The Sea Ranch Nonhuman Residents Project

“A half-century ago a visionary developer and a group of like-minded architects and designers conceived a grand experiment called ‘The Sea Ranch.’ Their challenge was to demonstrate that people can inhabit a beautiful and fragile land located along a wild stretch of the California coast without destroying it.” (TSRA website, emphasis mine)

Why Sea Ranch Matters Now

The Sea Ranch Needs a Sustainability Study

Monarch Butterfly Habitat Needs Protection

Sea Ranch Tree Removal Process Needs Review

Speed Barriers Needed on Leeward

Sustainable Landscape Policies Needed

How Visitors to Sea Ranch Can Help

Who to Contact to Express Concern

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Afternoon at #thesearanch #searanch

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In one week, I will have been living and working at The Sea Ranch for a full year. My first post from here was of the sheep who’d broken free and were enjoying the golf course. It was fun. My blinders were securely in place. This year, the video is different, and my blinders are completely gone. (This video is part of the process of using sheep as tools—those are mothers trying to get to their young. The young ones surround her, try to protect her. That’s how it’s handled; it’s just business. They count on the fact that most people don’t see this.) . . .Almost every day for a year I've walked the trails at The Sea Ranch; I’m walking all the streets now. The difference in habitat for other animals between this time last year and now is stunning. The total amount of other animals’ homes lost in the last few months is obscene, much of it for views and “neatness.” The Sea Ranch Association decided the drought and some snags were a very good excuse to cut big and leave thousands of other-than-human animals homeless. To improve those views; to widen those paths through other animals’ homes so humans are comfortable walking through; to let in some sunlight for flowers by tearing out other animals homes and shelter. (Raccoons and bats are the primary targets–the rest of the other animals who live here are useful props. The weak, skinny bobcat I saw staring into my window lethargically for a full minute also seemed to be impacted.) . . I have seen only a handful of mostly white mortgage holders walk these trails. Most have abandoned them and all of the commons to the “renters" and the public, who they openly despise. . The idea of The Sea Ranch is dead. There is now only a housing development run by human animals that is slowly (and sometimes not so slowly) decimating all the other animals’ homes. . Dead ideas are doing enough damage. There is a new narrative coming out of The Sea Ranch. #searanch #thesearanch #rsa_rural_ #rsa_naturepics #rsa_nature #naturelovers #createcommune #quest_4_magic #liveoutdoors #fiftyshades_of_nature #tv_allnature #ww_nature_miracles #nature_magic_ #picturetokeep_nature #natureonly #nature_perfection #westcoast_exposures #wildcalifornia

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#LivingLightlyontheLand? #SR1of7 I came to Sea Ranch to heal. The plan was to move on after a month and continue developing projects based on 19 months of rural cultures research from which I’d just emerged. Instead, I found that the Sea Ranch culture I experienced (after the beauty of the place had its way with me) had more rural lessons to teach. I chose to live in Sea Ranch for at least a year to learn and share those lessons. I imagined the sharp, rich contrasts between the two rural cultures: the deep-red Cave Junction culture in relation with the deep-blue Sea Ranch culture. So much to learn from that intersection! Four months and seven vacation rentals later, I was finally able to move my Sparkles, my things, and my work into my current home. I have lived and worked in Sea Ranch since June 7, 2018. When most come to Sea Ranch for the first time, from the city (or the ‘burbs), the green and gold and trees and flowers and sea and other animals all seem incredibly abundant, lush, and vital. And they are those things, especially in contrast to most urban and suburban worlds. After a full year living here, though, I have seen the before and after of the excessive and unnecessary cutting this year. I have seen the (literally dozens of) displaced rabbits looking for shelter under broken out trees. I have seen deer looking for shelter where there were shrubs around trees that were cut out. I have seen seriously stressed quail and rabbits trying to reach separated family members when electric fences went up and blocked their paths home. I have seen a very skinny, lethargic bobcat staring into the window. I walk at night, and the other animals I usually meet on my walks are not there anymore. What I’ve seen first-hand in Sea Ranch—some of which I’ve documented here–is anything but living “Lightly on the Land.” Living that ethic requires a democratic human orientation, one that shares power, even with nonhuman neighbors. It also means not letting fear drive decisions. Sea Ranch mortgage-holders can make both happen. They can make “Living Lightly on the Land” more than an empty slogan to sell rentals. #thesearanch #searanch #landscapedesign #thiscanchange

