastures heifers and an organic fruit and vegetable producer. Both lessees use recycled water for their operations. Stone Farm, also known as the Miller Ranch, was purchased by the City of Santa Rosa in 1984.

The Sonoma County Historical Society researched this site and found it contained significant historical value. 
Aerial View of Stone Farm
In October 1988, Stone Farm structures received the designation of a historic landmark from the Cultural Heritage Board of the City of Santa Rosa. The farmhouse, most likely built in 1872, is an excellent example of the simplified Greek Revival (aka Homestead) style of architecture. In addition, the property contains two historic outbuildings. The large two-story barn has mortise and tenon joinery and square hand-forged nails, indicating early construction (prior to 1900). The smaller barn is of more recent construction (ca 1940) and is included as part of the farm complex named in the historic designation. In addition to its historical value Stone Farm is rich in natural resources.

Read More About Stone Farm's History (PDF)


Irwin Creek flows from the northeast corner of the property into the Laguna de Santa Rosa. The western edge of the property borders the Laguna. The western edge of Stone Farm borders the Laguna de Santa Rosa. This area is fenced to exclude livestock and is referred to as the Laguna Wetland Reserve. A number of special management projects have 
occurred in both non-farmed areas, as well as throughout the greater farm.

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Kelly Farm

 
Kelly Farm is a 397-acre property. The farm has a holding pond that can be filled during the winter and spring to provide water for summer irrigation. Summer irrigation allows two local dairy producers to grow multiple hay crops in a season. Duer Creek crosses the property, traveling toward its confluence with the Laguna de Santa Rosa. Seasonal wetlands and valley oaks dot the landscape. A wetlands creation project occurred in 1989, creating freshwater marsh habitat just above the Laguna de Santa Rosa annual flood plain. A number of special management projects have occurred in both non-farmed areas, as well as throughout the greater farm.

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Aerial View of Kelly Farm

Brown Farm

 
Brown Farm is a 486-acre property. The Regional Parks Rodota Trail bisects the northern area of the farm and hikers can enjoy views of Brown Farm between Petaluma Avenue in Sebastopol and Llano Road. The farm has a holding pond that can be filled during the winter and spring to provide water for summer irrigation. Summer irrigation allows several local dairy producers to grow multiple hay crops in a season. Gravenstein and Windmill Creeks cross the property, traveling toward their confluences with the Laguna de Santa Rosa. Seasonal wetlands and valley oaks dot the landscape. 
Aerial View of Brown Farm
Brown Farm has three non irrigated/farmed natural areas, all approximately 20 acres. The Brown Farm Valley Oak Restoration is located on the eastern border along the Llano Road frontage. The Brown Wildlife Area is located on the western end of the farm, bordering the Laguna de Santa Rosa. The Vernal Pool Natural Area is located on the northeastern area of the farm. A number of special management projects have occurred in both non-farmed areas, as well as throughout the greater farm.

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