Great Valley Grasslands State Park
|Great Valley Grasslands State Park|
|Location||Merced County, California, USA|
|Nearest city||Gustine, California|
|Area||2,826 acres (1,144 ha)|
|Governing body||California Department of Parks and Recreation|
Great Valley Grasslands State Park is a state park of California, USA, preserving a parcel of remnant native grassland in the San Joaquin Valley. Such a temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome was once widespread throughout the whole Central Valley. The 2,826-acre (1,144 ha) park was established in 1982. Largely undeveloped, it was formed by combining two former state park units: San Luis Island and Fremont Ford State Recreation Area. Its chief attractions for visitors are spring wildflowers, fishing, and wildlife watching.
Grassland Ecological Area
The park is part of the larger Grasslands Ecological Area (GEA) of federal, state and private lands all managed for wildlife refuge values. The GEA represents the largest remaining contiguous habitat block of wetlands remaining in all California. The GEA is north of the Grasslands Wildlife Management Area.
Flora and fauna
- In the grasslands habitat and plant community they include:
- In the flood plain of the San Joaquin River and in vernal pools, from biologists' reports, they include:
- California Tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense) — an amphibian endemic to Northern California, a listed vulnerable species
- Vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi) — a fairy shrimp endemic to the vernal pools of Oregon and California, a listed endangered species
- San Joaquin tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi) — a tadpole shrimp endemic to California, endangered because of its limited distribution and habitat destruction
Proposed for closure
Great Valley Grasslands State Park was one of 48 California state parks proposed for closure in January 2008 as part of a deficit reduction program. Those closures were ultimately avoided by cutting hours and maintenance system-wide.
- California State Park System Statistical Report: Fiscal Year 2009/10. California State Parks. p. 18. Retrieved 2012-01-23.
- "Grasslands Trail". California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-01-23.
- "Great River Grasslands SP". California State Parks. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- "Grassland Ecological Area". Our Los Banos. 2007-03-24. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- "Grassland Ecological Area Enhancement and Restoration Project". Cooperative Conservation America. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- McGreevy, Patrick; Sahagun, Louis (2009-09-26). "State parks to stay open, but with cuts in hours, staffing". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, Calif.). Retrieved 2011-12-30.