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Ben Lomond Wallflower
Ben Lomond Wallflower

Mount Hermon June Beetle
Mount Hermon June Beetle

Silverleaf Manzanita
Silverleaf Manzanita

Band-winged Grasshopper
Band-winged Grasshopper

Ben Lomond Spineflower
Ben Lomond Spineflower

Ben Lomond buckwheat
Ben Lomond buckwheat
Zayante Sandhills Conservation Bank

The Zayante Sandhills Service Area
Service Area

Ways Landowners in the Sandhills Can Help Preserve Their Unique Natural Community

1. Leave as much native vegetation on the property as possible.

2. Minimize the amount of landscaping. For areas that must be landscaped, use native species from a local seed source. Avoid use of non-native invasive species. Avoid planting with turf grass.

3. Avoid conducting landscaping activities during the Mount Hermon June beetle flight season (i.e., May 15 to August 15).

4. Minimize night-lighting during the Mount Hermon June beetle flight season.

5. Plan your landscaping to ensure fire protection measures are consistent with the long-term maintenance of the natural communities. For example:
    a. Selectively thin existing vegetation so fuel is not continuous.
    b. Mow (instead of disc) herbaceous vegetation for fuel control.
6. Leave snag trees on the property if they are not a hazard. These provide homes for woodpeckers and other birds.

7. If development of the property has been permitted, consider clustering structures, situating building sites to preserve native plant populations and large ponderosa pines, and timing construction to limit erosion.

8. For lands with high biological value, consider granting a conservation easement to a local land conservancy.


The Zayante Sandhills (Felton Quad) Service Area
Preserving Native Biodiversity in the Santa Cruz Sandhills

Felton Quad


Do You Live In The Sandhills?

If you live in the Felton Quad area, property owners with a federally threatened or endangered species on their property will need to meet local, state, and Federal regulatory requirements. Because Santa Cruz County harbors a number species that are provided Federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, many private landowners are in need of an incidental take permit (ITP) to legally conduct activities that would result in death or harm of those species. This is very evident in the Sandhills area of Santa Cruz County where many landowners are conducting ground disturbing activities that may kill or harm the Mount Hermon June beetle.

To comply with the Endangered Species Act, we advise all private landowners in this situation to prepare a habitat conservation plan (HCP) and apply for an ITP. We recognize the development of an HCP and application for an ITP is difficult, time-consuming, and costly for landowners to endure. Thus, we have recommended that the City of Scotts Valley and the County of Santa Cruz develop a regional HCP to accommodate a number of activities that would result in loss or harm of listed species under their jurisdiction.

However, development of a regional HCP will take time…an estimated three to five years before completion. In the meantime, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the County of Santa Cruz and the City of Scotts Valley are developing an interim-programmatic HCP (IPHCP) for the Mount Hermon June Beetle, Ben Lomond wallflower, and Ben Lomond spineflower to be used for small development projects proposed in the sandhills region for areas within existing, dense residential development.

Many landowners will have the opportunity to participate in this IPHCP rather than having to develop one themselves if their projects fit into the eligible criteria (probably) based on zoning, acreage, nature of development, etc. For these participants, an in-lieu-fee payment will be required mitigation for their ground disturbing projects that result in take and loss of habitat.

Zayante Sandhills Habitat

The Zayante soils in the vicinity of the communities of Ben Lomond, Felton, Mount Hermon, Zayante, and Scotts Valley are dominated by maritime coast range ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forest and northern maritime chaparral. The distributions of these two plant communities overlap to form a complex and intergrading mosaic of communities variously referred to as "ponderosa sand parkland", "ponderosa pine sandhills", and "silver-leafed manzanita (Arctostaphylos silvicola) mixed chaparral". These communities are collectively referred to as "Zayante sandhills habitat" and harbor a diversity of rare and endemic plant species. A unique habitat within the Zayante sandhills is sand parkland, characterized by sparsely vegetated, sandstone-dominated ridges, and saddles that support scattered ponderosa pines and a wide array of annual and perennial herbs and grasses.

Historically, Zayante sandhills habitat was estimated to have covered 6,265 acres (Lee 1994). When the Mount Hermon June beetle was listed as an endangered species in January, 1997, an estimated 40 percent of its habitat had been lost and only 3,608 acres remained. Today, even less Sandhills habitat remains mostly due to residential development.

Zayante Soils

The Mount Hermon June Beetle, Zayante band-winged grasshopper, Ohlone Tiger Beetle, Ben Lomond spineflower, Ben Lomond wallflower, and Scotts Valley polygonum occur in association with the Zayante soil series (USDA Soil Conservation Service 1980). These soils occur on sloping to very steep hills formed in marine and wind modified marine sediments and soft sandstone formations. Elevations range from 250 to 1,500 feet. Zayante soils are generally deep, coarse-textured, poorly developed, and well-drained.



















Site Assessment Qualified Biologists:

Entomological Consulting Services, Ltd.
104 Mountain View Court
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523-2188
Richard A. Arnold, Ph.D.
Phone: 925-825-3784

Jodi M. McGraw, Ph.D.
Population and Community Ecologist
PO Box 883
Boulder Creek, CA 95006
Phone: (831) 338-1990

More Information:

  • How To Permit Projects in the Sandhills

  • Submit your property information

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