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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Carrizo Plain National Monument Gets More Land

Fox gets more room to safely roam on Carrizo Plain

About 200 acres of important habitat for the endangered kit fox is added to Carrizo Plain

By David Sneed -

(click on map to enlarge)

More than 200 acres have been added to the Carrizo Plain National Monument as part of a program to protect the endangered San Joaquin kit fox.

The federal Bureau of Land Management announced this week that three parcels totaling 222 acres within the monument have been purchased from two families for $118,500.

The parcels contain important habitat for kit foxes, one of a host of rare and endangered species found on the Carrizo Plain. Recent population surveys have found foxes on the acquired land, said Bob Stafford, wildlife biologist with the Department of Fish and Game.

Money for the purchases came from an innovative county program that pools mitigation fees that developers pay to build in or disturb kit fox habitat in the eastern half of the county.

The county’s kit fox fund, established in 2003, has thus far generated $250,000, which has been given to the BLM to purchase private in-holdings and add those to the monument.

Privately owned parcels are scattered throughout the 250,000-acre monument in the county’s southeastern corner. More purchases of in-holdings are planned, said Tom Maloney, project manager with The Nature Conservancy, which coordinates the kit fox program with the federal, state and county governments.

“By pooling mitigation fees and targeting high-quality habitat in key locations, we can ensure more effective conservation for the dollar,” Maloney said.

The program gives developers whose projects damage kit fox habitat the option of paying a fee into the kit fox fund rather than setting aside kit fox habitat elsewhere.

Projects that can participate in the kit fox program are any development that requires a discretionary permit from county planners, including subdivisions and lot-line adjustments. Major grading projects can also require contributions, said Julie Eliason, a county environmental resource specialist.

The Carrizo Plain is one of three places in the state considered vital for the survival of the diminutive San Joaquin kit fox. An estimated 500 to 600 kit foxes are found in arid inland portions of the Central Coast and San Joaquin Valley.

For information about the kit fox, go to

Map of Kit Fox habitat in San Luis Obispo County

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