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Stephens' Kangaroo Rat Habitat Conservation Plan

 

Appendix E

Biogeographic, Land Use, and Land Ownership Profile of the SKR Core Reserve

  1. A. Overview
  2. B. Lake Skinner-Domenigoni Valley Core Reserve
    1. 1. Topography
    2. 2. Soils
    3. 3. Vegetation
    4. 4. SKR Occupied Habitat
    5. 5. Other Species of Concern
    6. 6. Ownership
    7. 7. Land Use
    8. 8. Connectivity
  3. C. Lake Mathews-Estelle Mountain Core Reserve
    1. 1. Topography
    2. 2. Soils
    3. 3. Vegetation
    4. 4. SKR Occupied Habitat
    5. 5. Other Species of Concern
    6. 6. Ownership
    7. 7. Land Use
    8. 8. Connectivity
  4. D. San Jacinto-Lake Perris Core Reserve
    1. 1. Topography
    2. 2. Soils
    3. 3. Vegetation
    4. 4. SKR Occupied Habitat
    5. 5. Other Species of Concern
    6. 6. Ownership
    7. 7. Land Use
    8. 8. Connectivity
  5. E. Sycamore Canyon-March Air Force Base Core Reserve
    1. 1. Topography
    2. 2. Soils
    3. 3. Vegetation
    4. 4. SKR Occupied Habitat
    5. 5. Other Species of Concern
    6. 6. Ownership
    7. 7. Land Use
    8. 8. Connectivity
  6. F. Steele Peak Core Reserve
    1. 1. Topography
    2. 2. Soils
    3. 3. Vegetation
    4. 4. SKR Occupied Habitat
    5. 5. Other Species of Concern
    6. 6. Ownership
    7. 7. Land Use
    8. 8. Connectivity
  7. G. Potrero ACEC Core Reserve
    1. 1. Topography
    2. 2. Soils
    3. 3. Vegetation
    4. 4. SKR Occupied Habitat
    5. 5. Other Species of Concern
    6. 6. Ownership
    7. 7. Land Use
    8. 8. Connectivity
  8. H. Motte Rimrock Core Reserve
    1. 1. Topography
    2. 2. Soils
    3. 3. Vegetation
    4. 4. SKR Occupied Habitat
    5. 5. Other Species of Concern
    6. 6. Ownership
    7. 7. Land Use
    8. 8. Connectivity References Cited
Attachment
Table
Figures

A. Overview

The SKR core reserve system consists of seven core reserves encompassing 41,221 acres, including 12,460 acres of SKR occupied habitat. (Table E-1 and Figure E-1).

Vegetation mapping completed in 1994 under an interagency contract with Pacific Southwest Biological Services (PSBS) indicated the presence of seven habitat types within the SKR core reserves. Sage scrub is the most abundant vegetation (16,899 acres) within the core reserve system, followed by grassland (1 1,452 acres), chaparral (6,495 acres), alkali playa (2,965 acres), riparian (497 acres), woodland (325 acres), and marsh (2 acres) (Table E-1). It should be noted that the PSBS data is based on vegetation data obtained prior to the October 1993 California Fire which burned a significant portion of the Lake Skinner-Domenigoni Valley core reserve. Accordingly, vegetation calculations contained in this Appendix do not reflect temporary alterations of habitat resulting from the fire.

In addition to SKR, III other species of concern are either known to occur or potentially occur in one or more of the SKR core reserves (Attachment E-1).

Following are detailed descriptions of the SKR core reserves, including information concerning SKR occupied habitat, vegetation types, and current land ownership information. For convenience of review, the sequence of tabulated data and corresponding maps for each reserve follows the narrative description of the individual reserve.

Additional technical information concerning soils associated with SKR and other habitat factors is included in the literature review and individual reports found in Volume II.

B. Lake Skinner-Domenigoni Valley Core Reserve

The Lake Skinner-Domenigoni Valley core reserve is located southwest of Hemet and east of State Highway 79 (Figure E-1). This is the southern and easternmost core reserve, consisting entirely of unincorporated territory under County jurisdiction. Encompassing approximately 13,158 acres. Lake Skinner-Domenigoni Valley is the largest SKR core reserve. The majority of this core reserve is owned either by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California ("MWD") or the RCHCA (Figures E-2, E-3, and E-4). The RCHCA holds SKR conservation easements over 1,336 acres of MWD property, 46 acres of County of Riverside property, and 205 acres of private property.

