North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve
|North Table Mountain
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
|Location||Butte County, northern California|
|Area||13,315 acres (53.88 km2)|
|Established||August 23, 1993|
|Governing body||California Department of Fish and Game|
The North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve is a nature reserve of 3,315 acres (13.42 km2) located three miles (5 km) north of Oroville, Butte County, in the US state of California. The land was acquired by the state in October, 1993 to preserve and protect the rare Northern Basalt Flow Vernal Pools habitat type that supports sensitive plants and animals that are either locally endemic or unique to California. Northern Basalt Flow Vernal Pools habitat is found in only four localities within the state.
Sensitive plant and animal species that occur on the preserve include Butte County meadowfoam (Limnanthes floccosa ssp. californica), Red Bluff dwarf rush (Juncus leiospermus var. leiospermus), and California horned lizard (Phrynosoma coronatumfrontale).
In 2003, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) added North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve to the list of reserves under Title 14, California Code of Regulations, with special regulations that prohibit horses and bicycles from entering the reserve, but allows the department to issue livestock grazing permits, and also allows deer and upland game hunting with seasonal restrictions. Since hunting is not normally permitted on ecological reserves, the special regulations are necessary so that DFG can determine when this public use is appropriate and will cause no impacts to protected species and habitat.
Time and erosion have split the volcanic plateau of Table Mountain into two sections, north and south. There are smaller ravines as well that support various types of oak, madrone and California buckeye and bay trees. The top expanse has grasslands with lichen-covered rocks. The winter/spring rains recharge the vernal pools and create waterfalls and wildflower displays.