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BLM>California>Bakersfield>What We Do>Land Use Planning>Caliente Resource Area: RMP>South Sierra Management Area Proposed Action
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Chapter 2
SOUTH SIERRA MANAGEMENT AREA
PROPOSED ACTION

 
 

 

Management Area Summary
 

   Acres

Total Area 3,390,000 Acres including portions of:
 

 

Kern County
 

1,187,000 Acres

Tulare County
 

2,203,000 Acres

FEDERAL LANDS 1,910,000 Surface Acres

 

BLM

Surface/Minerals
Minerals only

 

   472,000 Acres

   276,000 Acres
   196,000 Acres

National Park Service 

Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks (Portions)

 

   423,000 Acres

US Forest Service

 Sequoia National Forest

 

1,152,000 Acres

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Wildlife Refuge)

Blue Ridge

 

        900 Acres

BIA 

 Tule River Reservation

 

     55,400 Acres

Bureau of Reclamation

       2,700 Acres

 
 

Management Area Objectives

Assist in the maintenance of rural lifestyles and economies of local communities by providing for livestock grazing, community infrastructure needs and a range of dispersed recreational opportunities.

Maintain an increasingly active management presence to resolve private/public land use issues and respond to fire suppression needs that threaten private property.

Integrate management objectives with those of other Federal and State agencies and local and county governments.

Actively participate in regional conservation plans and proactively manage for the conservation of rare species and habitats, cultural resources, Native American traditional values.

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Management Mechanisms, Allocations and Actions
Special Area Designations

Approximately 24,120 Acres in 4 areas would be identified for Area of Critical Environmental Concern designation. See management prescriptions in RMP Chapter 11.

The existing Piute Cypress ACEC, encompassing 865 acres surface and subsurface and 175 acres subsurface only, would retain its designation and be slightly expanded. It would be managed to protect the Piute Cypress grove and other associated sensitive plant species.

The existing Blue Ridge ACEC, encompassing 3,195 acres surface and subsurface and 2,100 acres subsurface only, would also retain its ACEC designation, be expanded, and would be managed for the protection of designated critical condor habitat.

Case Mountain ACEC (18,530 acres) would be managed to protect the giant sequoia groves, sensitive plant/animal species, cultural resources, and riparian values.

Horse Canyon ACEC (1,530 acres federal surface and subsurface and 1,330 acres subsurface only) would be managed to enhance protection of significant cultural resource and paleontological resource values, and Native American traditional lifeway values.

Approximately 156,185 acres in 8 areas and 116 miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail would be  identified for Special Management Area designation. See management prescriptions in RMP Chapter 12.

Erskine Creek (2,960 acres surface and subsurface and 480 acres subsurface only) would be managed to protect limestone caves, riparian areas, and sensitive vegetation.

Keyesville (7,133 acres surface and subsurface and 220 acres subsurface only) would be managed for the enhancement of compatible low impact recreational opportunities and natural resources.

The North Fork of the Kaweah (4,870 acres surface and subsurface) would be managed for riparian resources, cultural resources, and sensitive vegetation, while improving recreational opportunities.

The Ker-311 cultural site (160 acres federal surface and subsurface) would be managed for the protection of its cultural resources values and characteristics which qualified the property for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Granite Cave cultural site (5 acres federal surface and subsurface) would be managed for the protection of its cultural resource and Native American traditional lifeway values, and the cave's microclimate and natural environs.

The Monache-Walker Pass National Cooperative Land and Wildlife Management Area (140,000 acres) would be managed to improve and maintain a diverse assemblage of vegetative communities to benefit wildlife resources and recreational opportunities.

Deer Spring (320 acres surface and subsurface) would be managed to protect riparian resources, cultural resources, and to improve wildlife habitat.

The Walker Pass National Historic Landmark (approximately 37 acres Federal surface and subsurface) would be managed for the protection of its historic property, natural landscape, and viewshed values.

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Summary of ACEC/SMA Management Allocations and Management Guidelines
South Sierra Management Area

ACEC / SizeManagement Prescription

Blue Ridge *

3,195 acres and 2,100 acres minerals

Closed to oil, gas and geothermal leasing.

The area is proposed for withdrawal from entry under the mining laws.

Unavailable for livestock use due to other resource concerns unless grazing is deemed necessary by the USFWS to assist in condor recovery.

Designated as closed to OHV's.

Public access may be restricted during condor use periods.