1. Topography

The topography of the Lake Skinner-Domenigoni Valley reserve is variable, consisting of steeply sloped mountainous terrain as well as relatively flat and gently sloping areas. Elevations range from approximately 1,500 feet to 2,672 feet above mean sea level. The lowest elevations occur around the existing Lake Skinner Reservoir in the southern portion of the reserve, and the proposed Domenigoni Reservoir in the northern portion of the reserve. The highest portions of the reserve lie south of the proposed Domenigoni Reservoir site and on Black Mountain near the eastern boundary. Elevations in ares north of the Lake Skinner Reservoir are nearly as high, reaching up to 2,412 feet above mean sea level.

2. Soils

The Lake Skinner-Domenigoni Valley core reserve contains 89 different soil types from34 different soil series. Based upon previous research, 63 of the 89 soil types which occur in this reserve are known to support SKR (Knecht 1971, O'Farrell and Uptain 1989, Price and Endo 1989).

3. Vegetation

This core reserve supports six major vegetation communities (Table E-1). The three most common vegetation types are chaparral (5,093 acres), sage scrub (4,834 acres) and mixed grassland (2,264 acres). These three vegetation communities cover approximately 97% of the core reserve. Other vegetation communities within the reserve include riparian (288 acres), and woodland (158 acres). Approximately 521 acres or 4% of the reserve consists of land cleared of native vegetation.

4. SKR Occupied Habitat

As of March 1996 approximately 1,988 acres of SKR occupied habitat were contained in the Lake Skinner-Domenigoni Valley core reserve. (Figure E-3). Although a majority of the reserve contains appropriate soils and topography for SKR, the dominant vegetation in this reserve (chaparral and sage scrub) is not suitable for this species. Much of the SKR occupied habitat in this core reserve occurs on lands which were converted from sage scrub and chaparral to cleared land by agriculture, grazing, and/or fire.

5. Other Species of Concern

In addition to SKR, 32 other species of concern (including 7 plants, 5 reptiles, 14 birds, and 6 mammals) are known to occur in the Lake Skinner core reserve. An additional 78 species of concern (including 35 plants, 3 invertebrates, 14 amphibians and reptiles, 19 birds and 7 mammals) potentially occur in this area. (Attachment E-1).

6. Ownership

As of January 1995 the Lake Skinner-Domenigoni Valley reserve included lands in both public and private ownership. Within the reserve, MWD is the largest land owner (over 9,700 acres), followed by the RCHCA (approximately 2,088 acres). County of Riverside (662 acres), and BLM (305 acres). The remaining 316 acres in the reserve are currently in private ownership.

7. Land Use

Most of the land within this reserve is undeveloped, but is crossed by numerous dirt roads. Some portions of this core reserve have been used for agriculture in the past, particularly grazing. Land surrounding Lake Skinner is developed as a County Regional Park with camping and water recreation facilities. The park is classified as a scenic park/recreation area/cultural heritage site. Current uses include 24-hour camping and recreational vehicle hook-ups, swimming, fishing, boating, equestrian and hiking trails, and picnicking.

Land uses adjacent to the boundaries of the reserve are generally agriculture intermixed with some rural residential development and open space.

8. Connectivity

The Lake Skinner-Domenigoni Valley core reserve is part of a contiguous block of relatively natural habitat that extends east to the San Bernardino National Forest, and southeast to the Cleveland National Forest. Included in this region is Vail Lake, an area encompassing many sensitive animal and plant species. Vegetation in this area is dominated by chaparral but also includes grassland, coast live oak woodland, riparian forest, and desert chaparral. All of this land is presently unincorporated and is under much less development pressure than areas to the north near Hemet, to the west in the vicinity of State Highway 79, and to the south near the City of Temecula.

C. Lake Mathews-Estelle Mountain Core Reserve

The Lake Mathews core reserve covers an area of 11,243 acres located south of the City of Riverside and northeast of Interstate 15 (Figure E-1). This reserve consists entirely of land within the jurisdiction of the County of Riverside. The Lake Mathews reserve includes approximately 4,264 acres of SKR occupied habitat, more than any other reserve. (Figures E-5, E-6, and E-7).

