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News: 08/01/2019

New leader for Sonoma Land Trust

Eamon O'Byrne
Eamon O’Byrne of The Nature Conservancy will become the next executive director of Sonoma Land Trust.

On Sept. 9, O’Byrne will succeed current executive director Dave Koehler, who is retiring.

For nearly two decades, O’Byrne has led complex conservation projects and educational programming at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association. He began working at TNC in 2008 as the California Chapter’s associate director of operations and then, in 2013, became director of TNC’s California Islands Program. There, he was responsible for managing the ecological restoration and recovery of the Conservancy’s 52,000-acre Santa Cruz Island Preserve in the archipelago widely known as the Galapagos of North America.

In 2015, O’Byrne and his team were presented the prestigious Endangered Species Recovery Champion Award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their contributions to the recovery of the endangered island fox – representing the fastest recovery of an endangered mammal in the history of the Endangered Species Act.

“Eamon has made major contributions to protecting California’s natural heritage and brings both Bay Area and worldwide connections and perspectives,” said Sonoma Land Trust board chair Allison Sanford. “We are so happy and proud to have him joining us for the next chapter of our history, and look forward to great things ahead.”

The Sonoma Land Trust has been active in Sonoma Valley since the 1970s, protecting acres and acres in the region by managing a network of Land Trust preserves that are critical to wildlife movement, developing conservation agreements with private landowners to link valuable wildlife corridor areas on both sides of the valley, and expanding state and county parks.

The Land Trust has also taken a pivotal roll in planning for the future of the 900-plus acre Sonoma Developmental Center in Glen Ellen, which officially closed its doors at the end of 2018.

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