Save Mount Diablo

Preserve - Defend - Restore - Enjoy

aka SMD   |   Walnut Creek, CA   |  https://www.savemountdiablo.org

Mission

Our mission is to forever preserve the remaining natural lands on and around Mount Diablo, and to connect Mount Diablo to the rest of the Diablo Range. We achieve our mission through a conservation approach that integrates perpetual land preservation, advocacy, stewardship, land use planning, and education programs. We work to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, watersheds, and connection to the Diablo Range through land acquisition and preservation strategies designed to protect the mountain’s natural beauty, biological diversity, and historical and agricultural heritage; enhance our area’s quality of life; and provide recreational opportunities consistent with the protection of natural resources

Ruling year info

1980

Executive Director

Edward (Ted) S. Clement Jr.

Main address

1901 Olympic Blvd Suite 320

Walnut Creek, CA 94596 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

94-2681735

NTEE code info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Land Resources Conservation (C34)

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

BioBlitz

In short, a BioBlitz is a resource survey – a race against time to see how many species of plants, animals, microbes, fungi, and other organisms can be accounted for in a specific geographic area. BioBlitz events bring together scientists, naturalists, volunteers, and other community members to document the spectrum of wildlife present in our community, contributing to an improved understanding of local natural resources.

Hosted as a 24-hour event, the purpose of Save Mount Diablo’s BioBlitz is to provide a snapshot of biodiversity. It helps to establish important baseline information on species, which often guides stewardship and land management decisions. For example, the event has resulted in rerouting a trail away from newly discovered rare plants, targeting non-native weeds in sensitive resource areas and contributing rare wildlife occurrence records to regional databases, thereby affecting development proposals.

Cataloguing the species found will update past records and provide an ecological snapshot of each BioBlitz site for agency staff. In the time of climate change, these efforts help establish baselines by which change can be measured. Our investigation will also provide insight into species that may need continued monitoring or directed management in the future.

Population(s) Served
Academics
Adults

At its simplest, stewardship means managing property. For Save Mount Diablo (SMD), stewardship means managing, protecting, and celebrating the land.

Each of our properties requires care. A newly-acquired property may need extensive cleanup-old deteriorating fencing is cleared away, and any debris that might have accumulated on the property is removed, returning the land to its natural state. In some cases, fencing is added to protect creeks and ponds to help restore natural habitat.

Members of our all-volunteer Stewardship Committee care for SMD acquisitions, from the smallest (a few acres) to the largest (more than one thousand acres). For some larger projects, we invite other volunteers to come out and help. In addition to basic land management, SMD stewards lead hikes through our properties for interested members of the public.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Far more land is saved through advocacy than through direct acquisition. We monitor more than 50 agency agendas each week and respond to 50-60 development applications every year.

Save Mount Diablo is active in the land use planning arena, monitoring development proposals that affect open space around Mount Diablo and working with neighborhood groups and other organizations. We respond to everything from cell tower applications to large subdivision projects. We take a pragmatic approach; some projects we strive to stop, some we strive to improve, always seeking public benefit and open space preservation.

For example: Save Mount Diablo has been a key player in striking the balance between economic growth, affordable housing, and open space preservation. The Concord Naval Weapons Station Reuse Plan, for example, which Save Mount Diablo worked on as part of the Community Coalition for a Sustainable Concord, ultimately resulted in 67% of the 5,000 acre area being preserved as parks and open space.

The Sand Creek Focus Area, four square miles in the southern part of Antioch, is the largest continuous stretch of undeveloped land that remains in the city. Right now there are about 2,900 houses proposed or already approved here on about 900 acres. Save Mount Diablo is engaged in the environmental review process for these projects, defends the important Sand Creek habitat corridor, and is working to maintain important connections between protected open space.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Discover Diablo is Save Mount Diablo's new free public hike series, offering an annual schedule of guided walks, hikes and interpretive tours open to any and all trail blazers. Generously sponsored by the Shell Martinez Refinery, Discover Diablo offers two events per month for the entire year - one taking place and focusing on a Save Mount Diablo property and one designed for families on other public parks. Hosted by Save Mount Diablo, the new Discover Diablo program seeks to build awareness of local land conservation efforts and to convey the importance of protecting open space for habitat and recreation. With the launch of Discover Diablo, we intend to reach new audiences, build our membership base of adventurers, explorers and outdoor enthusiasts, and spark a passion for the Diablo Range.