1. Topography

In the northern portion of the reserve around Lake Mathews, the topography is relatively flat and gently sloping with elevations ranging from 1,180 feet to 2,200 feet; the majority of land lies between 1,400 and 1,600 feet. In the southern portion of the reserve the land is mostly rugged and steep, with elevations ranging from 1,000 feet at the western end of Dawson Canyon to 2,767 feet at the summit of Estelle Mountain.

2. Soils

The Lake Mathews core reserve includes 45 different soil types from 26 different soil series. Of this group, 32 of the soils types are known to support SKR (Knecht 1971, O'Farrell and Uptain 1989, Price and Endo 1989).

3. Vegetation

Six major vegetation communities are included within this reserve. (Table E-1). The two most common vegetation types are sage scrub (5,609 acres) and grassland (3,488 acres); approximately 81% of the entire reserve is covered by these two vegetation communities. The other vegetation types occurring within the reserve are chaparral (315 acres), woodland (164 acres), riparian (163 acres), and marsh (2 acres). Within this core reserve 13% of land is cleared of native vegetation.

4. SKR Occupied Habitat

As noted above, the Lake Mathews core reserve contains approximately 4,264 acres of SKR occupied habitat; this represents 34% of all SKR occupied habitat within the entire reserve system. At present approximately 38% of all land in the reserve is occupied by SKR.

Although a majority of the reserve contains vegetation and soils capable of supporting SKR, the topography in some areas (particularly in the southern portion of the reserve), is too steep and rugged for the species.

5. Other Species of Concern

In addition to SKR, the Lake Mathews core reserve is known to support 46 other species of concern (including 8 plants, 7 reptiles, 23 birds, and 8 mammals). An additional 43 species of concern (including 19 plants, 2 invertebrates, 12 amphibians and reptiles, 5 birds, and 5 mammals) potentially occur in this area. (Attachment E-1).

6. Ownership

The Lake Mathews core reserve presently includes lands under both public and private ownership. MWD is the largest land owner (over 5,100 acres) followed by the RCHCA (4,598 acres), BLM (320 acres), and the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) (221 acres). Approximately 292 acres of land owned by Western Waste Industries will be conveyed to the RCHCA pursuant to the El Sobrante Landfill Expansion Mitigation Plan as described in 5. SKR Conservation and Mitigation Measures. The remaining 683 acres in the core reserve are currently in private ownership.

7. Land Use

Lands surrounding the lake are essentially undeveloped. The northwest corner is also undeveloped but is crossed by numerous roads. Orchards (citrus and avocado) and vineyards are located along the north edge of the reserve, south of El Sobrante Road and in the central portion of the reserve, south of Cajaico Road. There is a large water tank surrounded by intensive off-road-vehicle tracks in the northeast corner, and a water works facility is located near the Colorado River Aqueduct inlet on about 10 acres. MWD also is in the process of identifying the route and configuration of a bypass system along the perimeter of the reservoir to intercept urban runoff. Between El Sobrante Road and the eastern boundary of the core reserve, the land is mainly undeveloped.

Over 80% of the reserve is within the County's Lake Mathews Community Plan area. Land outside the Lake Mathews Community Plan with slopes grater than25 percent is designated "mountainous area," which permits low intensity land uses on 10-acre minimum lot sizes. Land uses within the vicinity of the northern edge, and the northern half of the eastern edge of the reserve primarily consists of agriculture and residential development. Land within the vicinity of the remainder of the reserve is primarily undeveloped with some agriculture.

8. Connectivity

The Lake Mathews core reserve is part of a contiguous block of generally undeveloped grassland, sage scrub, and chaparral habitats extending from State Highway 91 to Interstate 15. The best opportunity for connections to regionally significant open space exists in the southwestern portion of the reserve. In this area it is still possible to link the core reserve to the Cleveland National Forest through the Temescal Wash. from the boundary of the core reserve, the Wash extends to the southwest, crosses under Temescal Canyon Road, an abandoned railroad line, and 1-15, and continues into the Cleveland National Forest.

D. San Jacinto-Lake Perris Core Reserve

The San Jacinto-Lake Perris core reserve encompasses 10,932 acres located south of central Moreno Valley and north of the Ramona Expressway (Figure E-1). Approximately 3,640 acres of SKR occupied habitat are contained within this area. Over 93% of this reserve lies within the County of Riverside; most of the balance is within the City of Moreno Valley, and less than an acre of the southern portion of the reserve lies within the City of Perris. (Figures E-8, E-9, and E-10).

