Skunk Hollow Vernal Pool Preserve
(aka Barry Jones Wetland Mitigation Bank)

Area: 138 acres

Location: French Valley, Riverside County, California

Date Acquired: 2003

Acquisition Type: CNLM owns the preserve.  We protect and manage imperiled species and habitats on the preserve in perpetuity.

Key Habitats: Vernal Pools, Coastal Sage Scrub and California Annual and Perennial Grasslands

Species of Special Interest to CNLM: Riverside fairy shrimp (Streptocephalus woottoni) , Vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi), California Orcutt grass (Orcuttia californica), San Diego ambrosia (Ambrosia pumila), Coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica), Quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino) and Western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia).

Introduction

Identifying Fairy ShrimpThe Skunk Hollow Vernal Pool Preserve (also known as the Barry Jones Wetlands Mitigation Bank) was established in 1997. The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) among Army Corps of Engineers , US Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Pacific Bay Homes made credits available for off-site compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts to wetlands and waters of the United States.  The Rancho Bella Vista Habitat Conservation Plan was developed to protect and conserve sensitive biological resources, including six birds, two invertebrates, two amphibians, one reptile, and multiple plants, most of which can be found within the Preserve. The Preserve also includes Skunk Hollow, a 33-acre vernal pool supported within a 150-acre watershed.  The bank is still open and wetlands preservation credits remain available through McCollum Associates (see contact information below).  The Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) received fee title and management responsibilities in 2003.

Conservation Significance

Receding pool, vegetation rings

This 138 acre Preserve consists of vernal pool, coastal sage scrub, and annual grassland habitats.  This Preserve was created to conserve wetland habitat, as well as several rare and endangered species, including two federally listed fairy shrimp species, Riverside fairy shrimp (Streptocephalus woottoni) and vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi), and two federally endangered plant species, California Orcutt grass (Orcuttia californica) and San Diego ambrosia (Ambrosia pumila).  The main feature on the preserve is a large vernal pool (Skunk Hollow) that can reach a maximum surface area of over 30 acres.  The terrain slopes gradually outward from the pool.  Riversidean sage scrub grows around much of the perimeter of the Preserve in the highest and driest areas and annual grasslands are located between the sage scrub and the pool.  It is in these upland habitat areas of the Preserve where you find the federally threatened coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) and federally endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino).

Our Work

Documenting amphibian breedingOur primary goals are to retain and protect functionality of the vernal pool processes and manage habitat for the survival of federally and state endangered, threatened, and sensitive species. Research efforts include a long-term study on the ecology and best management practices for the expansion of San Diego ambrosia, specifically looking at seed viability and sage scrub encroachment, as well as a long-term study to monitor adult and juvenile dispersal of the burrowing owl within the Preserve and throughout the region. In addition, we are working to expand the amount of sage scrub in the uplands to support breeding bird species. Large areas of grassland are mowed in the middle to upper elevations of the Preserve in an effort to reduce the height and density of the non-native grasslands. In years when the vernal pools become inundated, monitoring is conducted for fairy shrimp as well as the various amphibians and waterfowl that utilize the pools.

The Barry Jones Wetland Mitigation Bank can provide environmental mitigation for projects on similar habitat types (vernal pools) or affecting the species (e.g. Riverside fairy shrimp) protected on this Preserve. For price and pending sales information, contact Michael McCollum, McCollum Associates (http://www.mccollum.com/mitigation), at (916) 688-2040 or mccollum@mccollum.com.

Public Access

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

Contact

For information and inquiries regarding Sunk Hollow or Center for Natural Lands Management,  please contact Regional Preserve Manager, Kim Klementowski at  kklementowski@cnlm.org or 760.731.7790 extension 208.