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01 Jun 2022

Preserve Manager, South Coast – Center for Natural Lands Management

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Application deadline: Open until filled, but for fullest consideration, please apply no later than July 6, 2022

Position Summary and General Duties
The Preserve Manager – South Coast (South Coast PM) will be ultimately responsible for managing a portfolio of several preserves in CNLM’s South Coast Region, mostly concentrated in Los Angeles County. The portfolio currently contains one Preserve—Westridge Oak, a 167-acre preserve of valley oak savanna, California annual grassland, and coastal sage scrub within the City of Santa Clarita. In addition to the valley oak component—an increasingly rare vegetation type, this Preserve provides conditions to support the southern California rufous-crowned sparrow. CNLM has a conservation easement and full, perpetual management responsibilities for this Preserve.

In addition to management of Westridge Oak Preserve, initially the South Coast PM will be expected to actively participate in all aspects of CNLM’s preserve acquisition process for several new preserves that, when acquired, will comprise over 8,000 acres. The majority of the preserve property will be in Los Angeles County (possibly some in Ventura County) and generally west of Santa Clarita and Interstate 5, with some bordering the Santa Clara River. Currently in contract with the permittee of a large development project, CNLM’s preserve acquisitions are anticipated to occur in stages for three general areas. The first area expected to be protected by CNLM is property approximately 5,700 acres in size that stretches from a major ridge in the Santa Susana Mountains down to the Santa Clara River. This area will border large areas of natural lands to the west, south, and east. Much of the northern boundary will border residential development except in the northwest, where it will meet another area to be protected along the Santa Clara River. A trail system is also planned within this area. Major plant communities include coastal sage scrub, mixed chaparral, oak savanna/woodlands, and grassland. Significant numbers of oak trees are present on site as well as several special-status plant species including island mountain mahogany, Southern California black walnut, Parish’s big sagebrush, Plummer’s Mariposa lily, slender Mariposa lily, late-flowered Mariposa lily, and Peirson’s morning glory. The California horned lizard, a California species of special concern, has also been found on site.

Over time, two other areas will be protected as CNLM preserves – one encompassing approximately five miles of the Santa Clara River and associated floodplain. Special-status species known to occur in that area include the unarmored three-spine stickleback, arroyo chub, Santa Ana sucker, least Bell’s vireo, white-tailed kite, yellow warbler, yellow-breasted chat, two-striped garter snake, southwestern pond turtle, and western spadefoot toad. A public trail would also be provided along the northern boundary of the preserve.

The third area to be protected as a CNLM preserve includes a large natural area west of San Martinez Grande Canyon and several of the steeper canyons and ridges adjacent to the Santa Clara River. Plant communities mostly are composed of coastal sage scrub and grassland with localized areas of oak savanna and woodlands. A defining feature of this area is the endangered San Fernando Valley spineflower (Chorizanthe parryi ssp. fernandina). That species will be intensively managed, and management will be informed by considerable previous investment in determining appropriate monitoring and management techniques.

The South Coast PM will be an active member of CNLM’s “Valencia Acquisitions Team” that may include, at various times, the General Counsel, Director of Conservation Science and Stewardship, Director of Administration, South Coast Regional Manager, and Central California Regional Manager. Responsibilities will be expressed in diverse activities that could include writing or reviewing draft management plans, conducting site visits of the planned preserve areas, observing and commenting on any current management or monitoring activities, learning and then conducting analyses for long-term management costs using CNLM’s “PAR” app, meeting with the permittee and regulatory agencies along with CNLM staff, providing support for coordination of the acquisition, writing reports, and generally helping to ensure that CNLM is well positioned to manage the newly acquired preserve(s).

It is anticipated that, as new preserves are acquired, these will be added to the South Coast PM’s portfolio while he/she/they continue to participate in acquisitions. As the portfolio grows, new Preserve Managers will be hired to manage additional preserves and to also participate in acquisitions as long as needed. As such, the South Coast PM has the exciting opportunity to be positioned at the beginning of a major conservation project and to help shape the future of these preserves.

For the Westridge Oak Preserve, and for other preserves as they are acquired, the South Coast PM will be responsible for management at both landscape and population levels. Stewardship activities include occasional restoration or enhancement activities; integrated pest management including chemical control of exotics if needed and/or mechanical control; management of grazing activities; biological monitoring; revising management plans; preparing annual budgets, work plans, and reports; analyzing data as needed; and active engagement of regulatory agency personnel and other collaborators and contractors needed for specialized services. Any public trails on CNLM’s preserves, even if not CNLM’s direct responsibility, will require coordination with others and monitoring to ensure compatibility with the protection of the onsite natural resources.

The South Coast PM will provide resource management in accordance with the conservation values and regulatory requirements of the Preserves, CNLM’s stewardship standards and practices (which also reflect and exceed Land Trust Accreditation Commission standards), and the preserve-specific management plans. This position requires maintenance of a home office for which CNLM provides a stipend. A company vehicle may be provided at management’s discretion. There is a considerable degree of autonomy (and responsibility) associated with this position because of CNLM’s organizational structure which focuses on preserve management rather than high levels of administration and supervision. In addition to the management of this portfolio of preserves, the South Coast PM will contribute to CNLM’s expertise and documentation of ‘best management practices’ for managing rare and protected plant and animal species. He/she/they will participate in internal and external stewardship and conservation science events and, as needed, participate in the acquisition of new preserves.

Download job description here.