1. Topography

The topography of the San Jacinto-Lake Perris core reserve consists of areas of relatively flat and gently sloping terrain around the lake and in the eastern portion of the reserve. Land to the south of the lake is steep and rugged. Elevations in this SKR core reserve range from 1,420 feet to 2,689 feet.

2. Soils

Included in this core reserve are 62 different soil types from 23 different soil series. Forty of the soil types within the reserve are known to support SKR (Knecht 1971, O'Farrell and Uptain 1989, Price and Endo 1989).

3. Vegetation

Six major vegetation communities exist within the core reserve. (Table E-1). Approximately 90% of the land within the reserve consists of grassland (3,606), sage scrub (3,749 acres), and alkali playa (2,965 acres). The other vegetation communities within the reserve are chaparral (52 acres), riparian (39 acres), and woodland (3 acres). Less than 1 % of the reserve consists of land cleared of native vegetation (32 acres).

4. SKR Occupied Habitat

The San Jacinto-Lake Perris core reserve includes approximately 3,640 acres of SKR occupied habitat. This suggests that nearly all of the grassland habitat most suitable for SKR is presently occupied by the species. Moreover, it is likely that SKR may have ventured into sparsely vegetated sage scrub habitat.

5. Other Species of Concern

In addition to SKR, 13 other species of concern (including 5 reptiles, 6 birds, and 2 mammals) are known to occur in this core reserve. An additional 88 species (including 34 plants, 2 invertebrates, 14 amphibians and reptiles, 27 birds, and 11 mammals) have the potential to occur in this area.

6. Ownership

With the exception of approximately 154 acres under option to the RCHCA, the entire San Jacinto-Lake Perris core reserve is presently in public ownership. The State (through the Department of Parks and Recreation, CDFG, and Department of Water Resources) is the largest land owner in this reserve, covering more than 96% of the total acreage. The balance of acreage is owned either by the RCHCA or the County of Riverside.

7. Land Use

The San Jacinto-Lake Perris core reserve consists of undeveloped hills and slopes surrounding Lake Perris, active recreation and water resource facilities in the State Recreation Area, and previously farmed lands to the east. The State Recreation Area has several paved access roads and developed campgrounds on about 500 acres near the lake, with several water tanks located in the surrounding hills. A small area west of the dam is basically undeveloped, except for small support and maintenance facilities and areas that are farmed or used as fairgrounds. The San Jacinto Wildlife Area has been previously grazed and includes a small office, limited visitor facilities, levees, and ponds.

Land within the vicinity of the core reserve are primarily in agriculture to the south and east and residential development to the north and west.

8. Connectivity

The northeast portion of the reserve extends east of Gilman Springs Road and adjoins the Badlands. The Badlands cover a large block of sage scrub, grassland, and chaparral habitats extending to the San Bernardino National Forest. This area, which includes significant blocks of land under County of Riverside and BLM ownership, is generally considered a wildlife migration corridor of regional importance. Through the acquisition of the Anderson property the RCHCA secured an important section of habitat necessary to ensure the conservation of this corridor.

E. Sycamore Canyon-March Air Force Base Core Reserve

The Sycamore Canyon-March Air Force Base core reserve is located south of Highway 60 and west of Interstate 215 (Figures E-11, E-12, E-13). The reserve encompasses 2,502 acres of land. Approximately half of the reserve lies within Sycamore Canyon Park in the City of Riverside. The balance of the reserve south of Alessandro Boulevard is part of March Air Force Base and therefore under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense.

1. Topography

The Sycamore Canyon portion of the reserve consists of moderate and rocky terrain, with elevations ranging from 1,100 feet to 2,660 feet above sea level. The southern portion of the reserve on March Air Force Base consists of relatively flat and gently sloping terrain, with elevations ranging from 1,540 feet to 1,800 feet above sea level.

2. Soils

The Sycamore Canyon-March Air Force Base core reserve includes 29 soil types from 11 different soil series. Of these 29 soil types, 23 are known to support SKR (Knecht 1971, O'Farrell and Uptain 1989, Price and Endo 1989).

3. Vegetation

The two major vegetation communities within this core reserve are grassland (1,721 acres), and sage scrub (741 acres) (Table E-1). The remaining 40 acres encompass lands classified by PSBS as are residential/urban/exotic (36 acres) and riparian (4 acres).

