One of the many ways that Point Blue Conservation Science helps TKREF is through data collection and interpretation. Point Blue’s Rangeland Monitoring Network (RMN) helps us keep track of the state of the ranch by tracking soil bulk density, organic carbon, and water infiltration, and plant and bird diversity and abundance. These data are used by our team to help craft our annual land management plan and are also made publically available on the tomkatranch.org website where it can be viewed, shared, and hopefully spur conversation and further research.
Soil Carbon Challenge — We are part of the soil carbon challenge and host and consult with Peter Donovan of the Soil Carbon Coalition. The Soil Carbon Challenge measures soil carbon change with permanent plots, field sampling, and elemental analysis (CN analyzer). We have three dedicated plots on our ranch.
Land & Livestock Projects
Grazing & Land Management
Savory Institute Events — We host and sponsor Savory Institute events. The Savory Institute promotes large-scale restoration of the world’s grasslands through holistic management.
Holistic Management International — We invite and sponsor Holistic Management International events. HMI's mission is to educate people to manage land for a sustainable future.
Potrero Nuevo Farm — In the Spring of 2013, Bill Laven of Potrero Nuevo Farm in Half Moon Bay approached us about grazing our cattle on the hills next to his farm. He was hoping to restore the land to a healthier state using our cattle as land management tools.
Root Down Farm — In the spring of 2014, we were invited to lease and mob-graze several pastures on Root Down Farm in Pescadero. The pastures where previously sewn with a cover crop, allowed to grow-out, and grazed by our finishing herd. Our cattle, intensely grazed in small paddocks, benefited the fields by adding input and creating a carpet of protective and compostable material in their wake. We in return got some very happy and fat cattle.
La Milpa — We currently have a test plot of land planted with cover crop we call La Milpa. Approximately one acre, La Milpa was planted in 2011 on an area of land determined to be damaged and unproductive. A multi-purpose crop mix was planted to see if the soil conditions could be improved. It is allowed to grow to a certain height before our cattle are introduced, which are then followed by Early Bird Ranch laying hens in a stacked agriculture, multi-species grazing model.
STRAW Project — As part of our landscape restoration agenda, we reached out to Point Blue's STRAW Project professionals to help us rehabilitate, expand and improve one of the riparian areas of our ranch. Watch the video
Cape Ivy Removal — As another part of our landscape restoration and improvement we initiated a project to remove cape ivy from a portion of the Honsinger Creek. Cape Ivy is a particularly evasive and harmful plant originally imported from South Africa. The vines are now pervasive in areas along the West Coast of the United States and tend to completely overwhelm and choke out native species in coastal creek areas.
CEMAR — We work closely with staff members from the Center for Ecosystem Management And Restoration to help us monitor and develop a water management plan.
NRCS— This year Early Bird Ranch, in cooperation with TomKat Ranch and the NRCS, will be installing a roof-top rainwater capture system as part of its efforts to increase water efficiency. The system will capture approximately 500,000 gallons of water each year for Early Bird's poultry and pigs. Additionally, the captured rainwater will provide irrigation water for the planting of native trees and agricultural tree-crops on Early Bird's pastures that will provide increased revenue, shade and wind protection for Early Bird's animals, and valuable habitat for wildlife.
Grassland Bird Monitoring/Bird Banding
Point Blue— As part of an ongoing project Mel Preston of Point Blue is continuously monitoring soil, vegetation, and birds across the ranch.
SYMBI Biological— Symbi Biological serves as TomKat Ranch's research and development arm. Through its work in compost, aquaponics, sustainable proteins, and applied soil science, Symbi develops and tests truly innovative solutions to sustainable agriculture's biggest hurdles.
Gallop Ventures— Gallop Ventures empowers individuals, groups, and teams through on-the-ground interactions with horses. Drawing upon the innate sensibilities of horses, we explore important aspects of communication, goal setting, teamwork, and leadership with the ultimate goal of creating a sense of connection that inspires action to make a positive difference in the world.
Part of our values involve reaching out to the community to help promote innovative, out-of-the box, thinking and to share the results with others. By doing so we support our community – schools, institutions, and people – and are open to input and help in return.
Our on-going community projects will be listed shortly.