Case Mountain

18,530 acres

Open for the leasing of oil and gas resources subject to the LSU - Raptor stipulation.

Closed to the leasing of geothermal resources.

Lands within sequoia groves, approximately 250 acres, shall be withdrawn from the mining laws.

The two access routes, Salt Creek Road and Oak Grove Road off Mineral King, are open to mountain biking but closed to other public vehicular travel until a management plan is written for the area. Off road public access is limited to pedestrians and equestrians only. Travel within the sequoia groves is limited to pedestrians.

Available for livestock grazing. Grazing operations shall be adjusted or terminated within the sequoia community if studies show they have a negative effect upon the plant community

Horse Canyon

1,530 acres and 1,330 acres minerals

Open for the leasing of oil, gas and geothermal resources subject to NSU.

Unavailable for livestock grazing due to other resource concerns

Piute Cypress

865 acres and 175 acres minerals

Closed to oil, gas and geothermal leasing.

Available for livestock grazing.

Collection of vegetative materials within the ACEC requires authorization.

Access off designated routes of travel is restricted to pedestrian travel.

Management as a day Use area.

* existing ACEC

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SMA / SizeManagement Prescription

Deer Springs

320 acres

Closed to the leasing of oil, gas and geothermal resources.

Available for livestock grazing. The Spring exclosure in unavailable for livestock grazing due to other resource concerns.

Erskine Creek

2,960 acres and 480 acres minerals

Closed to the leasing of oil, gas and geothermal resources. About half of the southwestern portion of the SMA is within the Piute Cypress WSA where no new oil, gas, and geothermal leases may be issued.

N1/2 Sec. 22 and SE1/4SW1/4 Sec. 15, T. 27 S., R. 33 E., MDB&M, shall be proposed for withdrawal from entry under the mining laws.

A portion of the SMA is available for livestock grazing if riparian resource concerns can be met. A portion of the SMA is unavailable for livestock grazing due to its unsuitability.

Granite Cave

5 acres

Open for the leasing of oil, gas and geothermal resources subject to NSU stipulation.

Keyesville

7,133 acres and 220 acres minerals

Disposals of mineral materials may be authorized outside of or away from riparian zones, sensitive plants, and cultural resources.

Shooting of firearms, except for the legal taking of game, is prohibited.

Open for the leasing of oil, gas and geothermal resources subject to LSU - Sensitive Species stipulation.

Continued closure to the mining laws in the Keyesville area (Sec. 25 SE¼, and Sec. 36 N½NE¼, SE¼, T. 26 S., R. 32 E., MDB&M). Expand closure to include Sec. 25 S½SW¼, Sec 35 NE¼NE¼, and Sec 36 S½NE¼, N½NW¼.

Portions limited to day-use only.

Routes of travel for OHVs and bicycles shall be designated in the Keyesville SMA.

Available for livestock grazing.

Recreational mining may be allowed within areas near Keyesville that are withdrawn from the general mining laws, subject to permit.

KER-311

160 acres

Open for the leasing of oil, gas and geothermal resources subject to NSU stipulation.

Unavailable for livestock grazing due to other resource concerns.

Monache NCLWMA

306,422 acres within the Caliente and Ridgecrest Resource Areas

These lands are withdrawn from application under the non-mineral public land laws and from disposition under the homestead, desert land entry and script selection laws.

Available for livestock grazing

North Fork

4,870 acres

Available for livestock grazing.

Portions of the area may be managed as day use. Maximum lengths for stays for visitors may be shortened to accommodate more visitors and reduce visitor conflicts.

Pacific Crest Trail

116 miles

Continue closure of trail to vehicles, including bicycles.

Manage the Lamont Peak spur trail to the PCNST as a hiking and equestrian trail, keeping it closed to motorized and mechanized vehicles.

Spur trails will be established where possible and an equestrian trailhead will be pursued near Tehachapi.

Walker Pass NHL

37 acres

Open for the leasing of oil, gas and geothermal resources subject to NSU stipulation.

Available for livestock grazing.

Land Tenure Adjustments

Approximately 113,500 acres (160 parcels) would be identified for local repositioning through land exchanges to consolidate natural resource values and meet the management objectives of this plan.  special emphasis would be placed on repositioning to enhance wilderness values, recreation, special plant communities and meeting local community needs.

Approximately 53,540 acres would be targeted for Cooperative Management with other Federal and State agencies:

Approximately 28,000 acres would be identified for cooperative management with the U.S. Forest Service in the Lake Isabella area.

