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Recovery Plan for Upland Species of the San Joaquin Valley, California
Contents . Introduction . Species accounts . Recovery . Stepdown . Implementation . References . Appendix

3. Conservation Efforts at the Community Level

Past Conservation Measures.-- Specific and important general conservation measures for one or a few species are briefly mentioned in individual species accounts. Highlighted here and in Table 2 are the most significant large-scale natural community acquisitions and habitat conservation planning efforts involving the species covered in this document. The California Energy Commission has conducted two important large-scale natural community and species surveys. The first was The Southern San Joaquin Valley Ecosystem Protection Program (Anderson et al. 1991, Spiegel and Anderson 1992), wherein surveys of quarter-sections of natural lands in most of the Tulare Basin were made. Later, California Energy Commission conducted quarter-section surveys on the Carrizo Plain Natural Area with funding provided by the Bureau of Land Management (USBLM; Kakiba-Russell et al. 1991). These two programs have collectively provided more information on extant biotic communities and habitat distribution and quality for listed species than all others combined. The California Energy Commissions Southern San Joaquin Ecosystem Protection Plan (Spiegel and Anderson 1992) has provided the framework on which the resource management agencies have developed their mitigation and conservation strategies.

Several wide-area multispecies (i.e., community level involving thousands of acres) Habitat Conservation Plans are in various stages of development in the San Joaquin Valley as conditions of incidental-take permits under section 10 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-205, 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act, the USFWS can authorize the taking of federally listed fish and wildlife by nonfederal entities if such taking occurs incidentally during otherwise legal activities. An applicant for an incidental take permit submits a Habitat Conservation Plan that specifies, among other things, the impacts that are likely to result from the takings and the measures the permit applicant will undertake to minimize and mitigate such impacts. Many of these Habitat Conservation Plans are an important component of recovery strategies, from protecting specific habitats to restoration to focusing habitat acquisitions to lands identified as important for recovery. The Metropolitan Bakersfield Habitat Conservation Plan has been implemented, and the Kern Valley Floor, and San Joaquin County Habitat Conservation Plans are in active development stages. The other large conservation efforts in the Valley include the Carrizo Natural Heritage Program (USBLM, California Department of Fish and Game [CDFG], The Nature Conservancy), California Energy Commission mitigation programs, the CDFG mitigation program in the Allensworth Natural Area (Spiegel and Anderson 1992), the endangered species habitat protection programs in the Elk Hills (Department of Energy), Occidental of Elk Hills, Kern and Pixley National Wildlife Refuges (Table 2), and the National Wildlife Refuge programs (Kern and San Luis refuge complexes). Several mitigation banks, (i.e., large blocks of land preserved, restored and enhanced for purposes of consolidating mitigation for and mitigating in advance of projects that take listed species) are prt of existing or developing Habitat Conservation Plans in the San Joaquin Valley. These include the ARCO Coles Levee, Kern Water Bank, and Chevron Lokern Habitat Conservation Plans, all in Kern County.

Appropriations from Congress and money provided by the California Wildlife Conservation Board and raised by The Nature Conservancy have resulted in about 83 percent of the 102,640-hectare (253,628-acre) Carrizo Plain Natural Area being in public or The Nature Conservancy ownership. Congressional appropriations and Federal land exchanges were used to acquire 26,102 hectares (64,500 acres) between 1988 and 1995 to add to the 54,442 hectares (134,528 acres) already in Federal ownership. These properties are managed by USBLM. The CDFG has management responsibility for the 2,574 hectares (6,360 acres) the State has purchased, and The Nature Conservancy owns and manages another 2,577 hectares (6,369 acres). The Carrizo Plain Natural Area is a relatively large area, but thousands of acres were farmed for decades and a large proportion is steep, mountainous terrain; less than about 30 percent provided natural habitat for listed species at the time of establishment.

Another large scale program of acquisition, directed by USBLM, is the land purchases and exchange in the western Fresno and eastern San Benito Counties, mainly involving properties known as the Martin or Cantua Creek and Silver Creek ranches (hereinafter called the Ciervo-Panoche Natural Area). Acquisitions in these two programs (Carrizo Plain Natural Area and Ciervo-Panoche Natural Area) collectively have done more to advance the recovery of the San Joaquin Valleys listed species than all others combined. Acquisition will continue to be a major element of recovery processes, but will play a lesser role than in the past.