To honor Save Mount Diablo's mission, we aim to display both our current property holdings as well as those we have helped protect over the years. Hosting monthly hikes is an effective way to engage and grow communities invested in the sustainability of local open space. SMD properties aren't usually open to the public, so these are rare opportunities.
To complete the land conservation picture in the Diablo Range and pay homage to collaborating agencies, we also host monthly outings on Mount Diablo State Park, East Bay Regional Park District, and Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation lands. Save Mount Diablo's new hike series, Discover Diablo, ties these outings together by offering an annual schedule of free public hikes to explore these diverse lands - with the added bonus of being guided by staff and experienced volunteer hike leaders.

We invite you to join us in exploring the Bay Area's beautiful wild lands and open spaces.

Population(s) Served
Adults

A Conservation Easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a qualified organization, such as a land trust like Save Mount Diablo, which restricts activities on the land to protect its conservation values forever.

Now, in addition to our traditional approach, we also sell some lands to private buyers subject to permanent Conservation Easements, which we will hold, and then utilize the revenue to advance our work. This method allows us to protect properties with important conservation values (wildlife habitat, water resources, scenic vistas, agricultural resources, etc.) that may not be well suited additions to a government park because of their size, location or other factors. We may also acquire conservation easements on properties with conservation values that are still privately owned. This approach allows individuals to continue to live on and manage their land while protecting it from development forever.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Our goal is to expand existing preserved lands and connect them with wildlife and recreational corridors.

Save Mount Diablo has developed and pursued a systematic approach to land acquisition. One of our highest acquisition priority areas includes the wildlife corridors surrounding and including the Marsh Creek-Morgan Territory region, a 60-mile circle of open space east of Diablo's peaks.

Save Mount Diablo usually completes several acquisition projects each year and works with our agency allies on others, some projects spanning multiple years. Due to the State's economic situation, state park land acquisitions are currently stalled. At the same time, the downturn in the economy a few years ago resulted in more properties being on the market at lower prices. Save Mount Diablo continues to evaluate and pursue acquisition projects for preservation and, ideally, future additions to public parks.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Mary Bowerman Science and Research (MBSR) Program provides small grants, especially to students, for research projects on Save Mount Diablo properties and the network of protected lands in the Mount Diablo region. Grants of up to $1,000 are awarded annually to applicants who are conducting studies that will enhance the ecological understanding of the region and inform land management and conservation practices.

Population(s) Served
Academics
Adults

A Conservation Collaboration Agreement has three basic parts:

First, the staff of SMD provide in-class educational presentations regarding land conservation of the Mount Diablo area to the participating students and also to the employees at their office.

Second, SMD staff teach and lead the participating students and employees in an outdoor, experiential environmental service project at one of SMD’s conserved properties which also includes a mini solo on the land for each participant where they do a contemplative journal writing exercise about nature.

Finally, in an act of educational and participatory philanthropy, the business will provide SMD memberships for all of its employees while the students will raise funds so that they can become members of SMD through SMD’s youth membership program.

Population(s) Served
Students
Adults

Where we work

Accreditations

Accredited Land Trust 2018

Accredited Land Trust 2019

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Children and youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We missed our volunteers this year. Despite the pandemic, some people were still able to help us out. A total of 278 volunteers donated 2,874 hours across all our programs.

Total number of volunteer hours contributed to the organization

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Age groups

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We missed our volunteers this year. Despite the pandemic, some people were still able to help us out. A total of 278 volunteers donated 2,874 hours across all our programs.

Number of free hikes hosted

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Age groups

Related Program

Discover Diablo Free Public Hike Series

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

24 hikes were scheduled but, because of COVID, we were only able to lead 6 hikes when restrictions allowed.

