Chapter 12 - Special Management Area Descriptions
South Sierra Management Area

Deer Spring

Deer Spring consists of a 320 acre portion of public land located in southeastern Tulare County, California. The SMA is 36 miles northeast of Lake Isabella, and 34.5 miles northwest of Ridgecrest.

The SMA includes Deer Spring and most of its upstream watershed. The upland portion is vegetated by a mature stand of Great Basin pinyon woodland (Holland 1986) which is intermittently interrupted by rock outcrops or canopy openings created by tree mortality. Deer Spring is an example of montane riparian scrub (Holland 1986) dominated by willows with the upstream portion becoming montane meadow (Holland 1986). The meadow portion is dominated by sedges and grass in the wetter portions, and sagebrush and rabbitbrush in the drier sites. The meadow has been  fenced in to preclude grazing. The riparian system was damaged in 1989 from a catastrophic flash flood. Without intervention, further damage is likely resulting in the loss of this valuable riparian system. The protective fence surrounding the meadow has been repeatedly cut allowing continued use of the meadow by livestock.

Deer Spring is located in the migratory corridor of the Monache deer herd. Wildlife utilize the riparian zone as well as the uplands. In addition to wildlife values, the vicinity of Deer Spring has also been shown to have archaeological importance.

The SMA is part of a larger National Cooperative Land and Wildlife Management Area (NCLWMA), established January 26, 1962 by Public Land Order No. 2594, with the objective of encouraging cooperative management of wildlife between the Bureau of Land Management and the California Department of Fish and Game. The SMA is adjacent to the Sacatar Trail Wilderness established by the 1994 Desert Protection Act.

Deer Spring is entirely underlain by Mesozoic granitic rocks. There is no known potential for any locatable minerals.

There are no land use authorizations, oil and gas leases, or mining claims within this SMA. There are two grazing permits authorized for this area.

Objective   Manage Deer Spring to protect riparian resources, cultural resources, and habitat for deer.

Management Prescriptions

The SMA is closed to the leasing of oil, gas and geothermal resources

The SMA is available for livestock grazing and currently allotted. The Spring exclosure in unavailable for livestock grazing due to other resource concerns.

Legal Description

T. 22 S., R. 37 E., MDB&M

Sec. 31 those portions west of the county line, and south of road.

Area Map

Page 147 

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