4. SKR Occupied Habitat

Approximately 1,355 acres of SKR occupied habitat are contained within the Sycamore Canyon-March Air Force Base core reserve; thus, more than 50% of the reserve is occupied by SKR. Although a majority of the reserve contains vegetation (grassland and sage scrub), and soils which are suitable for SKR, the topography in portions of the Sycamore Canyon is too steep and rugged to support this species.

5. Other Species of Concern

This core reserve supports 25 species of concern (including 7 reptiles, 15 birds, and 3 mammals). Another 35 species of concern (including 21 plants, 2 invertebrates, 4 birds, and 8 mammals) potentially occur in this area (Attachment E-1).

6. Ownership

Most of the core reserve is presently under public ownership. The City of Riverside is the largest land owner (1,230 acres), followed by the Department of Defense (1,040), and the State of California (132 acres). Approximately 100 acres of private land is under negotiation.

7. Land Use

The reserve is essentially undeveloped, but is crossed by underground water and gas lines, overhead electric lines, and a number of dirt roads. Sycamore Canyon Park is designated as a wilderness area to be protected and preserved. Ultimately, the park will include an interpretive center and hiking trails. The Sycamore Canyon Park portion of the reserve is presently surrounded to the north and west by development, and will be surrounded to the east as welt. A narrow MWD easement traverses the southern section of the Sycamore Canyon Park. This easement, commonly referred to as the Box Springs Feeder project is not a part of the Sycamore Canyon/March Air Force Base core reserve.

The northern and southern portions of the reserve are bisected by Alessandro Boulevard, a major arterial. The southern portion of the reserve on March Air Force Base is generally undeveloped with the exception of a weapons storage area. This area is bordered to the west and south by residential development.

8. Connectivity

As noted above, the Sycamore Canyon-March Air Force Base core reserve is largely surrounded by development. As a result, opportunities for connections to other areas of open space are relatively few. A potential wildlife corridor may be established between the core reserve and Box Spring Mountain County Park. The University of California at Riverside and the Riverside Land Conservancy have sought to define and initiate conservation efforts in this corridor. However, the success of these endeavors will depend upon the availability of new funding for necessary land acquisitions.

The most significant issue is ensuring a connection across Alessandro Boulevard between the Sycamore Canyon and March Air Force base portions of the reserve. As detailed in the HCP text, this connection is now highly problematical due to the abandonment by the USFWS of a 1990 Biological Opinion requirement for construction of a wildlife undercrossing beneath Alessandro Boulevard.

F. Steele Peak Core Reserve

The Steele Peak core reserve is located east of Interstate 215 and adjacent to the northern boundary of the City of Lake Elsinore (Figure E-1) and southeast of the Lake Mathews. The majority of the reserve is located within the County of Riverside; approximately 157 acres of the southern portion of the reserve lies with in the City of Lake Elsinore. The Steele Peak core reserve is comprised of five large blocks of publicly owned land which, in the aggregate, encompass 1,753 acres (Figures Figure E-14, Figure E-15, and Figure E-16).

1. Topography

The reserve consists primarily of moderately rolling rocky hills and, in some areas, steep rocky ridgelines. Elevations in the reserve range from 1,640 feet to 1,860 feet above sea level in the southern portion, 1,960 feet to 2,460 feet above sea level in the central portions, and 1,720 feet 102,160 feet above sea level in the northern portions. Several natural drainage courses traverse the reserve from a south/southeast to north/northwest, direction.

2. Soils

The Steele Peak core reserve includes 27 soil types from 16 different soil series. Of these 27 soil types, 10 are known to support SKR (OTarrell and Uptain 1989, Price and Endo 1989).

3. Vegetation

The three major vegetation communities within this core reserve are sage scrub (961 acres), grassland (226 acres), and chaparral (561 acres) (Table E-1). The remaining 5 acres of reserve land are classified as residential/urban/exotic (3 acres) and riparian (2 acres).

4. SKR Occupied Habitat

Approximately 860 acres of SKR occupied habitat are contained within the Steele Peak Core reserve; thus, almost 49% of all land in the reserve is occupied by SKR.

5. Other Species of Concern

This core reserve supports 12 species of concern (including 5 reptiles, 6 birds, and 1 mammal). Another 52 species of concern (including 23 plants, 2 invertebrates, 7 reptiles, 9 birds, and 11 mammals) potentially occur in this area (Attachment E-1).

