When it comes to wildlife, the Feather River Watershed is one of the most species-rich regions in the Sierra Nevada. Sierra Valley alone has more than 232 species of birds, including Greater Sandhill Cranes, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, and White-faced Ibis.

White-faced Ibis in Sierra Valley by Andy Wright

Conserving and managing the diverse habitats that sustain them require research and expertise. In addition to the expertise within FRLT's Stewardship Team, we partner with experts like California Naturalist Kristi Jamason, who provides consistent and ongoing field monitoring for the Sierra Valley Preserve, including managing wildlife cameras, assisting with wildlife and plant surveys, and monitoring biological and cultural resources. 

We also partner with organizations like Plumas Audubon Society (PAS). Since 2013, FRLT has partnered with biologists and wildlife ecologists at PAS to conduct annual bird surveys in the channels at the Sierra Valley Preserve, and monitor bird species diversity and density at Heart K Ranch in Genesee Valley. These data are proving invaluable for helping FRLT's Stewardship Program take care of the lands you help conserve. 

Plumas Audubon recently completed two studies spanning 2013-2017 on FRLT's Sierra Valley Preserve focused on wildlife/avian surveys, habitat mapping, and stewardship recommendations to sustain native birds and wildlife. The studies highlighted threatened/endangered/sensitive species and those that use the preserve for breeding and nesting.

Sandhill Cranes with their colts in Sierra Valley by Andy Wright


During their 2013-2107 surveys, Plumas Audubon documented the following:

Bird Species: 98 

Mammal Species: 17

Amphibians/Reptiles/ Fish: 9

Butterfly Species: 10

Bird Species of Special Concern or CA Threatened species: 13

  • American White Pelican

  • Black-crowned Night Heron

  • Black Tern

  • Greater White-fronted Goose

  • Loggerhead Shrike

  • Northern Harrier

  • Swainson's Hawk (California Threatened status)

  • Redhead

  • Short-eared Owl

  • Sandhill Crane (California Threatened status)

  • Vesper Sparrow

  • Bank Swallow (California Threatened status)

  • Yellow-headed Blackbird

Bird Species designated as "Climate Threatened or Endangered": 53

Stewardship Recommendations

Key stewardship recommendations include (1) enhancing favorable habitats such as alkali/mudflats for feeding shorebirds and waterfowl and upland sagebrush for a complex diversity of raptors and songbirds, (2) containing/reducing the threat of invasive species like bulbous bluegrass and cheatgrass, (3) managing the location and timing of public access such as kayaking during breeding and nesting season and (4) developing signage and interpretive materials for youth and the public.

Short-eared Owl in Sierra Valley by Kristi Jamason

Planning for Climate Change: A seven year study by the National Audubon Society identifies 314 species of North American birds that are the most vulnerable to loss of habitat due to climate change. Fifty-three of the 98 species identified on the Sierra Valley Preserve during 2103-2017 are identified by the National Audubon Society as "Climate Threatened or Endangered." 

The Plumas Audubon report recommends options for assessment and adaptation planning for stewardship of the Preserve to protect important habitat in the face of climate change.

Your Support Makes It Possible

Whether it's managing riparian fencing in Sierra Valley, thinning 120 acres of Heart K Ranch forests to prevent wildfire and enhance habitat, addressing noxious weeds, or planning recreation at Olsen Barn Meadow, surveying and monitoring wildlife populations help us plan and implement land stewardship activities so they benefit a wild diversity of life. Thank you for making good land stewardship possible!

Photo credits: (1) White-faced Ibis, Andy Wright/Lighthawkphoto; (2) Sandhill Cranes with their colts, Andy Wright/LightHawkPhoto; (3) Short-eared Owl, Kristi Jamason

Friday, February 9, 2018