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For Immediate Use                                                                                               Contact: Alison Sheehey, (760) 378-2531
February 5, 2010                                                                                                             

601-acres Along Kelso Creek and Piute Mountain Road Protected

Weldon, CA – In January, Audubon completed the purchase of the last two parcels needed to finalize the protection of 601-acres of riparian and desert habitat along Kelso Creek just upstream from our 156-acre Kelso Creek Sanctuary. It took a long time to close escrow but National Audubon’s real estate and legal staff worked diligently to clear up problems and complete the purchase. This purchase was funded by a private donor that prefers to remain anonymous.

We are currently working to transfer these parcels to the Bureau of Land Management where the land will never be developed but remain open to the public for non-motorized recreation. In fact, parcels north of Piute Mountain Road or about 75% of the land will be added to the adjoining Bright Star Wilderness Area.

Kelso Creek’s north-south orientation makes it a very important migratory pathway for songbirds, raptors and bats as they fly through this area on their annual migrations. The properties Audubon has protected have cottonwood/willow forest, Mojave Desert scrub and very nice Joshua tree woodlands. Brown-crested Flycatcher, Great Horned Owl, Scott's Oriole, Long-eared Owl, Ladder-backed Woodpecker and Pinyon Jay have been seen on the sanctuary along with many other species. See the plant and bird lists from this and our other Kern Valley Sanctuaries on our website.

Find the remote Kelso Creek Sanctuary about 15-miles south of the Kern River Preserve on Kelso Valley Road. It is open to the public. However, the Sanctuary can be difficult to locate and there are no formal trails but there is a walk through gate and some paths to follow. Staff, volunteers and local birding guides bring groups through the area on tours, especially on their way out to Butterbredt Springs or to see desert wildflowers in the spring.

The original Kelso Creek Sanctuary, purchased in 1999 will be retained by Audubon to continue to act as our focal point for further conservation work in the area. In fact, we are currently working to secure funding to protect several additional properties with outstanding qualities and that would further enhance the overall protection of this important area. §

Kelso Creek Sanctuary Bird Checklist     Piute Fire photos     Flora Kelso Creek Sanctuary     Kelso Creek Sanctuary Purchase     Audubon California protects Kelso Creek Watershed     Audubon Brightstar Wilderness Addition

About Audubon Kern River Preserve
The Kern River Preserve is managed by Audubon California for the preservation of one of California’s largest contiguous cottonwood-willow riparian forests and the wildlife it supports.

Audubon Kern River Preserve supporters provide financial and volunteer support for Preserve outreach, education, wildlife habitat protection & stewardship.

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