6. Ownership

The entire core reserve is presently owned by two public agencies. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management owns approximately 1,544 acres and the RCHCA holds title to 209 acres.

7. Land Use

The Steele Peak core reserve is essentially undeveloped, but is crossed by dirt roads and trails. Five private inholdings exist within BLM land which comprises the central portion of the reserve. Access to these inholdings is presumed to be from the existing dirt road network. The BLM has agreed to manage their Steele Peak properties consistent with the goals and objectives established by the SKR HCP.

Existing and general plan designated land uses within the vicinity of the core reserve consist primarily of rural agriculture and rural residential designations. The minimum lot sizes for these designations range from one half acre to two and a half acres within the northern portions of the reserve and from five to ten acres interspersed among the northern and central and southern portions of the reserve.

8. Connectivity

As illustrated above, the private property surrounding the five blocks of land which comprise the Steele Peak core reserve are either heavily parcelized, zoned for relatively small lots, or have existing structures and/or residences. Present and future parcelization of property in the surrounding area provide for limited and tenuous land connections between the blocks of land which comprise the Steele Peak core reserve, connections with the Lake Mathews core reserve to the west, and the Motte Rimrock core reserve to the northeast. However, the Steele Peak core reserve mosaic may lend itself to providing critical habitat for the California gnatcatcher and other listed species which do not depend solely on actual land connections between significant habitat patches.

G. Potrero ACEC Core Reserve

The Potrero ACEC core reserve is located south of Highway 60 and west of Gilman Springs Road (Figure E-1). The entire reserve lies within the unincorporated area of Riverside County. (Figures Figure E-17, Figure E-18, and Figure E-19).

The Potrero Area of Critical Environmental Concern ("ACEC") core reserve is owned and managed exclusively by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management ("BLM"). In the June 1994 Record of Decision for the BLM South Coast Resource Management Plan ("RMP"), the land was formally identified as an ACEC. Not only has the BLM committed to managing this reserve for sensitive habitats and resource values, they have also committed to acquiring and additional 1,000 acres in the vicinity of the Potrero ACEC to consolidate ownership and improve management. The BLM has indicated that it will manage the Potrero ACEC consistent with the goals and objectives set forth in the SKR HCP.

1. Topography

The Potrero ACEC is situated in the portion of western Riverside County commonly referred to as the Badlands area. Steep, undulating hills and valleys are characteristic of the land in and around the reserve. Elevations range from 1,680 feet to 2,500 feet above sea level.

2. Soils

The core reserve includes 6 soil types from 4 different soil series. Of these 6 soil types, 3 are known to support SKR (O'Farrell and Uptain 1989, Price and Endo 1989). Soils within the Badlands region of Riverside County are generally unstable and of poor quality.

3. Vegetation

The two major vegetation communities within this core reserve are sage scrub (503 acres) and chaparral (474 acres) (Table E-1). The remaining 18 acres are classified as grassland (17 acres) and riparian (1 acre).

4. SKR Occupied Habitat

Approximately 18 acres of SKR occupied habitat have been identified within the Potrero ACEC core reserve. This primarily due to the lack of suitable vegetation, topography, and soils. Much of the topography within the Potrero ACEC core reserve is too rugged and too steep to support large populations of SKR.

5. Other Species of Concern

This core reserve supports 4 species of concern (including 2 reptiles and 2 birds). Another 51 species of concern (including 15 plants, 1 invertebrate, 1 amphibian, 10 reptiles, 11 birds, and 13 mammals) potentially occur in this area (Attachment E-1).

6. Ownership

The core reserve is owned entirely by the BLM.

7. Land Use

The reserve is relatively undisturbed but crossed by several dirt roads/trails. The BLM is committed to managing the land for SKR and multi-species values and supplementing their existing holdings with the purchase of an additional 1,000 acres of lands contiguous to the Potrero ACEC.

Land surrounding the Potrero ACEC is generally undisturbed open space. The Riverside County DeAnza Regional Park is contiguous to the northern boundary of the reserve. Of the estimated 4,100 acres of regional park land, 60 acres is a cycle park (closed pending further discussions with the State of California), 1,110 acres is identified as the Badlands Sanitary Landfill, and the remaining 2,930 is left in open space with intermittant farming near the San Timeteo River drainage. The cycle park is closed pending future negotiations with the State of California. The landfill site will, under existing agreements, eventually be capped and converted to the County Park and Open Space District.

