The BLM manages a diversity of landscapes and resources in the South Coast Planning Area of Southern California. This planning area includes over 130,000 acres of BLM-managed public lands scattered over a five-county area which also contains over 20 million residents.
The South Coast eco-region is biologically rich, containing nearly one quarter of all species found in the United States, with over half of these species found nowhere else in the world. Wildlife species include mountain lion, mule deer, ringtail cat, and Monterey and arboreal salamanders. Both California and mountain quail also occur in this area. The world's largest stand of Tecate cypress is found here, as are at least 15 endangered, threatened or rare plant species. The threatened Coastal California gnatcatcher and the endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly are wildlife species of special concern. The public awareness of this biodiversity has resulted in several major planning efforts in the region to conserve these resources.
The BLM South Coast Resource Management Plan was completed in 1994. Since that time there have been many changes in the region. Cities and counties in the region have adopted several multiple species habitat conservation plans (HCPs). The BLM, through agreements with local and State governments, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, cooperates in the planning, creation, and management of these HCPs. In support of habitat conservation in San Diego County, Congress established the 18,500-acre Otay Mountain Wilderness in 1999, managed by BLM.
The Inland Empire region of Southern California includes BLM managed public lands located primarily in western Riverside County, but also public lands on Beauty Mountain in northeastern San Diego County, lands along the Santa Ana River Wash in San Bernardino County, and scattered parcels in Los Angeles County. The valleys and mountains are covered in such vegetation communities as California sycamore, woodland oak and peninsular pinyon woodlands, and coastal sage scrub, chaparral and grassland. These lands provides habitat for a variety of rare plants and animals like Munz's onion, slender-horned spineflower, least Bell's vireo, Stephen's kangaroo rat, coastal California gnatcatcher, arroyo toad, and Quino checkerspot butterfly.
The Border Mountains region of western San Diego County consists of rugged mountains generally covered by mixed chaparral and coastal sage scrub habitat. The BLM administers over 68,000 acres of public land along the US-Mexico border within close proximity to the San Diego-Tijuana metropolitan area, with well over 3 million people. These public lands include the Otay Mountain Wilderness, Hauser Mountain Wilderness Study Area, 15 miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, National Register cultural sites, and other special designations. The Kuchamaa/Tecate Peak Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) encompasses the sacred mountain that is a spiritual center for Native American people of southern California and northern Baja California. The Cedar Canyon ACEC was designated to protect the rare Mexican flannelbush and the Tecate Cypress.
1. Provide protection and enhancement for biological values.
2. Provide for effective management and protection of cultural and paleontological sites and values.
3. Identify, maintain, and enhance recreational opportunities, responsive to local needs and public visitation to the area.
4. Work with local community leadership and law enforcement agencies to provide for safe visits to public land and to discourage illegal uses.
5. Provide for community infrastructure needs to support the residents and economy of the region, with emphasis on energy, communications and mineral materials sites.
6. Coordinate management activities along the border with U.S. and Mexican agencies.
7. Provide for effective fire protection, fire prevention and vegetation management in cooperation with local communities, Fire Safe Councils, and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.