A Land-Use Management Plan: Examples From a UC Research Center

Oaks ’n’ Folks – Volume 12, Issue 1 – February, 1997

Regulatory and land management agencies continue to question the degree of sediment, nutrient, and pathogen loading to runoff from livestock management activities in grazed watersheds. To help ranchers in California address concerns about this non point-source pollution, the Range Management Advisory Committee (RMAC) has prioritized water quality protection programs. A voluntary program is underway for private ranchers to assess areas on their land that may be contributing to non-point-source pollution and propose solutions. This past summer, the UC Hopland Research & Extension Center (HREC)-5,358 acres of California oak woodlands located in southeastern Mendocino County-developedits own Land-Use Management Plan.

Two summer interns, Lynn Barlow and Julia Crawford, were responsible for developing this Plan for HREC with three purposes: 1) to bring HREC into voluntary compliance with the Rangeland Water Quality Management Plan of the State Water Resources Control Board to control non point-source pollution;2) to develop a plan that would help land managers at HREC maintain a healthy ecosystem; and 3) for this land-use plan to serve as a model to other landowners in the region. Two existing documents, IHRMP’s 1996 Guidelines for Managing California’s Hardwood Rangelands and the UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center’s (SFREC) 1994 Resources Management Plan, both aided in developing HREC’s Plan and are available to the public.

The Plan reviews HREC’s goals as a research facility offering a widearray of resources to support research in natural resources, wildlife, ecology,and other natural and animal sciences. Staff and researchers at HREC were interviewed to ensure full participation as well as to provide a complete picture of effects on the natural resources at HREC. Included in the Plan are an exhaustive inventory of natural resources at HREC, a synopsis of current management activities, recommended alternative management practices,and suggested techniques for monitoring HREC’s natural resources.

The Plan addresses many of the management issues private landowners must confront, including water quality, pasture use, hardwood stand dynamics,invasive weedy species, erosion and sediment control, and presence of sensitive plant and animal species. Recommendations in the Plan attempt to encourage management at HREC to achieve and maintain ecosystem health. The Plan also includes suggestions on how to minimize effects on natural resources resulting from roads, culverts, gullies, and waste management. Inventory, management,and monitoring recommendations were derived from literature searches and reflect the input of specialists from UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE), California Department of Fish and Game, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

For example, severely degraded portions of a major stream on the center were proposed for revegetation, which will stabilize banks, filter sediment,and improve habitat for wildlife species associated with streams and riparian areas. Borrow sites were evaluated for use based on effects to nearby watercourses,stability of the soils, and ability to revegetate the site when no longer in use. Oak regeneration was addressed, and techniques for oak seedling protection were recommended.

Landowners are encouraged to use this Plan as a reference for their own efforts and can receive help from the same sources HREC used. For example,UCCE and the NRCS jointly offer workshops on how to compose a Letter of Intent or land-use management plan in compliance with the Rangeland Water Quality Management Plan of the State Water Resources Control Board to control on point-source pollution. Copies of the Guidelines for Managing California’s Hardwood Rangelands can be purchased from IHRMP. HREC and SFREC’s plans will be available for public perusal after January 1997. If interested in viewing a copy of either plan, please contact the Hopland Research and Extension Center (Superintendent R. Timm), 4070 University Road, Hopland, CA, 95449,707.744.1424; or Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center (Superintendent M. Connor), 8279 Scott Forbes Road, Browns Valley, CA 95918, 916.639.2419.

B. Lynn Barlow
prepared and edited by Justin Vreeland, Bill Tietje, and Pam Tinnin