Welcome To The Banning Ranch Conservancy

Banning Ranch is located along the Santa Ana River where it meets the ocean.

Banning Ranch is located along the Santa Ana River where it meets the ocean.

Banning Ranch is a 401-acre area of wetlands and coastal bluffs in West Newport Beach where the Santa Ana River meets the Pacific Ocean.  It is the last large parcel of unprotected coastal open space remaining in Southern California, and is the central element of the proposed Orange Coast River Park, which, when realized, will achieve a significant linkage of open spaces and wetlands.  Banning Ranch supports a mix of coastal wetland, riparian woodland, coastal bluff sagescrub, shortgrass grassland, and vernal pool communities that are without parallel anywhere in Orange County.

At least six wildlife species listed as threatened or endangered have been documented on Banning Ranch: San Diego Fairy Shrimp, Light-footed Clapper Rail, American Peregrine Falcon, Least Bell’s Vireo, California Gnatcatcher and Belding’s Savannah Sparrow. In an era where nearly all remaining privately owned open space in Orange County is being developed, Banning Ranch is truly a gem and deserving of being called “Nature’s last stand.”

Banning Ranch News

Melanie Schlotterbeck is our new Executive Director!

The Banning Ranch Conservancy is in a time of great transition. While change can be daunting, we are really excited about the progress and the opportunities before us.

The Conservancy is proud to announce our new Executive Director, Melanie Schlotterbeck.

Melanie has been active in numerous conservation causes in Southern California (and beyond) for over two decades, as a leader, advocate, and as a consultant. Locally, she has focused on the Puente-Chino Hills Wildlife Corridor with Hills For Everyone; and the Green Vision Project with Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks.

One of her biggest achievements was as a negotiator for the environmental community with the Orange County Transportation Authority to create a landscape level mitigation program—securing $243.5 million for acquisition, restoration, and management of our natural lands. Melanie has served as the Environmental Mitigation Program’s Vice Chair for 13 years overseeing expenditures including 1,300 acres of preserved land and 350 acres funded for restoration. She is well known in the environmental community, focuses on solutions, engages with all levels of government, and is ready to help our Conservancy meet its mission. We are pleased to welcome Melanie to the team!

We also extend our thanks and gratitude to Steve Ray for his 12 years of dedicated service as Executive Director.



Banning Ranch Conservancy in-person meetings cancelled until further notice

Due to the Coronavirus we will not be holding in-person board meetings until further notice.

Please look for our email announcements for information on how to join our monthly board meetings on ZOOM. Meanwhile, take good care, everyone! Stay safe and healthy. And most importantly for your and others well being, take all necessary precautions.