Reserve Management Plan (2008)

The 131 pg. Reserve Management Plan is available for downloading.
The Management Plan for Conservation Lands and Adjacent Campus Buildout Lands for the University of California, Merced (2008), was prepared by Dan A. Airola for the Physical and Environmental Planning Department, University of California, Merced.
Plan Executive Summary
This Management Plan (Plan) describes the management policy and actions for
lands owned and protected by the University of California (UC), and other
mitigation lands that have contributed to the establishment of the UC Merced
(UCM) Campus. These lands comprise the following categories:
1. UCM Conservation Lands (Tier 1a Lands). Lands owned by UC and
committed for long-term management by UCM for conservation purposes
under conservation easements; these lands comprise the Virginia Smith Trust
(VST) Preserve and Campus Natural Reserve (CNR). This plan also includes
the Myers Easterly property as part of the UCM Conservation Lands. This
area is owned jointly by the UC and VST, and will be managed by UCM as a
Tier 1a mitigation area.
2. CST Conservation Lands (Tier 1b Lands). The Cyril Smith Trust (CST)
lands that are currently owned by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and would
be protected by a conservation easement.
3. Tier 2 Conservation Lands. Five properties not owned in fee title by UC or
conservation entities, but for which conservations easements have been
4. Adjacent Campus Buildout Lands. UC lands designated for future use as
the UCM Campus that are located adjacent to the UCM Conservation Lands.
This Plan is intended to meet various project requirements, including
development of an Adaptive Management Plan, set forth in the Biological
Opinion (BO) issued for the project (U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2002) and
the conservation easement for the VST Preserve lands. The plan will serve for an
extended period, assumed at approximately 20 years, although it incorporates
adaptive changes and periodic reviews to adjust management.The Plan does not address interim management of lands previously designated as
the University Community, including those recently proposed for addition to the
campus. Similarly, the Plan does not address management of lands to be
acquired for wetland restoration and creation, which will be addressed in the
forthcoming Final Compensatory Wetland Mitigation and Monitoring Plan.
The Plan recognizes that management needs for different lands vary depending
on resource values, regulatory requirements, location, ownership, and proposed
uses. UCM Conservation Lands and Adjacent Campus Buildout Lands are
addressed together in this Plan because their ownership by UCM allows greater
management flexibility and application of adaptive management.
Reliance on a conservation easement to protect CST Conservation Lands will
limit management options for this property. Because the proposed easement has
not yet been developed, the specific terms of the easement are not known.
General discussion with TNC and the agencies regarding easement provisions
and examination of easement documents for Tier 2 Conservation Lands have
provided a basis for initial description of the likely easement conditions and
resulting management program. This component of the Plan will likely require
revision once the specific provisions of the CST easement are determined.
Management of the Tier 2 Conservation Lands is defined by terms of the
conservation easements. Management provisions for these lands have been
included in this Plan as Appendix A.
The Plan addresses policies regarding various land uses and management
commitments to protect and maintain conservation values consistent with
regulatory commitments and requirements for the UCM project. The Plan is
anticipated to guide all future management, but is also designed to respond
adaptively to changing conditions associated with campus development,
regulatory requirements, and the results of monitoring.
Background on the project and its compliance history and requirements is
available in the Proposed Conservation Strategy for the UC Merced Project (ICF
Jones & Stokes 2008) (Conservation Strategy). Importantly, the BO for the
project, issued in 2002 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS),
identified a set of required parameters, which included preparation of the
Conservation Strategy. One element of the strategy was the preparation of a
management plan for mitigation lands.
Parameter 1 of the BO requires that:
The Applicants will prepare and implement, in coordination with USFWS
and the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), a comprehensive
strategy for the conservation of the San Joaquin kit fox, vernal pool
branchiopods and plants and other protected species to guide the
development and implementation of specific conservation for the Proposed
Parameter 1 also specifies that:
The Conservation Strategy will include monitoring and adaptive
management measures and be consistent with and intended to implement
the Recovery Plan for Upland Species of the San Joaquin Valley, and any
future federal recovery planning effort.
The Conservation Strategy, to which this Plan contributes, identifies 13 target
species for conservation. Of these species, the nine species listed below are
known to occur on conservation lands and are the focus of management attention.
  • Succulent owl’s-clover (Castilleja campestris ssp. succulenta).
  • Colusa grass (Neostapfia colusana).
  • San Joaquin Valley orcutt grass (Orcuttia inaequalis).
  • Conservancy fairy shrimp (Branchinecta conservatio).
  • Vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi).
  • Midvalley fairy shrimp (Branchinecta mesovallensis).
  • Vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi).
  • California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense).
  • San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica) (suitable habitat only).