Number of hikers on free public hikes

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Discover Diablo Free Public Hike Series

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

24 hikes were scheduled but, because of COVID, we were only able to lead 6 hikes when restrictions allowed.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Save Mount Diablo's mission is to preserve Mount Diablo's peaks, surrounding foothills and watersheds through land acquisition and preservation strategies designed to protect the mountain's natural beauty, biological diversity and historic and agricultural heritage; enhance our area's quality of life; and provide recreational opportunities consistent with protection of natural resources.

Land Acquisition and Preservation Goals – Roughly 70,000 acres of land in and around Mount Diablo are at risk of being lost to development forever. Save Mount Diablo's vision is to permanently preserve land with high conservation values within our area of interest, which is bounded by Suisun Bay and the Delta to the north, the San Ramon Valley to the west, the Livermore Valley to the south and through the Altamont Pass. We aim to expand and connect existing preserved lands with wildlife, scenic and recreational corridors. One of our highest acquisition priority areas includes the wildlife corridors surrounding and including the Marsh Creek-Morgan Territory region, a 60-mile circle of open space east of Diablo's peaks.

Advocacy, Land Use Planning and Public Policy Goals – When land has high conservation value and is threatened, but cannot be preserved through acquisition, we strive to defend it using strategies for land-use planning and advocacy. We aspire to create beneficial policy at the local, regional, state and federal level that enhances land protection and climate change adaptation.

Stewardship Goals – After Save Mount Diablo acquires land in order to turn it over to a park agency or preserve it through a conservation easement, we endeavor to restore any degraded habitat and to protect natural, agricultural and cultural resources. Our objective, simply stated, is to manage the properties in our care for the benefit of wildlife and people, now and well into the future.

Public Education and Communication Goals –- Everyone benefits from being outdoors, and good stewardship of land grows when people directly connect with nature, form a relationship with it, and then want to take care of it. Save Mount Diablo seeks to build connections between people, the land and our organization in order to protect open space in the Mount Diablo area for generations to come. We also aim to inspire communities adjacent to the Mount Diablo area to preserve their surroundings.

Land Acquisition and Preservation Strategies – Save Mount Diablo has developed and pursued a systematic approach to land acquisition. We collaborate with our partners to increase the amount of permanently preserved land with high conservation values within our area of interest. We partner with landowners to preserve their property and to ensure that they receive fair treatment in any transaction aimed at preserving open space. And, we work closely with the park agencies in the area on natural resource issues and long range planning for the entire Mount Diablo region. In the near term, we are focused on expanding the use of conservation easements, through our Conservation Buyer Program, to make a lasting difference in the amount of protected land before it is lost to development forever.

Advocacy, Land Use Planning and Public Policy Strategies – We use land- use planning, policy and advocacy strategies to defend threatened land until it can be permanently preserved. As part of this effort we monitor more than 50 planning commission agendas each week and respond to 50-60 development applications every year, ranging from cell tower applications to large subdivision projects. We also foster relationships across stakeholder groups and conservation organizations and work to build and sustain a broad coalition of supporters, often offering technical advice to community and neighborhood groups regarding preservation of natural lands.

Stewardship Strategies – Acquisition of land is just the first critical step in protecting Mount Diablo's open spaces and natural treasures. Once a property has been acquired, Save Mount Diablo ensures that the land receives the continual attention and care it needs to thrive. To meet these objectives, we train and then lead teams of volunteers to restore degraded streams and terrain, remove debris, monitor plantings, and build and maintain infrastructure and trails. We also foster relationships with partnering landowners, agencies and organizations and provide opportunities for public hikes and other outdoor discoveries on Save Mount Diablo's properties.

Public Education and Communication Goals –-Save Mount Diablo encourages recreation and public enjoyment of Mount Diablo's park lands, consistent with the protection of their natural resources. We educate the public regarding threats to the mountain's flora, fauna, and rugged beauty, and to the history and heritage of the mountain and its surrounding foothills. We deliver enjoyable educational outreach and experiences through volunteer projects, educational programs, initiatives with schools and other partners through our Conservation Collaboration Agreement program, free pubic hikes, research, and other events. We also aim to inspire communities adjacent to the Mount Diablo area to preserve their surroundings through education and outreach programs.

