Spenceville Wildlife Area, Nevada and Yuba Counties, California

Created 11 March 2008
This page updated 22 August 2008
All photographs copyrighted by David L. Magney 1993-2008

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Spenceville Wildlife Area, a 11,026-acre wildlife preserve located on the western edge of Nevada County and eastern edge of Yuba County, is a valuable area of natural habitat surrounded by rural development.   It is owned and managed by the California Department of Fish and Game.  

Spenceville Wildlife Area sign

A number of dirt roads and even more trails provides yearround access to the streams and hills of the preserve.   Spenceville was first settled by European (American) miners, searching for and mining gold and mostly copper.   It was the copper mine at Spenceville that gave life to the former community, now entirely gone.   However, the tailings from the played-out mine linger, and many taxpayer dollars are spent to contain, clean up, and reclaim the mine.

Spenceville Wildlife Area is located in the western foothills of the northern Sierra Nevada.   Spenceville Wildlife Area is located in the northern part of the Sierra Nevada Foothills floristic province, adjacent to the Sacramento Valley floristic province.   Spenceville is dominated by mixed conifer forest and oak woodlands, California Annual Grassland, and riparian woodlands along the streams, such as perennial Dry Creek.   See the Friends of Spenceville website for more information.

The Spenceville flora (a checklist of plants) of the wildlife area consists of approximately 275 vascular plant taxa (including subspecies and varieties), complemented by lichens and bryophytes (mosses, liverworts, and hornworts).   The flora is primarily holoarctic in floristic makeup, with a nearly direct topographic link to the Sierra Nevada on the east.   The flora is also influenced by the Madro-tertiary flora from the south.   Of the 275 vascular plants on the checklist, 240 (87.3%) are native and 35 taxa (12.7%) are nonnative, significantly better than that for the flora of California as a whole, which has a 75%:25% native:nonnative ratio.   This ratio tells us that the natural habitats have been little disturbed by human influences compared to many other areas of California.   Very few vouchers for the vascular plant flora have been collected and deposited into public herbaria from the Spenceville Wildlife Area.   No surveys of the lichen or bryophyte floras of the wildlife area have been conducted, that I am aware of anyway.

Map of Spenceville Wildlife Area
CDFG Map of Spenceville Wildlife Area

Spenceville Photographs

Each photo label can be viewed by holding the cursor over the picture.
entrance regulations sign Spenceville grassland and woodland habitats in late winter Spenceville mine bridge Spenceville mine bridge over mine creek burned Spenceville bridge on Dry Creek burned Spenceville bridge on Dry Creek Dry Creek Video clip of Dry Creek, 18 February 2008 Dry Creek Dry Creek pool
Dry Creek riparian habitat Blue Oak Woodland Dry Creek riparian woodland Dry Creek floodplain Lamium amplexicaule, Henbit, Lamiaceae Lamium amplexicaule, Henbit, Lamiaceae Sandspurry Sandspurry Crassula connata Crassula connata Quercus wislizenii frutescens Quercus wislizenii frutescens leaves Juncus balticus mexicanus Juncus balticus mexicanus Erodium botrys Erodium botrys Aesculus californicus buds Aesculus californicus new leaves 18 February 2008 Lonicera subspicata var. denudata Lonicera subspicata var. denudata Selaginella hansenii Selaginella hansenii Schizachyrium scaparium Schizachyrium scaparium Geranium Geranium Ceanothus cuneatus Ceanothus cuneatus flowers
Verbascum thapsus Verbascum thapsus Verbascum blattaria
Typha domingensis Typha domingensis Typha domingensis windblown tree, downed January 2008 windblown tree, downed January 2008 Rock Tripe lichen Rock Tripe lichen Coriolus versicolor Coriolus versicolor Rumex crispus Achillea millifolium Western Fence Lizard Verbena bonariensis

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