Santa Cruz Wallflower Habitat Enhancement and Seeding Project

Summary

SCH Number
2019100006
Lead Agency
Fish and Wildlife (Headquarters), Habitat Conservation Planning Branch - Sacramento (California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Habitat Conservation Planning )
Document Title
Santa Cruz Wallflower Habitat Enhancement and Seeding Project
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Received
Posted
9/30/2019
Project Applicant
Jodi McGraw, Ph.D.

Document Description
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is issuing a permit to Jodi McGraw, Ph.D. pursuant to Fish and Game Code section 2081(a) for a project to enhance and restore a 0.13-acre area (treatment area) within the South Ridge Conservation Area for the state-endangered Santa Cruz wallflower (Erysimum teretifolium) and other native species. The enhancement project is a requirement of a 50-year Incidental Take Permit issued to the Granite Rock Company for mining activities at the Quail Hollow Quarry (Permit No. 2081-1998-32-3), which requires Granite Rock to enhance, protect, and manage areas at the Quail Hollow Quarry for the benefit of the Santa Cruz wallflower and other federally protected species. In 2018, CDFW issued a Permit to Permittee (Permit No. 2081(a)-18-008-RP) to collect and store seeds from Santa Cruz wallflower plants at Quail Hollow Quarry until an enhancement plan was developed for this area. A total of 52,000 seeds were collected in this effort. Approximately 13,000 of these seeds were transferred to Amy Patten at the California Native Plant Society for placement into long-term conservation storage as part of the California Plant Rescue Project. The remaining 39,000 seeds will be used for this Project. Seed will be broadcast-seeded into the 0.13-acre treatment area in fall 2019, prior to the onset of rains. Prior to seed dispersal, a series of treatments will be conducted to remove exotic plant thatch and seed, increase soil depth and looseness, and level the topography, which is currently concave. The bucket of a tractor will be used to scrape off the exotic plant seed in the top two inches of the soil. The scraped material will be disposed of in an area of the mine where it will not impact conservation areas. After the soil is scraped, the tractor will be outfitted with a back-drag box with teeth that will be used to pull up the sand to a depth of two to three feet. The tractor operator will also level the topography to prevent ponding. The soil will be raked with a landscape rake to create furrows that will improve seed contact with the soil and reduce wind displacement. Santa Cruz wallflower seed will be broadcast by hand through the treatment area. Following seeding, the treatment area will be raked and gently tamped to promote soil-to-seed contact. In addition, 10 1-meter by 1-meter control plots (5 seeded, 5 unseeded) will be created outside of the treatment area but within the historically mined area of the South Ridge Conservation Area. Ten reference plots will also be established in unmined intact sand parkland habitat occupied by Santa Cruz wallflower within the South Ridge Conservation Area. The treatment area will be monitored annually for five years beginning in 2020. The areal extent of the Santa Cruz wallflower will be mapped in the treatment area, and density and cover of Santa Cruz wallflower will be measured in 10 replicate 1-meter by 1-meter plots in the treatment area and compared to the control and reference plots. Soil depth will also be monitored in all plots to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatments at deepening the soil. If the treatment is not effective, the monitoring results will be used to evaluate remedial actions to address factors that might inhibit success. If the treatment is effective, the results will be used to inform future management within the conservation areas.

Contact Information
Cherilyn Burton
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244

Phone : (916) 651-6508
cherilyn.burton@wildlife.ca.gov

Location

Counties
Santa Cruz
Regions
Northern California
Other Location Info
The Project will take place in the South Ridge Conservation Area at Quail Hollow Quarry near the town of Ben Lomond In Santa Cruz County.

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
15306 and 15307
Reasons for Exemption
The Project consists of basic data collection, research, experimental management, and resource evaluation activities and actions to restore and enhance populations of the endangered Santa Cruz wallflower. The permit issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for the Project includes measures to ensure that existing populations of Santa Cruz wallflower are not impacted.

Attachments

Notice of Exemption
19-013-RP NOE   PDF 277 K

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