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Bump and Grind Town Hall Meeting September 19, 2011 4:30-6:00pm:

Bump and Grind Town Hall Meeting September 19, 2011 4:30-6:00pm Kimberly Nicol Regional Manager Inland Desert Region California Department of Fish and Game

Bighorn sheep :

Bighorn sheep Listed as “Rare” in 1971 by State of California Designation revised to “Threatened” in 1984 to conform to CESA USFWS listed the Peninsular Bighorn sheep as “Endangered” in 1998

Bighorn sheep :

Bighorn sheep FWS designated Critical Habitat in 2001 FWS revised Critical Habitat in 2008 Revision removed some lands within CVMSHCP because of the Plan and the protections it provides

Bighorn sheep :

Bighorn sheep Delisting Criterion I: As determined by a scientifically credible monitoring plan, at least 25 ewes must be present in each of the 9 regions during each of 12 consecutive years (approximately 2 bighorn sheep generations), including the 6 years under Downlisting Criterion #I, without continued population augmentation.

Bighorn sheep :

Bighorn sheep Delisting Criterion 2: The rangewide population must average 750 individuals (adults and yearlings) with a stable or increasing population trend over 12 consecutive years (same time period as Delisting Criterion #1 above).

Bighorn sheep :

Bighorn sheep Delisting Criterion 3: Regulatory mechanisms and land management commitments have been established that provide for long-term protection of Peninsular bighorn sheep and all essential habitat as described in section II.D. I of this recovery plan.

Bighorn sheep:

Bighorn sheep Population at the time of listing was 334 Current estimated range wide population is 950 Current N. Santa Rosa population is 65 Population has been augmented by captive bred individuals Population increases are a result of fencing and augmentation

Bighorn sheep:

Bighorn sheep In 2011 there were 65 individual sheep in the Northern Santa Rosa Mountains herd that occupies Magnesia Spring Ecological Reserve In 2011, 28 lambs were observed to have been born into that herd By late June 2011 only 5 lambs were known to still be alive The causes of mortality are unknown

Bighorn sheep :

Bighorn sheep Bighorn sheep are considered a wilderness species that does not thrive in contact with human development Altered bighorn sheep behavior in response to anthropogenic disturbance has been documented Blong and Pollard 1968, Deforge 1972,Jorgensen and Turner 1973, Light and Weaver 1973, McQuivey 1978, Hicks and Elder 1979 ,Graham 1980, Leslie and Douglas 1980, DeForge and Scott 1982, Hamilton et al. 1982, Krausman and Leopold 1986, Rubin et al. 1998, Papouchis et al. 1999, Papouchis et al. 2000

Bighorn sheep :

Bighorn sheep Bighorn sheep have extremely acute vision Vision is equivalent to 8-10 power binoculars Ewes with lambs are more sensitive to human disturbance Bighorn sheep are known to abandon areas of disturbance

Sensitive areas:

Sensitive areas Lambing areas in both Carrizo Canyon Ecological Reserve and Magnesia Spring Ecological Reserve Lambing area in Magnesia Spring ER was determined using a 95% fixed kernal home range of Northern Santa Rosa Ewe group based on sheep occurrences. Lambing area includes Ramon Peak The terminus of the Mirage Trail encroaches on this important lambing area Lambing area is defined as habitat required for ewes and their lambs to survive during the first few months of life

Ecological Reserves:

Ecological Reserves F&G Code § 1580 . The Legislature hereby declares that the policy of the state is to protect threatened or endangered native plants, wildlife, or aquatic organisms or specialized habitat types, both terrestrial and nonmarine aquatic, or large heterogeneous natural gene pools for the future use of mankind through the establishment of ecological reserves.

Ecological Reserves:

Ecological Reserves F&G Code § 1583 . Except in accordance with the regulations of the commission it is unlawful to enter upon any ecological reserves established under the provisions of this article, or to take therein any bird or the nest or eggs thereof, or any mammal, fish, mollusks, crustaceans, amphibia, reptiles or any other form of plant or animal life.

Ecological Reserves:

Ecological Reserves F&G Code § 1585 . Notwithstanding Section 1580, which sets forth the primary purposes of ecological reserves, the department may construct facilities and conduct programs in ecological reserves it selects to provide natural history education and recreation if those facilities and programs are compatible with the protection of the biological resources of the reserve.

Title 14 sect. 630 (a)(7):

Title 14 sect. 630 (a)(7) Trails. The Department may designate areas within an ecological reserve where added protection of plant or animal life is desirable, and may establish equestrian, or walking trails or paths within such designated areas. No person shall walk or ride horseback in such areas except upon the established trails or paths. Prior to 2005 the Department had not designated any trails in Magnesia Spring Ecological Reserve

Magnesia Spring Ecological Reserve:

Magnesia Spring Ecological Reserve Established as an Ecological Reserve by the Fish and Game commission in 1975 Managed by the California Department of Fish and Game Current size 3,825 acres

Primary Intent of Magnesia Spring ER:

Primary Intent of Magnesia Spring ER Bighorn sheep receive priority when there are land use conflicts Bighorn sheep should be able to freely utilize the reserve without conflicting human use Rehabilitate and maintain the habitat around Magnesia Spring

Section 24:

Section 24 Purchased in 1986 for the protection of bighorn sheep Purchased with environmental license plate funds

Purpose of ELPF $’s :

Purpose of ELPF $’s The control and abatement of air pollution, including all phases of research into the sources, dynamics and effects of environmental pollutants. The acquisition, preservation, restoration, or any combination thereof, of natural areas or ecological reserves. Environmental education, including formal school programs and informal public education programs. Protection of nongame species and threatened and endangered plants and animals.

