Yolo County supervisors voted to pursue eminent domain back in 2004 after their efforts to buy the ranch were snubbed. The settlement announced yesterday ends a two year battle.
"It’s been a long time, tough fight. People have been watching this one."
Yolo County Supervisor Mike McGowan says the landowners – known as the Conaway Preservation Group – have agreed not to sell off water from the ranch and that the first priority will be Yolo County agriculture.
"These water rights will have a greater level of protection than they otherwise would have if we passed all the ordinances in the world."
But Bob Schneider with the environmental group Tuleyome says they were hoping that the county would take over the land for the public benefit.
"We’re disappointed. We’re proud of the supervisors. We think they worked really hard on this. The water’s protected – will stay in Yolo County."
The settlement means Yolo County officials won’t have to worry about Conaway Ranch water being sold to buyers in Southern California.