Tejon Ranch - An Audubon Victory by Audubon California

Audubon California, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Endangered Habitats League, and the Planning and Conservation League joined forces in 2008 to complete an agreement that protects 90% of Southern California’s Tejon Ranch. This historic deal to protect one of California’s oldest, largest, and most biologically significant private ranches represents a major conservation victory, not least because it includes the Tehachapi Oaks Important Bird Area and a significant expanse of the Antelope Valley Important Bird Area.

Stretching across 270,000 acres, Tejon Ranch – which is the state’s biggest piece of private property – has long been considered one of California’s last best chances for conserving precious wild habitat. The ranch also provides a cross-section of Central and Southern California landscapes, where the Mojave Desert, Sierra Nevada, Great Central Valley, and California South Coast ecoregions meet in a spectacular landscape that rises from desert floor to 7,000-foot mountain peaks.

“If you look at a map of California, you can see just how big a victory this is for Californians,” said Graham Chisholm, conservation director for Audubon California. “The protected area is immense – 375 square miles – and the only place in North America where four distinct ecological zones meet on one property.”


The Tejon pact is especially important to Audubon because the ranch provides crucial habitat for the endangered California Condor – a bird whose survival depends on wide-open territory and undeveloped ridges for foraging. “It’s an important stronghold,” says Gary Langham, Audubon California’s Director of Bird Conservation. “They need those big open spaces to be a normal Condor. Condors can fly 100 miles a day. There’s not a lot of places they can go 100 miles without encountering development.”

Tejon Ranch is also home to more than two dozen state and federally listed plant and animal species and up to 20 Audubon WatchList Species. The Tehachapi Oaks IBA, wholly within the Ranch, supports one of the largest and most diverse oak woodlands in the state. The massive valley oaks provide nesting habitat for at least 10% of the state’s breeding population of Purple Martin, the largest breeding population in the state. Tehachapi Oaks is also home to numerous oak-dependent species like the California Spotted Owl and Golden Eagle, among others.

The Antelope Valley IBA, partially within the ranch, is a network of private lands and small nature reserves, where over 1% of the global population of Long-billed Curlew and Mountain Plover winter and over 250 species have been documented. Desert scrub, grasslands, and agricultural fields provide habitat for over 10 of California’s sensitive bird species including Le Conte’s Thrasher.

The deal protects the largest intact habitats in Antelope Valley, including magnificent stands of old Joshua trees, hill slopes of wildflowers and grasslands with stands of native grass. This agreement opens new opportunities for Californians to enjoy this tremendous landscape firsthand and ensures secure long-term funding for land management and restoration with the newly created Tejon Ranch Conservancy.

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Audubon California – Tejon Ranch

Tejon Ranch Company

Tejon Ranch Conservancy

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