Vieira-Sandy Mush

Area: 333 Acres

Location: City of Merced, Merced County, California

Date Acquired: 2002

Acquisition Type: CNLM holds a conservation easement as well as a long-term agreement to monitor and protect the imperiled species and their habitats on the preserve. The preserve is owned by third party.

Key Habitats: Vernal Pools and California Annual and Perennial Grassland

Species of Special Interest to CNLM: Vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi), Vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi), California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense), Western spadefoot toad (Spea hammondii), Conservancy fairy shrimp (Branchinecta conservatio) and Longhorn fairy shrimp (Branchinecta longiantenna).


The Vieira-Sandy Mush Conservation Bank Preserve, owned and managed by the Vieira family, was created in 2002 when the Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) accepted a conservation easement on the property. The conservation easement ensures that the land will not be developed for other purposes and will be managed to enhance habitat for endangered and threatened San Joaquin Valley species. The role of CNLM is to monitor the Preserve and ensure that the terms of the conservation easement are maintained in perpetuity. In addition, CNLM is responsible for biological resource monitoring of endangered and threatened species populations on the Preserve.

Conservation Significance

This Preserve is comprised of 333 acres supporting grassland, vernal pools, and swales. The goal of the Preserve is to conserve endangered and threatened San Joaquin Valley species and their habitats. These species include vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi), vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi), conservancy fairy shrimp (Branchinecta conservatia), longhorn fairy shrimp (Branchinecta longiantemia), California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense), and western spadefoot toads (Spea hammondii). In addition, Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsoni), and burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) are also known to occur within the Preserve.

Our Work

The primary objective of the Vieria-Sandy Mush Conservation Bank is to maintain existing biological values for the benefit of the listed species and their habitats. Management strategies are focused primarily on  cattle grazing which is used to control excessive growth of annual vegetation, including invasive plant species, and mimic natural disturbance processes to which the vernal pool/grassland ecosystem is adapted. Fencing and signage are maintained, and firebreaks are created and maintained each year along the perimeter of the property to protect the Preserve from fire.

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 Vieira-Sandy Mush Conservation Bank or Center for Natural Lands Management, please contact Erik Gantenbein, Preserve Manager at or 760.731.7790 extension 213.