California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve Final Land Management Plan and Environmental Impact Report

Project Description

The project is a Land Management Plan for the approximately 5,200 acre Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve in northern Santa Barbara County, California. The property is owned by the State of California, administered by the State Lands Commission, and managed under a 49-year lease by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the lead agency for the project. The Land Management Plan guides management of habitats, species, and programs to achieve the CDFW's mission to protect and enhance wildlife values. It serves as a guide for appropriate public uses of the property, and provides a descriptive inventory of fish, wildlife, plants and habitats the reserve supports. It provides an overview of the property's operation and maintenance, and personnel requirements to implement management goals. It serves as a budget planning aid for annual regional budget preparation. It provides a description of potential and actual environmental impacts and subsequent mitigation which may occur during management, and contains environmental documentation to comply with state and federal statutes and regulations.

The Plan includes a fuel management plan for areas of the Reserve adjacent to the communities of Vandenberg Village, Mesa Oaks, and Mission Hills. Within the fuel management areas vegetation will be reduced, transitioning from sparse vegetative cover of shrubs adjacent to the urban edge, to that of naturally occurring density. The Land Management Plan also addresses access for wildfire response; retention of approximately 28 miles of trails; boundary fencing; interpretive signs; enforcement of regulations that prohibit bee keeping, unauthorized vehicles and equestrian use; phasing out farming and livestock grazing; habitat restoration; and protection of biological and cultural resources.

Planning Process

The planning process was guided by the general policy parameters that direct the Department, including compliance with all state and federal laws. The Department's mission, the purpose of ecological reserves, the purpose and history of the acquisition of Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve, and the purposes of land management plans, provided broad direction for the development of this plan and Environmental Impact Report (EIR). An environmental analysis pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has been conducted concurrently with plan development to identify the potential environmental impacts of operating the reserve under the provisions of this plan. As described in the Environmental Impact Report prepared for the plan under CEQA, implementing this plan would not have a significant impact on the environment. The EIR is included in the Plan as Appendix 8.

The Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve Draft Land Management Plan and Environmental Impact Report was released by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) on July 19, 2005. The public review and comment period extended from July 19, 2005, to September 9, 2005. A Public Meeting was held on July 21, 2005 at;

Lompoc City Hall
100 Civic Center Plaza
Lompoc, CA 93436

The Initial Study/Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was posted at the Lompoc Public Library and the Vandenberg Village Public Library in Lompoc, the CDFW Santa Barbara Field Office and on the CDFW's web page. It was also circulated to the following public agencies for review: Resources Agency; Regional Water Quality Control Board, Region 3; Department of Parks and Recreation; Native American Heritage Commission; Department of General Services; Office of Emergency Services; Office of Historic Preservation; Department of Forestry and Fire Protection; Department of Conservation; Caltrans, District 5; Caltrans, Division of Aeronautics; Department of Toxic Substances Control; and the State Lands Commission. One public agency responded with comments (Santa Barbara County).

Individuals and/or interest groups who commented on the Land Management Plan (LMP) and Environmental Impact Report (EIR), along with the subject area of their comments, are listed along with the CDFW's responses in Appendix 4 of the EIR. Comments were received via mailed letters, e-mails, and verbal comments or submitted comment cards received at the July 21st Public Meeting.

Any questions may be directed to:

Ms. Kari Lewis
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Wildlife Branch - Lands Program
1812 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 445-3789


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