A Carrizo Plain National Monument sign stands in a large valley with mountains in the background.
Rafting the Kern River Three Pump Jacks, Midway-Sunset Oilfield Painted Rock. Carrizo Plain National Monument. Poppy Piedras Blancas Lightstation, San Simeon
BLM>California>Bakersfield>What We Do>Land Use Planning>Caliente Resource Area: RMP>Chapter 12: Bittercreek SMA
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Chapter 12 - Special Management Area Descriptions
Valley Management Area


This SMA consists of 960 acres of Federal surface and 4,840 acres of Federal mineral estate located in southwestern Kern County. These lands are located 13 air miles east of Cuyama and 9 air miles south of Maricopa.

Bittercreek SMA includes all Bureau managed public lands and Federal mineral estate within the boundaries of Bittercreek National Wildlife Refuge. Bittercreek National Wildlife Refuge was established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect foraging habitat for the California condor (FE/CE). The area also provides habitat for the San Joaquin antelope squirrel (FC2/CT), San Joaquin kit fox (FE/CT), blunt-nosed leopard lizard (FE/CE) and giant kangaroo rat (FE/CE). The area has been identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a potential reserve area to assist in the recovery of the San Joaquin kit fox. The area is also within two Essential Condor Habitat Areas, the Carrizo and Elkhorn Plains, and the Southwest Kern County. The area is relatively undisturbed and the primary land use has been livestock grazing. Prior to acquisition of the Hudson Ranch by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the area was considered for subdivision and development. Adjacent areas, such as the San Emigdio Ranch, currently have subdivision and development plans. This SMA lies within the Cuyama Basin which is considered to have high potential for the occurrence of oil and gas.

Livestock grazing is currently authorized through two grazing leases on 760 acres of public land. The Bureau has proposed to issue a grazing authorization on the remaining 200 acres in conjunction with an existing special use permit on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands. Oil and gas leases are the only mineral leases that currently exist in the SMA.

Objective     Manage the Bittercreek SMA to serve as a threatened and endangered species conservation area to be compatible with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's management of the surrounding Bittercreek National Wildlife Refuge. If the USF&WS, through development or updating of recovery plans, determines that these areas are no longer considered important for the recovery of threatened and endangered species, management may be modified.

Management Prescriptions

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

The SMA is available and currently allotted for livestock grazing.

Seasonal restrictions and limits on access may be required to prevent disturbance to condors.

Support Actions

An MOU will be developed with the USF&WS for the cooperative management of these lands, including grazing authorizations.

Legal Description


T. 10 N., R. 23 W., SBB&M
Sec. 8 SE¼NE¼
Sec. 26 SE¼SW¼
Sec. 30 SE¼NW¼, E½SW¼
Sec. 31 NE¼, E½NW¼
Sec. 33 NE¼SE¼
Sec. 34 SE¼NE¼, N½SW¼
Sec. 35 SW¼NE¼, NW¼, E½SW¼, W½SE¼


T. 10 N., R. 23 W., SBB&M
Sec. 9 E½, S½NW¼, SW¼
Sec. 10 S½NW¼, N½SW¼
Sec. 15 N½N½
Sec. 17 SE¼SE¼, E½SE¼
Sec. 18 SW¼SW¼
Sec. 20 N½NE¼, SW¼SW¼
Sec. 21 E½NE¼
Sec. 22 N½NE¼, NW¼
Sec. 27 SW¼NE¼,NW¼NW¼, S½NW¼, SW¼,SE¼

T. 10 N., R. 23 W., SBB&M
Sec. 28 SE¼NE¼, W½NE¼, E½NW¼, NW¼NW¼, NE¼SW¼, N½SE¼, SE¼SE¼
Sec. 29 NW¼NE¼, E½NW¼, NE¼SW¼, W½SE¼
Sec. 30 SW¼NE¼, NE¼SE¼
Sec. 32 W½NW¼, S½
Sec. 33 SW¼SW¼
Sec.34 NE¼NE¼, SW¼NE¼, NW¼NW¼, SE¼SW¼, W½SE¼

T. 10 N., R. 24 W., SBB&M
Sec. 9 SE¼SE¼
Sec. 13 SE¼SE¼
Sec. 14 N½SE¼, SE¼SE¼
Sec. 22 SE¼NW¼
Sec. 23 SW¼NW¼
Sec. 27 SE¼SW¼, SW¼SE¼
Sec. 33 W½NE¼, SE¼
Sec. 34 W½NE¼, SE¼NE¼, N½NW¼, SW¼NW¼, S½
Sec. 35 SE¼NW¼, SW¼, N½SE¼

Area Map

Page 145 

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