Contacting your local extension office can lead to lots of information specific to the ecosystems in your county. Also- for those who wish to learn about gardening they have links and info concerning the master gardener program. Following is a link for the San Francisco County Extension Office:
On a completely different note, I have been touring different properties in the Shenandoah mountain area (a subset of the Appalachians). Criteria have included walking access to water (such as lakes or rivers), being an hour or less driving distance from my current location, and roughly one acreage of property. For future reference, a 3 bedroom two story house can be purchased for 70 grand and plain lots on the smaller side for as little as 5 thousand!
Wells seem like an interesting concept that I haven’t though to much about however, they typically require permission from the local health department.