The third large-scale program by the Federal government has been the acquisition of fee title and easements to natural and farmlands in Stanislaus and Merced Counties to add to existing and create new National Wildlife Refuges. Refuge programs have been directed at waterfowl and other wetland species though substantial areas in Merced County are upland communities. With some change in management objectives and habitat restoration, upland areas could support a significantly larger population of kit foxes than currently. Easement lands support a small population of San Joaquin kangaroo rats with a unique genetic constitution, though its subspecies taxonomy is unclear (Johnson and Clifton 1992, Endangered Species Recovery Program unpubl. data). In both counties some riparian areas on existing and planned refuge lands could provide habitat for viable populations of riparian brush rabbits and woodrats.

Additions to the Pixley National Wildlife Refuge, Tulare County, have protected significant habitat for blunt-nosed leopard lizards, Tipton kangaroo rats, San Joaquin kit foxes, and mountain plovers (a candidate species not featured in this plan, but a large proportion of its total population winters in the area covered in this plan). Addition of the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge (foothills and mountains at southwestern edge of the Valley, mostly in Kern County) to the Hopper Mountain refuge complex, though targeted for recovery of the California condor, also provides protection of some habitat for the San Joaquin kit fox, San Joaquin antelope squirrel, Tulare grasshopper mouse, and possibly the blunt-nosed leopard lizard, giant and short-nosed kangaroo rats, mountain plover, and San Joaquin Le Contes thrasher.

Acquisition of properties in the Allensworth Natural Area of Tulare and Kern Counties and the Semitropic Ridge and Lokern Natural Areas (natural areas defined by Spiegel and Anderson [1992]) by CDFG, California Energy Commission, and Center for Natural Lands Management have been from a variety of funds, both public and private (Table 2). To date, the conservation parcels are relatively small and scattered, but each of the three areas is critical to the recovery of some species. Dedicated conservation lands in each area should expand as the Habitat Conservation Plans are completed and implemented, and if the ongoing planning for a mitigation bank in the Lokern Natural Area by the agecies and Chevron, Inc., is completed and a mitigation bank established.

Several agency management plans and management agreements, which define and commit an agency to managing property in specified ways, exist or are being developed to protect listed species habitat in the San Joaquin Valley. The primary goal of these plans is to ensure that properties with value as habitat for listed species are managed and monitored to preserve, protect, or enhance populations of those species while protecting other societal interests. Plans of this sort represent the principal mechanism for protecting listed species on public lands. Common shortcomings, however, of these plans are lack of adequate information on which to base habitat management actions, and few or no provisions for obtaining needed information. The exceptions are several recently-developed plans that make provisions to conduct research as high priorities (e.g., Center for Natural Lands Management 1993, USBLM et al. 1995).

Table 2. Summary of larger and community-level conservation efforts in the San Joaquin Valley planning area. See Appendices B and C for abbreviations of species and agency names, respectively.

