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Wildlife & Plants

Federally endangered plants & wildlife

The federal Endangered Species Act protects more than 1,200 different plant and animal species that are on the brink of extinction. The Los Padres provides habitat for 26 of these protected species, more than any other national forest in California.

Species classified as endangered (E) are in danger of extinction, and species classified as threatened (T) is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. Candidate (C) species have declined to such a level that they qualify for endangered or threatened status, but the federal agency in charge of officially adding them to the list has not yet done so.


Giant kangaroo rat (E)
San Joaquin kit fox (E)
Southern sea otter (T)
Steller sea lion (T)


California least tern (E)
California spotted owl (Petitioned)
Western snowy plover (T)
Marbled murrelet (T)
California condor (E)
Southwestern willow flycatcher (E)
Least bell’s vireo (E)
Yellow-billed cuckoo (PT)


Arroyo toad (E)
California red-legged frog (T)
Blunt-nosed leopard lizard (E)
Western spadefoot toad (Petitioned)
Foothill yellow-legged frog (Petitioned)


Santa Ana sucker (T)
Tidewater goby (E)
South-central steelhead (T)
Southern California steelhead (E)


Smith’s Blue Butterfly (E)
Conservancy fairy shrimp (E)
Longhorn fairy shrimp (E)
Vernal pool fairy shrimp (T)
Kern primrose sphinx moth (T)


Camatta Canyon amole (T)
San Luis Obispo fountain thistle (E)
Southern mountain wild-buckwheat (T)
Kern mallow (E)
San Joaquin woolly-threads (poss.) (E)
California jewelflower (poss.) (E)

Sensitive species

In addition to the federally-protected plants and animals listed above, the Los Padres National Forest is also home to an additional 92 “sensitive” species. The population viability of these species is a concern due to current or predicted downward trends in population numbers or habitat capability. Whenever the Forest Service undertakes or approves an activity on public lands, officials are required by law to avoid or minimize impacts to these sensitive species.

The “sensitive species” found in the Los Padres National Forest are:


Bald eagle
Brown pelican
California Spotted Owl
Northern goshawk
Peregrine falcon
Swainson’s hawk
Willow flycatcher


Mt. Pinos lodgepole chipmunk
Tehachapi white-eared pocket mouse
Townsend’s big-eared bat
Pallid bat
Western red bat
Fringed myotis


Pacific pond turtle
California legless lizard
San Bernardino ringneck snake
Southern rubber boa
Two-striped garter snake
Foothill yellow-legged frog
Lesser slender salamander
San Simeon slender salamander
Yellow-blotched salamander


Arroyo chub
Santa Ana speckled dace
Pacific lamprey


Monarch butterfly
San Emigdio blue butterfly (Petitioned for Listing)


Arroyo de la Cruz manzanita
Bishop manzanita
Hoover’s manzanita
Little Sur manzanita
Santa Lucia manzanita
Santa Margarita manzanita
Refugio manzanita
San Luis mariposa lily
San Luis Obispo mariposa lily
Palmer’s mariposa lily
Late-flowered mariposa lily
Club-haired mariposa lily
Slender mariposa lily
Small-flowered calycadenia
Dwarf western rosinweed
San Luis Obispo sedge
Santa Barbara jewelflower
Blakeley’s spineflower
San Luis Obispo spineflower
Prickly spineflower
San Fernando Valley spineflower
Monterey larkspur
Mt. Pinos larkspur
Umbrella larkspur
Yellow woollystar
Butterworth’s buckwheat
Southern alpine buckwheat
Fort Tejon woolly sunflower
Talus fritillary
Ojai fritillary
San Benito fritillary
Fragrant fritillary
Cone Peak bedstraw
Hardham’s bedstraw
Santa Lucia bedstraw
Pale-yellow layia
Jones’s layia
San Luis Obispo lupine
Carmel Valley malacothrix
Flax-like monardella
Palmer’s monardella
Baja pincushionplant
Rock Creek broomrape
Dudley’s lousewort
Meager pygmydaisy
Hooked popcornflower
Nuttall’s scrub oak
Adobe sanicle
Cuesta Pass checkerbloom
Hickman’s checkerbloom
Parish’s checkerbloom
Southern jewelflower
Most beautiful jewelflower
Santa Ynez false lupine
Santa Lucia fir
Abrams’ oxytheca
Hoover’s bentgrass
Hickman’s onion
Mt. Pinos onion
Smooth baccharis
Dwarf goldenstar
Hardham’s evening-primrose
Muir’s tarplant
Mojave Indian paintbrush
Lemmon’s wild cabbage
Dwarf soaproot
Jolon clarkia
San Gabriel alumroot
Pumice alpinegold
California satintail
Santa Barbara honeysuckle
Bush mallow
Peninsular beargrass
Cook’s triteleia
Caperfruit tropidocarpum
Goosefoot yellow violet
Kellogg’s horkelia
Mesa horkelia
Santa Lucia horkelia
California saw-grass
Tear drop moss
Shevock’s copper moss
Kellman’s bristle moss
Santa Lucia dwarf rush
Ross’ pitcher sage
Ojai navarettia
Urn-flowered alumroot
Chickweed starry puncturebract
San Bernardino aster
Sonoran maiden fern

Other Species of Interest

California black bear
Coast redwood
Matilija poppy
Pronghorn antelope
Tule elk
Yellow-billed magpie
Yucca + yucca moth

Management indicator species

Management Indicator Species (“MIS”) are plants and animals that are monitored by the U.S. Forest Service because they indicate the effects of land use activities on the Los Padres National Forest. When monitoring indicates that their populations are declining, the Forest Service knows to make adjustments to how it manages the area. The Los Padres National Forest contains twelve MIS, including:

Mountain lion
Mule deer
Arroyo toad
Song sparrow
Blue oak
Engelmann oak
Valley oak
Bigcone Douglas-fir
Coulter pine
California spotted owl
California black oak
California white fir

California fully protected species

The State of California has classified certain wildlife species as “Fully Protected,” which means that they may not be killed or “taken” at any time. The classification of Fully Protected was the State’s initial effort in the 1960s to identify and provide additional protection to those animals that were rare or faced possible extinction.

Unarmored threespine stickleback
Blunt-nosed leopard lizard
American peregrine falcon
California brown pelican
California condor
California least tern
Golden eagle
Greater sandhill crane
Southern bald eagle
White-tailed kite
Bighorn sheep
Ring-tailed cat
Southern sea otter
Northern elephant seal