Lopez Lake is a large reservoir located in the hills northeast of the Arroyo Grande/Pismo Beach area of the Central Coast. It is fed by several creeks, including Arroyo Grande Creek, which enters from the east and continues its flow southwest from Lopez Canyon Dam. The mountains just east of the lake feature rock outcrops and rugged canyons of mixed evergreen woodland and dense chaparral. The ownership is complex, with the county of San Luis Obispo managing the lake and immediate vicinity, and the US Forest Service (USFS) dominating the woodland and chaparral habitats to the east. The mature riparian habitat along Arroyo Grande Creek to the west lies mainly on private property, though some of this habitat may be found on public land on the southeast side of the lake within Biddle Park (San Luis Obispo Co. Parks).

Ornithological Summary

This area supports an exceptional diversity of breeding birds, including one of the largest known populations of Yellow-breasted Chat in the county, as well as good numbers of other riparian-obligate species such as Swainson's Thrush and Yellow Warbler. The canyon-lands to the north and east support American Dipper, rare in the Coast Range, as well as Spotted and Long-eared owls, and summering montane birds such as Olive-sided Flycatcher and Western Tanager. A massive cliff face known as Huff's Hole north of the lake (now within the Santa Lucia Wilderness Area) was a traditional nesting site for California Condor, which disappeared shortly after the filling of the lake. Prairie and, irregularly, Peregrine falcons continue to breed in the area. Clarks and Western Grebes breed at the lake, and Osprey are considered likely breeders.

Conservation Issues

There are no threats at this time.

Ownership

The ownership is complex, with the county of San Luis Obispo managing the lake and immediate vicinity, and the US Forest Service (USFS) dominating the woodland and chaparral habitats to the east. The mature riparian habitat along Arroyo Grande Creek to the west lies mainly on private property, though some of this habitat may be found on public land on the southeast side of the lake within Biddle Park (San Luis Obispo Co. Parks).

Habitat

Lopez Lake is a large reservoir located in the hills northeast of the Arroyo Grande/Pismo Beach area of the Central Coast. It is fed by several creeks, including Arroyo Grande Creek, which enters from the east and continues its flow southwest from Lopez Canyon Dam. The mountains just east of the lake feature rock outcrops and rugged canyons of mixed evergreen woodland and dense chaparral.

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