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Fun Sea Ranch facts! 🌊🐏🦉🐦🦆🦎🐢🦅🦃🦡🦇🐀🦌🐎🦊🦝🦀🦞🐌🐜🐝🐞🦗🕷🐚🐳🐡🐠🦋🐛(from The Sea Ranch Association website) 5200: The number of acres SR occupies 3500: The portion of acres for human habitat 1750: The portion of that for common space 1500: The number of forest acres preserved 2310: The number of individual human building sites 10+: The miles of SR coastline 40+: The miles of private SR roads cutting through nonhuman animals' habitat 1 : The number of TSRA signs along those 40+ miles devoted to protecting nonhuman residents from (often speeding) human residents, visitors, and service people. . . Biologist Jacob Hill's research shows that roads (1) increase nonhuman animal mortality (death), (2) force the population into decline, (3) fragment and alter habitat, (4) disrupt and decrease access to habitat, and (5) pollute habitat with noise, chemical, and light pollution. (EnvironmentalScience.org) . . Biologist Steven Brady (2017) recently found that "roads can cause rapid evolutionary change in wild populations of plants and animals." (Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 15(2): 91-98.) . . Susan Clark of The Sea Ranch Association writes that "The [Sea Ranch] community has become world-renowned for its sensitivity to and respect for the environment around [sic] it." (The Sea Ranch Association website) In actuality, the national and international narrative constructed by Clark and TSRA is not reflective of current practices. What is accurate is that this community continues to profit–economically, socially, and culturally–from an ethic–"Live Lightly on the Land"–that has long been abandoned in practice. And its nonhuman residents are paying the price. That can change.💚 #LivingLightlyontheLand? #SR2of7 #searanch #thesearanch #thiscanchange

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Fun Sea Ranch Design facts! 🐏 . 1000s: the number of SR Design Committee rules and permutations concerned with human habitat/architecture (see comments below, Sea Ranch Design Manual) . ZERO: the number of TSRA committees devoted to protecting SR nonhuman habitat. . ZERO: the number of rules and permutations devoted to protecting SR nonhuman habitat. . 1,000,000.00s: dollar valuation of human habitat (architecture) 1,000,000.00s: dollar valuation of the land proper . ZERO: dollar valuation of SR nonhuman inhabitants . ZERO: dollar valuation of SR nonhuman inhabitants’ habitat . TWO: restrictions on human landscape design of nonhuman habitat: no “perimeter fences and limit[ed] non-indigenous plants.” (Sea Ranch Wiki.) SR borrowers are free to destroy nonhuman habitat at will on their patch of property. . . Dr Hugh Finn (whose research focuses on regulatory frameworks for human activities that harm wild animals) shows that without DEVOTED attention, harms to nonhuman neighbors is far from abstract: “Wildlife die in ways that are physically painful and psychologically distressing. Animals will also suffer physical injuries and other pathological conditions that may persist for days or months as they try to survive in cleared areas or other environments to which they are displaced.” . . . . TSRA website: "A half-century ago a visionary developer and a group of like-minded architects and designers conceived a grand experiment called ‘The Sea Ranch.’ Their challenge was to demonstrate that people can inhabit a beautiful and FRAGILE land located along a wild stretch of the California coast WITHOUT DESTROYING IT." (emphasis mine) . . . In actuality, more than 50 years later, the national and international narrative constructed by The Sea Ranch Association is not reflective of current practices. What is accurate is that the SR community continues to profit–economically, socially, and culturally–from an ethic–"Live Lightly on the Land"–that has long been abandoned in practice or practical consideration. And its nonhuman residents are paying the price. That can change. 💚 . . #LivingLightlyontheLand? #SR3of7 #searanch #thesearanch #thiscanchange