Purpose of ELPF $’s (cont.) :

Purpose of ELPF $’s (cont.) Protection, enhancement, and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat and related water quality, including review of the potential impact of development activities and land use changes on that habitat. The purchase, on an opportunity basis, of real property consisting of sensitive natural areas for the state park system and for local and regional parks. Reduction or minimization of the effects of soil erosion and the discharge of sediment into the waters of the Lake Tahoe region, including the restoration of disturbed wetlands and stream environment zones.

Habitat classification of Section 24:

Habitat classification of Section 24 1980 - classified as “secondary habitat” which is defined as “habitat needed for a viable population” 2000 Recovery Plan classified it as “essential habitat” “necessary for a self sustaining bighorn population with a high probability for long term survival in the Peninsular ranges of the United States”

History of Trail Designation :

History of Trail Designation Fish and Game designated a trail on the Magnesia Spring ER Title 14 Section 630(b)(73) – Magnesia Spring Ecological Reserve, Riverside County: (A) No person, except as provided in subsection (a)(10), and employees of the City of Rancho Mirage or the City of Palm Desert in the performance of their official duties shall enter this reserve during the period January 1 to September 30 except on designated trail. (B) The County of Riverside may carry out management activities for fish and wildlife, flood control and vector control. Authorized operation and maintenance activities shall include, but shall not be limited to, use of chemicals, vegetation control, water control and use of associated equipment.

History of Trail Designation :

History of Trail Designation Title 14 Section 630(b)(73) – Magnesia Spring Ecological Reserve, Riverside County (cont.): (C) Pets are prohibited from entering the reserve except when they remain inside a motor vehicle. (D) Year round access will only be permitted on the portion of the Mirage Trail from Painter's Path in the City of Palm Desert to the junction with the Hopalong Cassidy Trail located in the eastern half of Section 24 and continuing off the Reserve to Cahuilla Hills Park, City of Palm Desert. The Hopalong Cassidy trail then enters the reserve again at Section 35 and follows contours around the eastern side of the section before leaving the reserve and continuing on to City of Palm Desert owned parcels. (E) Bicycles are only allowed on the portions of trail described in (D).

History of Trail Designation :

History of Trail Designation Fish and Game posted its regulations for the reserve at the north end of Section 24 A meeting was held between the Department and local elected officials The Department was asked not to enforce state law until a trails plan was adopted under the CVMSHCP The Department agreed and fulfilled this commitment

History of Trail Designation:

History of Trail Designation City of Palm Desert wanted to connect the Art Smith Trailhead with the Mirage Trail Undertook a project to construct new trails and realign old trails The trails would be peripheral trails as recommended by the recovery plan The realignment of trails encroaching into bighorn sheep habitat into peripheral trails allowed DFG to designate the loop trail as open in Section 24

History of Trail Designation:

History of Trail Designation Allows people to access areas of less impact to bighorn sheep along the edge of Magnesia Spring Ecological Reserve Trails were put in a location below and out of sight of the lambing area (as much as terrain allows) Project was carefully considered by the Department, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, City of Palm Desert, CVAG, Sierra Club, and other user groups Strikes a balance between providing human access to trails and protecting bighorn sheep

The Project:

The Project The newly developed trails provided a loop that begins and ends behind the Desert Crossing Shopping Center The newly developed trails also provide a connection to the Hopalong Cassidy Trail The Mike Schular Trail allowed an alternative access point to the Desert Drive access point

The Project:

The Project The alternate access point was located in a commercial area where large numbers of people would not negatively impact the resident human population Allowed the City of Rancho Mirage to put up a gate closing off the Desert Drive access point

Example of high numbers of users impacting a population:

Example of high numbers of users impacting a population Human residents of Desert Drive were being impacted by noise, traffic, trespass, and litter from 100-200 trail users per day The City of Rancho Mirage needed an alternative to the access point at the end of Desert Drive.

The Project:

The Project The loop trail formed by the Mirage Trail, the Herb Jefferies Trail, and the Mike Schular Trail was designated by the Department in 2006 as multi-use (hikers, equestrians and Mountain bikes), year round trails The City of Palm Desert funded the contractor to build the new trails The new trails went through environmental review and public input required by the California Environmental Quality Act

Upper portion of the Mirage Trail:

Upper portion of the Mirage Trail The last 0.5 mile of the Mirage Trail was not designated as open This lessens the impact of 100-200 people per day on the sensitive lambing area Mitigates the impacts of the new trails developed on Fish and Game lands

The Department’s Goal:

The Department’s Goal To preserve the bighorn sheep population in perpetuity. That’s a long time! Allow enough undisturbed area for the population to persist and recover during and after poor survival conditions Achieve the recovery goal of a minimum 25 ewes in each ewe group over 12 years

Slide 36:

Where’s the Sheep?

Slide 37:

Where are the Sheep?

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