Save Mount Diablo's conservation work is built on public support and sound scientific principles. We base our work on the values of respecting the land, collaborating with others, empowering citizens, and balancing economic growth and livable communities.

Our Board of Directors and staff work effectively to protect and restore Mount Diablo's lands, and are supported by numerous individual donors, local businesses, corporations and foundations. In addition to our staff, our dedicated volunteers are central to our ability to accomplish our mission. Each year we engage hundreds of volunteers who contribute more than 15,000 hours of work.

Equally important is our broad network of strong partnerships. Since its founding, Save Mount Diablo has fostered community coalitions and collaborative relationships among agencies and organizations, business and corporate leaders, labor unions, and community leaders, as well as a wide cross section of local residents.

Save Mount Diablo earned distinctive recognition in 2016 when it was awarded national accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. With this honor, Save Mount Diablo joined land trusts nationwide that meet standards for excellence, uphold the public trust, and ensure that their conservation efforts are permanent.

Save Mount Diablo was further honored when Assemblywoman Catharine Baker named us as Assembly District 16 Nonprofit of the Year in California in 2016. Among recipients statewide, Save Mount Diablo was the only land trust chosen for the award.

As a leading force in land conservation in northern California's East Bay region for almost five decades, Save Mount Diablo and its partners have protected more than 110,000 acres on and around Mount Diablo. From a single park in 1971, today more than forty parks and preserves are found on and around Mount Diablo.
Save Mount Diablo completes several acquisition projects each year and works with our agency allies on others. Some projects span years. A good example is our Chaparral Spring acquisition -- the most critical parcel in creating a corridor of protected lands from Mount Diablo State Park to Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve. Save Mount Diablo purchased the 333-acre property in 1994 and 15 years later, with a grant from the Coastal Conservancy, transferred it to East Bay Regional Park District for long term management. Save Mount Diablo continues to evaluate and pursue acquisition projects for future addition to public lands.
Through its Land Use Planning and Advocacy work, Save Mount Diablo has been a key player in striking the balance between economic growth, affordable housing, and open space preservation. The Concord Naval Weapons Station Reuse Plan, for example, which Save Mount Diablo worked on as part of the Community Coalition, ultimately resulted in a plan of 67% of the 5,000 acre area to be preserved as parks and open space. Currently, as one of many efforts, we are championing a mix of open space, trails, housing and job centers for the Sand Creek Focus Area outside of Antioch, which is proposed for dense development, as well as protecting the beautiful Tassajara Valley and other sensitive areas.
Save Mount Diablo's stewardship work has transformed hundreds of acres into wildlife havens for rare species and created innumerable recreational opportunities for local communities. In 2016 alone, for example, Save Mount Diablo engaged 650 volunteers who worked more than 5,000 hours on projects ranging from storm damage cleanup to seeding native grasses and weeding young plantings of oak trees. As new properties and easements come under our care, stewardship will continue to be a key element in the future health of our natural areas.
Save Mount Diablo's recreation and education programs have introduced thousands of Bay Area residents and visitors to the natural wonders of Mount Diablo. Our free guided hikes program, known as Discover Diablo, gives the public an opportunity to explore the Diablo wild lands with expert leaders, and our new Conservation Collaboration Agreement Program, an experiential environmental education initiative, fosters an intimate bond between students and the natural world. Save Mount Diablo has recently joined with allies to help plan the Marsh Creek Corridor Multi-Use trail, a non-motorized, 15-mile path that will eventually extend from east Contra Costa County to the Delta.

Financials

Save Mount Diablo
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Save Mount Diablo

Board of directors
as of 12/28/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jim Felton

Malcolm Sproul

Scott Hein

Claudia Hein

John Gallagher

Burt Bassler

Bob Marx

Liz Harvey

Robert Phelps

Frank Martens

Margaret Kruse

Keith Alley

Achillius Tiu

Phil O'Loane

Giselle Jurkanin

Carol Lane

Joe Garaventa

Garrett Girvan

Jim Felton

Jeff Stone

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/28/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data