Dec. 13, 2019 — Did you know that it’s nearly impossible to replicate sage grouse habitat? These seasonably vocal, magnificent birds require habitat under very specific conditions and are strident about returning to the same location every year.
Why are we telling you this? Because The Wilderness Land Trust has closed on two properties totaling 960-acres in California’s Eastern Sierra. This land provides vital habitat for sage grouse and other species in the rare and diverse Sagebrush steppe that is vastly under-represented in the National Wilderness Preservation System. It also contains a critical water source for all wildlife in the surrounding area.
The properties are located in the Bodie Hills, adjacent and integral to three Wilderness Study Areas – Bodie Mountain, Mount Beideman and Mormon Meadows.
Next steps include partnering with the Eastern Sierra Land Trust on sage grouse habitat restoration before transferring this land to public ownership under the management of the Bureau of Land Management.
Bodie Hills Habitat Facts
- The Bodie Hills are filled with a diversity of species because of water, which is scarce overall in this landscape, but plentiful in a few distinct areas.
- The properties secured by The Wilderness Land Trust control plentiful and critical water for this region.
- Lek habitat includes openings in the sagebrush landscape that host nesting sites. Lek habitat and broodrearing have been identified on these properties. Lek habitat for sage grouse is rare and nearly impossible to duplicate, and the sage grouse habitat quality provided by these properties is exceptional.
- This land is home to significant plant species, including sagebrush, riparian and Aspen groves, and pinyon pine woodland. Plants identified here include more than 450 Species in 73 families.
- The Bodie Hills provide habitat for a variety of species including pronghorn antelope, black bear, pikas and pygmy rabbits, mountain lions, mule deer, golden eagles and sage grouse.
- The watersheds in the Bodie Hills are important tributaries to Mono Lake and the East Walker River.