Approximately 3,200 acres of federal surface would be identified for cooperative management with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or California Department of Fish and Game at the Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuge.

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Approximately 21,000 acres would be identified for cooperative management with the U.S. National Park Service in the Three Rivers area.

Approximately 40 acres would be identified for cooperative management or withdrawal to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in support of the Tule River Reservation.

Approximately 1,300 acres would be identified for cooperative management with the State of California Parks Department in the Horse Canyon/Sand Canyon area.

Livestock Grazing

Approximately 220,800 acres of the public land within the Sierra Management Area would be available for livestock grazing. Of this figure, 188,400 acres lie within existing allotments, and 32,400 acres are currently unalloted and available for application for livestock grazing. The remainder of the Management Area, approximately 55,200 acres, would be classified as unavailable for livestock grazing.

Unalloted lands which have known sensitive resource concerns would be considered closed to new grazing authorizations.

Unalloted lands which are inaccessible to livestock due to heavy brush, steep slopes, rough terrain, or are too far from water sources are considered unsuitable for new grazing authorizations.

Livestock grazing would continue to be authorized on 188,400 acres of public land in 53 allotments at levels shown in RMP Chapter 6.

New grazing applications may be authorized if residual impacts to sensitive resources are not significant. Applications for new grazing allotments would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis following the criteria listed in RMP Chapter 6. Mulch, utilization and seasonal use restrictions would be consistent with guidelines used for existing allotments found in RMP Chapter 6.

Minerals

Fluid Minerals

The South Sierra Management Area contains a total of 472,000 acres of mineral estate of which approximately  128,300 acres are within Wilderness and WSAs, which are closed to mineral leasing. Approximately 346,400 acres remain potentially available for leasing, of which none are currently leased for oil and gas exploration.

Approximately 10,100 BLM acres would be closed to oil and gas leasing, and an additional 18,500 acres would be closed to geothermal development.

Approximately 3,000 acres would be open to oil and gas leasing with a No Surface Use (NSU) Stipulation.

Approximately 234,700 BLM acres would be open to oil and gas leasing under standard terms and conditions.

Approximately 95,600 acres would be open to oil and gas leasing under a Limited Surface Use (LSU) stipulation.

Special categories of the LSU stipulation will be applied as follows:

34,400 acres are subject to the LSU-Protected Species stipulation
22,300 acres are subject to the LSU-Critical Habitat stipulation
27,400 acres are subject to the LSU-Sensitive Species stipulation
18,500 acres are subject to the LSU-Raptor stipulation

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Solid Minerals

Existing land use allocations for Wilderness Areas have closed 109,000 acres to entry under the general mining law of 1872.

Approximately 6,300 acres are proposed for withdrawal from entry under the mining law in four areas, These areas would include portions of the Blue Ridge and Case Mountain ACECs and Erskine Creek and Keyesville SMAs.

The remaining 356,700 acres within the South Sierra Management Area would remain open to exploration and development under existing laws and regulations.

Management objectives and guidelines would be utilized to evaluate applications for development of the solid mineral and mineral material resources.

Recreation

Four river segment corridors, including a total of approximately 10 miles, would be identified as being eligible for designation in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System (NWSRS). These segments would include: the Lower Kern (3.5 miles of a 32 mile river segment), East Fork of the Kaweah (2.4 miles of a 10 mile river segment), Middle Fork of the Kaweah (1,000 feet of a 10 mile river segment), and North Fork of the Kaweah (4 miles of a 6 mile river segment). Cooperative studies with the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service, who manage adjacent potentially eligible segments of these same rivers, would be conducted to determine if the river segments are suitable for designation in the NWSRS. In the interim, management requirements would ensure that river segment corridors maintain current characteristics. RMP Chapter 7 provides information about the NWSRS.

The Canebrake/Long Valley Loop Road would be managed as a Scenic Back Country Byway.

The five areas designated as wilderness by the California Desert Protection Act of 1994 (Chimney Peak, Domeland, Kiavah, Owens Peak, and Sacatar Trail) would be managed through an activity plan in cooperation with Sequoia National Forest and Ridgecrest Resource Area. Trailheads (such as Rockhouse) and campgrounds (Walker Pass, Long Valley, and Chimney Creek) would be identified in the activity plan to be maintained and managed as staging areas for back country users.

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Return to Chapter 2 - Management Objectives & Allocations

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