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#SR5of7 SR Grassworlds SR design literature refers to the prairies it claims as “meadows”: “To most Sea Ranchers, a meadow is a grassy expanse with wildflowers, some shrubs, and occasional trees, providing broad outlooks from houses and habitats for abundant wildlife. …Most members prefer meadows that are managed to preserve or achieve those characteristics.” . “Meadows” in this case, are human-created entities to be “managed” by SR borrowers, without guidelines or limits to destruction of nonhuman habitiat. . Sea Ranch PRAIRIES are not just a name: “The prairie is a community. It is not just a landscape or the name of an area on a map [like SR “meadows”], but a dynamic alliance of living plants, animals, birds, insects, reptiles, and microorganisms, all depending upon each other.” (Paul Gruchow, drylands conservationist) . At SR, managing their little patch of prairie is left to borrowers, who continually cut to “lawn”: “Lawns—those myopically obsessive urban, suburban, and INCREASINGLY RURAL MONOCULTURE eyesores …displace native ecosystems at a rate between 5000 and 385,000 acres per day.” (J. Crumpler, drylands ecologist) . #Lawns are all over #TheSeaRanch. SR nonhuman residents need the clean water created by diverse prairies: “Prairies matter because of their immense root systems; dense, sprawling, complex, biological systems that store ONE THIRD of the world’s carbon and subsequently clean our future water." (Grunchow) . TSRA’s management practices have shifted significantly since sale of The Sea Ranch Lodge to a TECH INVESTMENT GROUP. The question now is: “Will Sea Ranch bend its preservation stance to expand the Lodge?” (Globestreet.com) . The Sea Ranch Association has already bent it’s stance on preservation, and it is time for SR borrowers to respond: “Sustaining The Sea Ranch ecology and experience requires continual study and an understanding of the threats to natural resources. Climate change, drought, pathogen spread, CHANGING MANAGEMENT PRACTICES, logging activities, natural disasters, and more, need appropriate and timely responses. Such efforts are central to our role as stewards of the place that is The Sea Ranch.” (SR design manual)

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#SR4of7: Top 10 Pressures on Nonhuman Sea Ranch Residents 🐏 . #10: NO CATEGORY OF VALUATION. With no categorical method for including other animals in policy decisions (alongside land and architectural value), there are no devoted protections for 1000s of SR nonhuman residents. . #9: PEER PRESSURE. The constant push to cut comes from neighbors, visitors, and borrowers coveting all the other "neatness," which reduces or destroys habitat and shelter for other animals. . #8: COMPLACENCY. Responses from SR borrowers demonstrates a lack of curiosity and care about the actual conditions for nonhuman residents. . #7 EFFICIENCY. The #1 reason SR security is called is “problems” with “wildlife.” It's “easier” if the other animals are “out of the way” of speeding cars, kids, and visitors with cameras. That speed and efficiency standard is driving the pressure to move “wildlife” out of some areas and into others at SR. . #6 CYNICISM. “The Sea Ranch has changed and everyone knows it. #LawrenceHalprin is no longer its #landscapearchitect. It is a garden now that surrounds stunning human architectural accomplishments. Trying to harken back to the 60s is just silly." . #5 TRANSIENCE: Most humans only visit here, then go home. SR borrowers know that, and they count on the fact most humans will leave them to do what they want. . #4 CREWS: Lack of attention, poor training, and a general lack of care for SR all put pressure on the nonhuman residents. . #3 RENTAL AGENCIES. Working with SR borrowers, visitors, and TSRA tangle rental agency staff in SR borrowers’ complaints. The bottom line is the driver for rental agencies, not concern for nonhuman SR residents’ health, safety, or habitat. . #2 URBAN AND SUBURBAN. City and suburban people bring overcutting and pruning expectations to rental agency staff interactions. Those expectations spread like a virus. . #1 THE SEA RANCH ASSOCIATION: All policies and decision-making processes are “owner”-centered at SR: "…the principle that the development and use of The Sea Ranch must preserve that character for its present and future enjoyment BY OTHER OWNERS.” . #LivingLightlyontheLand? #thesearanch #searanch #thiscanchange💚

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There are no grasses to cut, but Mark and Karen Hellender’s “landscape” crew need to cut something to earn their ongoing fee, so the two men will cut down all the yellow flowers, destroying a badly needed source of food for badly needed pollinators.
The grasses are trying to be green, but the Hellender’s crew cuts them every two weeks, leaving them struggling for moisture without the shade and evap protection they’d gain from longer grasses. The “weed” whacker the ” landscaper” is using is cutting the dandelions, a “fire hazard,” according to TSRA standards. Dandelions provide food for pollinators, according to non-Sea Ranch environmental experts.