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Thursday, 24 April 2014
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Preserve - Lokern PDF Print E-mail

Physical Description: The Lokern Preserve is 3,900 acres in size and located approximately 30 miles west of the city of Bakersfield, Kern County, California. This preserve consists of several disjunct parcels along both sides of the California Aqueduct between Elk Hills Road and 7th Standard Road. The Lokern Preserve is part of the Lokern Natual Area (LNA) which includes over 40,000 acres of high-quality habitat for various wildlife and plant species of the San Joaquin Valley. Other owners with protected lands within the LNA boundaries include Bureau of Land Management, California Department of Fish and Game, Plains Exploration Company and Occidental Petroleum. Chevron is also preparing a habitat conservation plan that may result in the protection of several thousand acres within the LNA.

Lokern

Conservation Purpose: The parcels within the Lokern Preserve were acquired to provide quality habitat for several threatened/endangered species including Kern mallow (an endangered plant found only at Lokern), San Joaquin kit fox, giant kangaroo rat, Tipton kangaroo rat, San Joaquin antelope squirrel, and blunt-nosed leopard lizard. The parcels were acquired mostly through mitigation funds associated with development projects under regulatory authority of the California Energy Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and California Department of Fish and Game. These parcels also provide habitat for a variety of other species of concern including burrowing owl, LeConte's thrasher, tri-colored blackbird, short-nosed kangaroo rat, and Tulare grasshopper mouse.

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Habitat Types: Much of the preserve is comprised of valley saltbush scrub which is dominated by two species of shrubs; spiny and common saltbush. In areas of heavy clay soils east of the California Aqueduct, saltbush scrub grades into valley sink scrub and Iodine bush and seepweed become more common. Previous wildfires have converted much of the saltbush scrub on the west side of the California aqueduct to an open grassland where shrub cover remains at low levels. Common herbaceous species include Arabian grass, red-stemmed filaree, popcorn flower, pygmy stonecrop, red brome, combseed, tarweed, fiddleneck and peppergrass. After a series of wet years, non-native grasses can become relatively dense and dominate the herbaceous vegetation. .

Lokern Salvia/Lasthenia Photo

Management: The overall management objective at Lokern is to maintain a functioning ecosystem that supports the threatened and endangered species for which the preserve was established. Since most of these species are desert-adapted, special emphasis is placed on maintaining a relatively sparse herbaceous cover. In wet years, the Center enters into grazing agreements with local livestock operators to create a more open habitat structure favored by these species. On previously burned lands, native shrubs also are being re-established. During 2004-05, over 3,000 young saltbush shrubs were established in areas of Lokern affected by wildfire. In addition, a multi-year study was recently initiated to determine the usefulness of a grass-specific herbicide in reducing competition between Kern mallow plants and non-native grasses. A suite of trophic levels is monitored annually on the preserve to provide increased understanding of the system and to evaluate the success of management strategies.

Public Access: The preserve is open most of the year to the public with permission from the preserve manager.

Manager: The Lokern Preserve is managed by Greg Warrick

For information and inquiries please contact:

Greg Warrick
Preserve Manager
(661) 829-4181 Phone/fax
e-mail: gwarrick@cnlm.org


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