ProjectPurposeLocationMgmt.AgencyTarget SpeciesOther SpeciesSize(Acres)YearAcquired
T & E purchasenonmitigationAlkali Sink ERCDFGbnll fkrpbbb hws9301978-85
T & E purchasenonmitigationKerman ERCDFGbnll fkrbss lhsb1,7751987-88
T & E purchasenonmitigationPanoche Hills ERCDFGbnll gkr sjkf5951985
T & E purchasenonmitigationButtonwillowCDFGbnll sjas sjkf tkrhws1,3501991
T & E purchasenonmitigationAllensworth ERCDFGbnll sjkf tkr2,9241980-95
T & E purchasenonmitigationPixley Conservation EasementKNWRbnll tkr10??
Carrizo NA-CDFGnonmitigationCarrizo Plains Natural AreaCDFGbnll gkr sjas sjkfsjwt6,0601988-89
Carrizo NA-TNCnonmitigationCarrizo Plain Natural AreaTNCbnll gkr sjas sjkflhsb7,4281987
Lokern-TNCnonmitigationLokernCNLMbnll gkr sjas sjkfhws km lhsb2,0471993-94
Sand RidgenonmitigationSand RidgeTNCbcsjwt tkr285??
Semitropic Ridge-TNCnonmitigationSemitropic RidgeCNLMbnll tkr sjas sjkfcjf hws sjwt lhsb5981993
Pixley NWRnonmitigationPixley NWRFWSbnll tkr sjas sjkf1,244??
CEC Sycamore CogenerationmitigationSemitropic RidgeCECsjkf tkr1,9241988-92
Misc. mitigations < 100 acresmitigationSemitropic RidgeCECsjkf tkr3111988-92
CEC Midway/Sunset Cogen.mitigationLokernCECbnll gkr sjkf8831989-92
Misc. mitigation < 150 acresmitigationLokernCECbnll gkr sjkf2841989-91
Metro Bakersfield HCPmitigationColes Levee EPCLEPbnll gkr sjas sjkf tkrhws2,0001992
Metro Bakersfield HCPmitigationElk HillsCDFGbnll gkr sjas sjkf5151994
Hollister Resource AreanonmitigationPanoche HillsBLMbnll gkr sjkfhws jpg sjwt26,412??
Hollister Resource AreanonmitigationGriswold/Tumey HillsBLMgkr sjkfjpg51,461??
Hollister Resource AreanonmitigationCiervo Hills/Joaquin RocksBLMbnll gkr sjdb sjkfjpg23,711??
Hollister Resource AreanonmitigationCoalingaBLMbnll sjkfcjf14,660??
Caliente Resource AreamitigationElk Horn PlainBLMbnll gkr sjkfhws sjwt tbw1601983
CVP CA AqueductmitigationCA Aqueduct/Region 4CDFGbnll gkr sjkf tkrbc hws sjwt1151975
Coalinga Gravel OperationmitigationSemitropic RidgeCDFGbnll sjkf2001993
McKittrick LateralmitigationLokernCDFGbnll sjas sjkf601993
Caliente RA-Interim Grazing PlanmitigationCarrizo Natural AreaBLMbnll gkr sjas sjkf snkrcjf hws lhsb jpg mtt sjwt103,1021988
Coalinga CogenerationmitigationPleasant ValleyCDFGbnll sjkf3161991
Fiber-Optic CablemitigationLokernCDFGbnll sjas sjkf2671993
PGE/PGT PipelinemitigationJasper Sears Mitigation ParcelCDFGsjkf1601992
PGE/PGT PipelinemitigationPalm TractCDFGsjkf1,0761994
PGE/PGT PipelinemitigationTracy HillsCDFGsjkf4431993
Safeway/Patterson PassmitigationTracy HillsCDFGsjkf6271992
PG&E Stan Pac II & Stockdale RanchmitigationAllensworth ERCDFGbnll sjkf tkrsjas1261991
CSU BakersfieldmitigationAllensworth ERCDFGbnll sjkf tkrsjas201991
Delano PrisonmitigationAllensworth ERCDFGbnll sjkf tkrsjas1061991
Oceanic Communities DevmitigationAllensworth ERCDFGbnll sjkf tkrsjas1201991
Delano PrisonmitigationAllensworth ERCDFGbnll sjkf tkrsjas5301991
Oceanic Communities DevmitigationAllensworth ERCDFGbnll sjkf tkrsjas2721992
CSU BakersfieldmitigationAllensworth ERCDFGbnll sjkf tkrsjas401991
Badger Creek LimitedmitigationAllensworth ERCDFGbnll sjkf tkrsjas301992
McKittrick LimitedmitigationAllensworth ERCDFGbnll sjkf tkrsjas181992
PG&E Line #2 Gas ReplacementmitigationAllensworth ERCDFGsjkf361995
Laidlaw PipelinemitigationLokernTNCbnll km sjkf31993
Kettleman Hills Waste Fac.mitigationSemitropicTNCsjkf801993
PSE inc.mitigationCarrizo Plains Natural AreaBLMbnll sjkf3,048??
Fort Hunter LiggettmitigationUS on-site managementDODsjkf????
Camp RobertsmitigationUS on-site managementDODsjkf40,000??
CECmitigationState on-site managementCECsjkf0??
Ca. Aqueduct Em. Op & Mt. '91mitigationKern Fan ElementDWRbnll sjas sjkf tkr118*
Coastal Branch Phase II PipelinemitigationKern Fan ElementDWRbnll gkr sjas sjkfhws sjwt1,661*
CVP San Luis Damon-site mitigationUS.-O'Neill Forebay Wildli AreaBRsjkf7001976
CVP San Luis Damon-site mitigationUS-San Luis Reservoir Wildl AreaBRsjkf8461976
O'Neill Dam Safety Projecton-site mitigationI5 corridorBRsjkf1711964
Delano Prisonon-site mitigationUS on-site managementDOCbnll sjkf tkr3481990
Los Vaqueros Watershedon-site mitigationLos Vaqueros WatershedCCWDsjkf4,1501994
Uniminon-site mitigationUnimin Propertyowner?sjkf50??
Cowell Ranchon-site mitigationCowell Ranch Propertyowner?sjkf????
Byron Airporton-site mitigationByron Airport Propertyowner?sjkf821??
Ca. Aqueduct Em. Op & Mt. '93on-site mitigationSJ Field DivisionDWRbnll sjkf tkr2121963
Coles Levee Ecological Preservemitigation bankColes Levee Ecosystem PreserveCLEPbnll gkr sjas sjkf tkrhws6,0201993
Tule Vista Farms ConvictionPlea agreementPixley NWRFWSbnll sjkf tkr1601994
J. G. Boswell Co.canceledKern Lake PreserveTNCbssbvls831984
Metropolitan Bakersfield HCPmitigationMetropolitan BakersfieldNAbc hws sjwt bnll sjkf tkr262,000NA
Kern Co. Valley Floor HCPmitigationKern Co. San Joaquin Valley FloorNAundecided1,920,000NA
Tulare Co. HCPmitigationTulare Co. Valley FloorNA1,088,000NA
Pleasant Valley HCPmitigationPleasant Valley, Fresno Co.NA160,000NA
San Joaquin County HCPmitigationSan Joaquin Co.NANA
CDWR Aqueduct HCPmitigationCA Aqueduct in San Joaquin ValleyNA12,000NA
ProjectPurposeLocationMgmt.AgencyTarget SpeciesOther SpeciesSize(Acres)YearAcquired
Kern Fan Water Bankon site mitigationKern River Fan, W. Kern Co.CDWRbnll gkr sjkf tkrbss hws sjwt bvls sjas23,8001990
Celeron All-American PipelinemitigationCPNABLMbnll, sjkf, gkr140.081988
PG&E UltraPower Ogle Transmission LInemitigationCPNABLMbnll, sjkf301990
PSE Sierra, Double C and Kern Front CogenmitigationCPNABLMsjkf137.421991
Valley Waste BV-2mitigationCPNABLMbnll, sjkf, gkr88.231991
So Cal Gas North Midway Sunset Pipeline and Buena Vista PipelinemitigationCPNABLMbnll, gkr, sjkf228.341991
Celeron Pentland PipelinemitigationCPNABLMbnll, sjkf21.331991
PG&E UltraPower Ogle Gas LinemitigationCPNABLMsjkf, bnll14.861991
Chalk Cliff ???mitigationCPNABLMsjkf20.971991
Mt. Poso CogenmitigationCPNABLMbnll, sjkf401993
So Cal Gas South Midway Sunset PipelinemitigationColes Levy Ecosystem PreserveARCO, CDFGbnll, sjkf5.671994
LWCFnonmitigationCPNABLMbnll, sjkf, gkr, cjf, sjwt, hwssjas, mopl87,123.021988-95
North Cousins ExchangenonmitigationCPNABLMbnll, sjkf, gkr, cjf, sjwt, hwssjas, mopl4,5191989
Goodwin II ExchangenonmitigationCPNABLMbnll, sjkf, gkr, cjf, sjwt, hwssjas, mopl6,8991989
Goodwin I ExchangenonmitigationCPNABLMbnll, sjkf, gkr, cjf, sjwt, hwssjas, mopl1,2001993
Taft ExchangenonmitigationCPNABLMsjkf, bnll, gkr2,403.151993-94
Mobil OilmitigationCPNA, BV ValleyBLMsjkf, bnll, gkr1,1401992

