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Sunday, 20 April 2014
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Preserve - Johnson Ranch PDF Print E-mail

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Site Description: The Johnson Ranch and Roripaugh Ranch Preserve consists of approximately 1700 acres in the unincorporated area of French Valley, Riverside County, California.  The Center manages approximately 750 acres of Johnson Ranch and 201 acres of Roripaugh Ranch.  The remainder is managed by the Riverside County Regional Parks and Open Space District or the California Department of Fish and Game.  Santa Gertrudis Creek passes through the preserve, and an unnamed tributary of Tucalota Creek originates in the preserve.  A portion of the Skunk Hollow vernal pool watershed is also protected in the preserve (see our Skunk Hollow Preserve).


Ownership: The portion of Johnson Ranch that is managed by the Center is owned by the Riverside County Regional Parks and Open Space District.  Other protected portions of Johnson Ranch that are not managed by the Center are owned by the California Department of Fish and Game and the University of California - Riverside.  Roripaugh Ranch is owned by the City of Temecula.


Conservation Purpose: The Assessment District 161 Multiple Species Subarea Habitat Conservation Plan is the basis for the establishment of this preserve.  Under this conservation plan, several development companies within the Assessment District contributed the funds to purchase the preserve lands and to establish an endowment to fund the Center's management activities.  The conservation plan was created to protect the federally threatened California gnatcatcher, endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly, and endangered Riverside fairy shrimp, as well as several species of birds, plant, reptiles and amphibians.  In total, protection of 16 species is required under the conservation plan.

Johnson Ranch Photo

Habitat Types:  The preserve system supports a diverse assemblage of shrub habitats including several variants of coastal sage scrub, chamise chaparral, riparian woodlands, annual grasslands, and abandoned agricultural fields.

Management: Most of the species for which the conservation plan was created are found in sage scrub habitats, therefore the primary management objectives are aimed at protecting, enhancing and expanding the sage scrub communities.  Several species covered under the conservation plan are associated with vernal pools.  The vernal pools are found on Johnson Ranch where agricultural activities historically took place, therefore the management activities involve controlling erosion and non-native plants as the pools recover from heavy disturbance.  Other portions of the former agricultural fields are being converted back to sage scrub.  Experiments are being conducted to determine the best methods to use for converting agricultural fields into sage scrub, and monitoring programs are being implemented to track the condition of the various vegetation communities and vernal pool communities.  Prescribed fires have been implemented to reduce the cover of non-native annual grasses in the abandoned agricultural fields.

Public Access: Currently there is no public access to the preserve.  Plans are being devised to allow pedestrian access on trails within Roripaugh Ranch, and those plans are expected to eventually expand into Johnson Ranch.  The trails in Roripaugh Ranch and Johnson Ranch will also be, in part, available for equestrian use.

Manager: The preserve is managed by Kim Klementowski.

For information and inquiries please contact:

Kim Klementowski
Preserve Manager
Phone: (951) 226-7228

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