Basin and Range Watch, along with many supporters, friends, and fellow organizations, are nominating an Area of Critical Environmental Concern on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in the Piute Valley, Castle Mountains, Crescent Peak, New York Mountains, and McCullough Mountains of Nevada, along the border of California and the Mojave National Preserve and the new Castle Mountains National Monument. These lands are
primarily located in Clark County, Nevada and the biolblitz covers the "place" named Castle Mountains Nevada over roughly 38,000 acres in extent. As part of the reivsion of the BLM Southern Nevada Office Resource Management Plan, we are taking this opportunity to seek heightened conservation status for this area, which is threatened by urban development, mining, and the Crescent Peak Wind Project proposal.

The Castle Mountains contain a unique arid grassland community in both California and Nevada. This area contains rare stands of diverse C4 perennial grasslands west of the Colorado River, subtropical grasslands that are normally found in the Sonoran Desert uplands in Arizona and Mexico. Grass species common in this plant community flower and seed during the warm seasons of summer and fall, especially after strong monsoon rainfall events. Normally found in the Sonoran Region, and even as far east as the Great Plains, grasses such as Black grama (Boutelua eriopoda), Blue grama (B. gracilis), Sideoats grama (B. curtipendula), are found in this corner of the Mojave Desert uplands, ranging into a small area of adjacent California in the Castle Mountains National Monument and Mojave National Preserve. This arid summer monsoon grassland community grades below into diverse creosote scrub (Larrea tridentata) and above into blackbrush scrub (Coleogyne ramosissima) and one of the world’s largest Joshua tree woodlands (Yucca brevifolia), providing a
wide diversity of habitats for reptiles, birds, and mammals.

The new ACEC would be adjacent to the existing Piute-ElDorado Area of Critical Environmental Concern which was established to protect the desert tortoise. While the upper elevations of the ACEC are too high to be good tortoise habitat, the lower eastern half would be quite suitable and protect connectivity habitat for the species. The region also contains the highest known density of golden eagles in the region.

Very little work has been done here to document mammal diversity, bird species, reptiles, and insects. Botanical surveys have been done in adjacent California, but much more work needs to be done in Nevada.

Please join us in recording your observations of this diverse area, so that we may document the significance of this place and protect it.

For background and more information see:

Join us April 28-29 for the Bioblitz Launch!

Meet at noon on Saturday April 28, 2018 at the dirt parking area at Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness along Highway 164. From here we will head out to gather observations in the Castle Mountains Nevada "place" in iNaturalist. We'll look in Piute Valley, Castle Mountains, the New York Mountains, and McCullough Mountains over the weekend.

The Bioblitz will extend through the spring, summer, and fall, to capture observations after the monsoonal rainfall, and close in mid November. Feel free to visit the place and add your observations at any time.

Directions to Wee Thump:

The Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness is located between Searchlight, Nevada and Nipton, California. The wilderness sits just north of State Highway 164, which provides access to the southern border of the wilderness, and is anked to the west by the South McCullough Range and to the east by the Highland Range.

Wee Thump East Road leads north from State Highway 164, providing access to ...more ↓

Posted on April 02, 2018 04:50 PM by laura_cunningham-art laura_cunningham-art | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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