* currently under negotiations

Critical Needs Analysis.-- The status of 32 of the 34 species included in this recovery plan was examined for critical needs as part of the Friant Biological Opinion Critical Needs Analysis (Colliver et al. 1995). Additional species of the Sierra foothills also were included in the analysis, but are not discussed here. The other two species of this recovery plan, the San Joaquin kit fox and the palmate-bracted birds-beak, were not included, by agreement with the USFWS, because they were dealt with in the critical needs analysis for the contemporaneous Biological Opinion for Interim Contract Renewal (USFWS in litt. 1995a). That analysis found that both the San Joaquin kit fox and palmate-bracted birds-beak had critical needs.

Of the 34 species examined in the two analyses, 12 have critical needs. These species are: palmate-bracted birds beak, Kern mallow, Bakersfield cactus, Bakersfield smallscale, Vaseks clarkia, oil neststraw, Fresno kangaroo rat, riparian woodrat, Buena Vista Lake shrew, riparian brush rabbit, San Joaquin kit fox, and Doyens dune weevil. A critical need is defined as any intrinsic state or external situation that threatens a species with extinction or preclusion of recovery and requires action during the next year to improve or avoid a further deterioration of that species chances of survival and recovery. The critical threats and actions needed for each of the 12 species are reflected in the recovery tasks and priorities established in this recovery plan for these species.

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