Cholame Ranch Preserve

Area: 14,000 acres

Location: Central California

Acquisition Type: Center for Natural Land Management owns the preserve.  We protect and manage species and habitats on the preserve in perpetuity.

Key Habitats: Annual Grassland, Coastal Scrub, Chamise Chaparral, Blue Oak-Foothill Pine Woodland, Blue Oak Woodland, Riverine, and Lacustrine

Species of Special Interest to CNLM:  golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia ssp. hypugaea)California condor (Gymnogyps californianus), San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica)California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) and California tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense)


The Cholame Ranch Preserve protects approximately 14,000 acres of grassland, shrubland, and woodland in the southern Diablo Range, primarily within southwest Kings County, with smaller portions in San Luis Obispo, Kern, and Monterey Counties.  The Preserve was created in 2017 with funding provided by a group of conservation organizations.  CNLM holds fee title ownership of the property, and has voluntarily recorded deed restrictions to protect the natural values in perpetuity.

Conservation Significance


Due to its size, diverse topography, vegetation types, soil types, and wetland habitats, the Preserve supports a wide variety of plants and animals that inhabit the interior Coast Range. The primary vegetation on the Preserve is annual grassland, and other types include coastal scrub, mixed chaparral, blue oak & foothill pine woodland, riparian woodland, and stream and pond habitats.

The southern portion of the Preserve (approximately 10,000 acres) consists of low-elevation rolling foothills, composed largely of clay soils derived from marine sedimentary rocks, and vegetated primarily by annual grassland and chamise chaparral.  The rolling grassland in this portion of the preserve provides nesting and foraging habitat for species such as golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) and western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia ssp. hypugaea).  Suitable foraging habitat for California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) is present on the Preserve, and the San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica) has been documented nearby.  Also, this southern portion of the Preserve contains numerous stock ponds which provides habitat for a number of amphibian and reptile species, and we are working to determine whether California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense) and California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) are present in these ponds.

The northern portion of the Preserve (approximately 4,000 acres) consists of higher elevation rugged hills (up to 3,000 feet above sea level), composed largely of serpentine rock outcrops and serpentine-derived soils, and predominantly vegetated with serpentine annual grassland, and blue oak & foothill pine woodland.  These serpentine soils have been found to support a number of rare plant species, including California filaree (California macrophylla), Lemmon’s jewelflower (Caulanthus lemmonii), protruding buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum  var. indictum), and South Coast Range morning-glory (Calystegia collina ssp. venusta).

Our Work

During these early years in our ownership of the Preserve, CNLM staff will document locations and conditions of habitats, plant and animal populations and ranch infrastructure, in order to prioritize future management actions.  CNLM staff will work closely with the grazing operator to best manage the livestock and to benefit the natural values on the Preserve.  The information gathered by CNLM staff during these early years will be used to inform the drafting of a more comprehensive long-term management strategy.

Public Access

Due to the vulnerability of the species and habitats that exist on this Preserve, it is not open to the public.


For information on Cholame Ranch Preserve or Center for Natural Lands Management please contact Bobby Kamansky, Preserve Manager at or 760.731.7790 extension 222.