8. Connectivity

Opportunities for connections to other areas of open space are relatively broad. As discussed above, the reserve is located within an area commonly referred to as the Badlands Area. The Badlands cover a large block of sage scrub, grassland, and chaparral habitats extending to the San Bernardino National Forest. This area, which includes significant blocks of land under County of Riverside and BLM ownership, is generally considered a wildlife migration corridor of regional importance.

Potential connections exist to the south of the Potrero ACEC reserve through the San Jacinto-Lake Perris core reserve, to the north via the 4,100 acre Riverside County DeAnza Regional Park land. A possible wildlife corridor may be established from Box Spring Mountain County Park to Forest Service lands to the east inclusive of the Potrero ACEC. The University of California at Riverside and the Riverside Land Conservancy have sought to define and initiate conservation efforts in this corridor. However, the success of these endeavors will depend upon the availability of new funding for necessary land acquisitions.

H. Motte Rimrock Reserve Core Reserve

The Motte Rimrock core reserve is located two miles northwest of Perris, east of Old Elsinore Road and south of Cajaico Road (Figure E-1). Approximately 338 acres within this reserve are under the jurisdiction of the County of Riverside and 318 acres lie within the City of Perris. Encompassing approximately 638 acres, the Motte Rimrock Reserve is the smallest of the SKR core reserves. (Figures Figure E-20, Figure E-21, and Figure E-22).

1. Topography

The topography of the Motte reserve consists of numerous ridges and depressions. A ridge forms a steep escarpment on the eastern side of the reserve, while other ridges consist of relatively gentle slopes. Elevations on the reserve range from 1,700 feet to 1,985 feet above sea level.

2. Soils

This core reserve includes 11 different soil types from six different soil series. Of the 11 soil types, six are known to support SKR (Knecht 1971, O'Farrell and Uptain 1989, Price and Endo 1989).

3. Vegetation

Only two major vegetation communities are contained within the Motte Rimrock core reserve. These include sage scrub (502 acres) and grassland (130 acres). The remaining six acres of the reserve is classified by PSBS as residential/urban/exotic.

4. SKR Occupied Habitat

Approximately 335 acres of SKR occupied habitat are contained in the core reserve. Although a large portion of the reserve contains vegetation, soils, and topography suitable for SKR, large rock outcroppings scattered throughout the reserve preclude SKR from colonizing some areas.

5. Other Species of Concern

In addition to SKR, 33 other species of concern (including 10 reptiles, 19 birds, and 4 mammals) are known to occur in the Motte Core Reserve. Another 6 species (including two invertebrates and four mammals) potentially may occur in the area (Attachment E-1).

6. Ownership

All land within the Motte Rimrock reserve is presently in public ownership. The State of California (UCR) is the largest land owner (397 acres) followed by the RCHCA (161 acres) and BLM (80 acres).

7. Land Use

Lands within this core reserve are almost entirely undeveloped. Land uses surrounding the reserve consist primarily oi residential development, open spaces, and a small amount of agriculture.

8. Connectivity

Of all the SKR core reserves, Motte Rimrock is the most isolated. The reserve is not part of a large contiguous block of habitat and is almost completely surrounded by urbanization. Although difficult, a narrow connection between the habitat in Motte Rimrock and the Steele Peak area may be established, but this would include a significant amount of private property subdivided into small lots.

References Cited

Knecht, A.A.
1971 Soils survey for the Western Riverside Area, California. U.S. Department Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service.

Minnich, R.A. and Y. Chou
n.d. A geographic information System Database for the Stephen's Kangaroo Rat. Report prepared for Riverside County Habitat Conservation Agency.

O'Farrell, M.J. and C. Uptain
1989 Assessment of Population and Habitat Status of the Stephens' Kangaroo Rat. Nongame Bird and mammal Section Report, July 1989. State of California. Department of Fish and Game, Wildlife Management Division.

Price, M.V. and P.R. Endo
1989 Estimating the Distribution and Abundance of a Cryptic Species, Dipodomys Stephens! Rodentia: Heteromyidae), and Implications for Management. Conservation Biology 3:293-301.

Pacific Southwest Biological Services
1994 A geographic information system database of vegetation types within western Riverside County. Report prepared for a consortium consisting of the Riverside County Habitat Conservation Agency, the Riverside County Park and Open Space District, and the Western Riverside Council of Governments.

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