Area: 55.6 acres
Location: Soquel, Santa Cruz County
Date Acquired: 2016
Acquisition Type: CNLM holds a conservation easement and a long-term agreement with the land owner or third party.
Key Habitats: Coastal Oak Woodland, Coastal Scrub, California Annual and Perennial Grassland, Freshwater/Aquatic Wetland and Valley Foothill Riparian.
The Santa Cruz Gardens Preserve was established by HPH Properties, L.P., a California limited partnership, to compensate for unavoidable impacts to, and to conserve and protect, special-status species and habitat, in connection with development of a 9-lot residential subdivision. The Preserve encompasses 55.64 acres. The long-term management plan is pursuant to an Incidental Take Permit issued on November 6, 2012 by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Bay-Delta Region for the state endangered and federal threatened Santa Cruz tarplant (Holocarpha macradenia) present within an approximately 9.3-acre grassland/prairie management area. The Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) holds a conservation easement and perpetual management responsibilities for the Preserve.
The Preserve is situated on a north-south coastal terrace with surrounding hillsides. It was previously grazed by horses and/or livestock. Surrounding land use includes includes residential and commercial development. Habitats present within the Preserve include stream and riparian woodland, coast live oak woodland, coastal prairie, mixed grassland and scrub, and non-native grassland. The Preserve is known to support the state endangered and federal threatened Santa Cruz tarplant (Holocarpha macradenia), the federal endangered Ohlone tiger beetle (Cincidela ohlone), and the federal species of concern and CNPS 4 listed Gairdner’s yampah (Perideridia gairdneri ssp. gairdneri).
CNLM holds a conservation easement over the Preserve and has perpetual management responsibilities. The land manager, CNLM, is responsible for managing and monitoring the Preserve in perpetuity to preserve its habitat and conservation values in accordance with the Incidental Take Permit, the Habitat Conservation Plan, and the Long-term Management Plan. The long-term management tasks are funded through an Endowment Fund. The Prairie Management Area, a 9.3-acre area of the Preserve, will be managed to benefit Santa Cruz tarplant (Holocarpha macradenia), Ohlone tiger beetle (Cincidela ohlone), and the Gairdner’s yampah (Perideridia gairdneri ssp. gairdneri). This includes conducting annual site examinations and monitoring of selected species and site characteristics to determine stability and ongoing trends of the populations and their habitat. Management activities in the remaining area of the Preserve will include activities such as maintenance of man-made drainage features, maintenance of an emergency access road, fire-break mowing, and annual site visits to determine whether the habitat is being impacted by trespass or other uses of the Preserve.
There is a pedestrian footpath open to use by homeowners.
For information about Santa Cruz Gardens or the Center for Natural Land Management, please contact Cathy LIttle, Regional Preserve Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760.731.7790 extension 209.