By: Leopold Conservation Award Program
Tim Koopmann is a third generation rancher who owns and operates an 850 acre cow-calf operation in Sunol. The Koopmanns’ ranch is an agricultural gem surrounded by development.
Tim’s effective management practices have improved the soil and wildlife populations on his land, but his dedication to the enhancement of water quality on and off of his ranch is truly exceptional. As a Watershed Resource Specialist for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), Tim manages over 40,000 acres of watershed lands. Tim’s talent for building partnerships to tackle environmental issues has produced significant results. For instance, he formed a team of 15 public agencies and agricultural organizations to develop a comprehensive watershed management and monitoring plan that has been recognized in California and internationally. Also, the Koopmanns have been integral in the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition, which was developed at their ranch in 2005. The Coalition brings together environmentalists, ranchers, and resource professionals from state and federal agencies to advocate for the preservation of working ranches.
Faced with encroaching development and the reality of selling or sub-dividing his ranch, Tim placed two conservation easements on his family’s ranch. He conserved a naturally occurring pond and the surrounding 31 acres of grassland in perpetuity for the California tiger salamander. He also conserved 107 acres in perpetuity as a result of an adjacent golf course. These easements allowed Tim and his family to pay their estate tax bill and, most importantly, allows them to continue their work on the preservation of the land and other natural resources for the benefit of future generations.
“Some people talk about conservation, species protection, and sustainable agriculture,” said Paul Banke, Alameda County Resource Conservation District, in his letter of recommendation. “Tim Koopmann gets it done. He has shown all of us that the environmental community and ranchers can work together and achieve good things.”