Supporting a World-Class Public Research University
University of California, Merced | Merced, CA
Construction of the tenth campus of the University of California system was initiated in Merced in 2002, and encompasses over 800 acres for campus development and approximately 6,500 acres of conservation lands (the Merced Vernal Pools and Grasslands Reserve) that are managed and preserved by UC Merced in perpetuity under a conservation easement. The Reserve lands serve to address mitigation requirements resulting from the development of the Campus and contribute to the regional conservation of San Joaquin kit fox and eastern Merced County vernal pool ecosystems. These lands also play an important role as grazing lands in the agricultural economy of Merced County.
LSA is assisting UC Merced in meeting their resource management objectives at the Reserve, including the interpretation and implementation of the existing Management Plan, as well as providing ongoing permitting and construction monitoring assistance for the current 2020 Campus expansion project. Specific services associated with the Merced Vernal Pools and Grasslands Reserve have included surveys and reporting for rare plants (succulent owl’s clover, Colusa grass, and San Joaquin Orcutt grass), California tiger salamander, and special-status vernal pool crustaceans; residual dry matter monitoring and grazing management recommendations; invasive plant surveys and abatement recommendations; artificial San Joaquin kit fox den installation monitoring and associated preconstruction surveys for cultural resources; and revisions to the management plan and annual report preparation. LSA’s services have also included the preparation of documentation in support of a conservation easement on an adjacent Merced County-owned wetland mitigation property and, under contract to a different client in Merced, the development of a wetland restoration and enhancement plan for the Yosemite Lake Conservation Area property, which will provide approximately 25 acres of re-established vernal pools to address wetland mitigation requirements for UC Merced. LSA continues to provide on-call GIS services to the Campus.