Chapter 11 - ACECs
Coast Management Area

Cypress Mountain

Cypress Mountain is located in the Santa Lucia Range in San Luis Obispo County, southwest of the city of Paso Robles.  The Cypress Mtn. ACEC encompasses 1,090 acres of Federal surface and mineral estate.

The following plant communities that are considered rare by the California Department of Fish and Game occur within the Cypress Mountain ACEC: Northern Interior Cypress Forest and Serpentine Chaparral. The Northern Interior Cypress Forest on Cypress Mountain is dominated by Sargent cypress. Sargent cypress occurs on serpentine rock along the main summit of the Santa Lucia Range, where it forms three extensive but well separated stands (Hoover, 1970). Cypress Mountain may be the only area of public land where Sargent cypress exists.

Although serpentine rock, with its ultrabasic properties, is such a harsh substrate for most plants, some plants have adapted to be dependent upon serpentine. These plants are known as serpentine endemics and many are considered quite rare. Hardham's bedstraw is a rare serpentine endemic known to occur within the ACEC. Other rare serpentine endemics that are associated with Sargent cypress may occur here. These are San Luis sedge, Santa Margarita manzanita, San Luis mariposa lily, and Cuesta Pass checkerbloom.

Cypress Mountain is primarily underlain by rocks of the Franciscan Complex, including serpentine and shale. There are at least four mines or prospects along this fault, presumably for mercury. These include the Cypress Mountain Group in the north center of Section 1 and the Kismet Group in the northwest-quarter of Section 7. In Section 1 manganese at the Mayfield Mine is associated with the volcanic rocks found there. The manganese body occurred as an inclusion, with little potential for additional material. The known mercury occurrences have low to moderate potential for mercury, gold, antimony or selenium. The serpentine at Cypress Mountain has medium to high potential for small podiform bodies of chromite.

The only apparent past disturbance on Bureau land is a trespass road. To protect the watershed and biologically unique and irreplaceable habitat, the area is closed to grazing. No oil and gas leases or mining claims occur within this area.  There are no other land use authorizations. There is no legal access to the property. The lack of public access has eliminated recreational opportunities such as hiking, horseback riding, hunting, off-road vehicle use, and nature study.  Neighboring landowners have been unified in their opposition to any potential development.

The area clearly meets the relevance and importance criteria established for ACECs to protect the sensitive plant communities that occur here.

Objective      Manage to protect and maintain the rare and unique plant communities and watershed values of Cypress Mountain.

Management Prescriptions

The ACEC is open for leasing of oil, gas, and geothermal resources subject to LSU - Coast ACEC/SMA stipulation.

The ACEC is unavailable for livestock grazing due to other resource concerns.

Support

Develop a management agreement with neighboring landowners in coordination with the county, to help meet the ACEC objectives.

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Legal Description

T. 27 S., R. 9 E., MDB&M
Sec. 1 Lot 4, NE¼SW¼
Sec. 12 NE¼NE¼, S½NE¼, NE¼NW¼, S½NW¼, E½SW¼, SE¼
Sec. 13 N½NE¼

T. 27 S., R. 10 E., MDB&M
Sec. 7, Lots 3 & 4, NE¼SW¼, SE¼
Sec. 8 W½SW¼
Sec. 17 NW¼NW¼
Sec. 18 Lot 2

Area Map

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