Friday, July 29, 2005

Rush Ranch to receive $500,000 in improvements - Rush Ranch is a 2,070-acre open space area located in Suisun Marsh a few miles south of Suisun City

Article Last Updated: Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 - 11:10:04 pm PDT

Rush Ranch to receive $500,000 in improvements

By Barry Eberling

- Rush Ranch is poised to get about $500,000 in improvements to help with its role as part of the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Regional Reserve.

The immediate goal is to build a new caretaker's house, classroom and small laboratory at the ranch. That will give researchers a place to stay and do their work.

Rush Ranch is a 2,070-acre open space area located in Suisun Marsh a few miles south of Suisun City on Grizzly Island Road. The Solano Land Trust bought the property in 1988.

Residents can go there, learn about the area in a visitors center and hike trails. Trails lead along marsh sloughs and through cattle grazing land to the top of Suisun Hill.

The ranch received the national estuarine reserve designation in 2003. Researchers use the site as part of a nationwide effort to monitor the health of coastal habitats.

Being designated as a reserve made the ranch eligible for federal money. The $500,000 grant is going toward improvements to help researchers do their job.

"They want a little bit of office space and a lab," said Marilyn Farley, Solano Land Trust executive director. "If they bring in specimens, they might want to put them on a counter and have a sink to wash up in. This isn't going to be a high-tech lab, it's going to be a field lab."

Meanwhile, the Land Trust will replace the old ranch house with a new one. This is where a caretaker lives on the preserve.

The Solano Land Trust Board on Tuesday approved paying Arc Inc. Architects $70,000 to design the building or buildings. Since the ranch is off the electric grid, the design could incorporate such things as solar and wind power.

New structures will likely be in a ranch style, Farley said. Construction could begin next year, she said.

The existing visitors center, barn, corrals, sheds and old blacksmith's shop will remain, she said.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646 Ext. 232 or at

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