Michael Bonnheim named ‘2019 Conservationist of the Year’
–The Upper Salinas – Las Tablas Resource Conservation District (USLTRCD) has named Michael Bonnheim as the “Conservationist of the Year” for his “tireless efforts over the years to protect our community’s natural resources.”
Michael Bonnheim has served as a board member for USLTRCD since November 2000 and has been a leading advocate for common-sense strategies to protect and conserve natural resources. Bonnheim is a fourth-generation cattle rancher who owns and operates Centennial Ranch, 8,000 acres of oak woodland designated for cattle ranching and sport game hunting, that has used the same name for over 100 years.
Michael Bonnheim and his family are among the first recipients of a conservation easement, foregoing development opportunities for residential and/or intensified agricultural production, which will maintain the core values of the property in perpetuity. Bonnheim has opened up his ranch and given many tours to the public and various interests groups such as the University of California Polytechnic, California State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, Resource Conservation Districts, and Land Trusts to teach others how to maintain the fine balance between agricultural production and ecological sustainability. In addition, Bonnheim has been at the forefront in developing management activities on his ranch including the development of an Oak Woodland Management Plan leading to a California Forestry Improvement Program (CFIP) for oak woodlands.
On Sept. 10, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors recognized Bonnheim for his distinguished contribution to natural resources conservation.