The City of Oakley owns three parcels of approximately 8.3 acres that are often referred to as the “Legless Lizard Parcels” located between the BNSF rail line and Walnut Meadows Drive. The two western parcels of approximately 2.6 are reserved for Legless Lizard habitat in perpetuity. The remaining 5.7 acres to the east of the Legless Lizard preserve are available for use. A park has been proposed for this area, however the funding to maintain the park is not available and the property has remained vacant. At its January 25, 2011 meeting, the City Council discussed and approved the concept of leasing this area for preservation of grape vines.
In February the Council agreed to lease the 5.7 acres to Mulehead Growers, Inc. for the use of transplanting and preserving existing grapevines. Mulehead currently leases property from DuPont. Vineyards are maintained on the leased property. About 17 acres are located where the new Power Plant will be built. Of the 17 acres about 5 acres produce the Alicante Bouschet varietal. First grown in France in the mid-1860’s it is named after its cultivator, Henri Bouschet. It is grown today in the Napa Valley and has been in this Oakley vineyard for over 100 years. These somewhat rare and heritage vines have been moved to the Legless Lizard Parcels.
Oakley vineyard owner and farm manager for Mulehead Growers, Alan Lucchesi, managed the move. The first step in the process required cleanup of the property which was overrun by tumble weeds, stumps from a previous vineyard and a fence, separating the property from the tracks, that had fallen into a sad state of disrepair. The area was then made ready for planting.
The existing vines, on the DuPont property, were removed with a backhoe and then shipped over to the new site. The holes for the transplanted vine were dug by hand, there was some concern about the location of gas lines that cross the property. Over a three week period about 2200 vines were transplanted.