Critical mule deer migration corridor conserved in western Nevada; public gains new access to southern Peterson RangeWASHOE COUNTY, NEVADA (08/17/2009)FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 18, 2009
Washoe County, NV – Today the American Land Conservancy (ALC) protected 650 acres of critical mule deer migratory habitat in western Nevada with the acquisition of the Green Gulch property in the southern Peterson Range. ALC conveyed the property to the Bureau of Land Management who will manage it for public recreation and conservation.
“Wildlife habitat in the southern Peterson Range has been the focus of conservation efforts for more than 12 years,” said Kerry O’Toole, president of ALC. “ALC is proud to have played a key role in conserving this outstanding habitat and creating new public recreation opportunities in western Nevada.”
BLM and other conservation partners such as the Mule Deer Foundation have worked since the mid-1990s to consolidate in-holdings within the southern Peterson Range to benefit the Toiyabe-Truckee-Sierra Valley mule deer herd. The two ridges of the southern mountain range converge on the Green Gulch property, which serves as a critical bottle neck in the migration corridor for up to 500 mule deer during peak fall migration.
“This property connects mule deer summer range in the Humbolt-Toiyabe National Forest with winter range habitat in both the Petersons and the Virginia Mountains,” said Chris McAlear, District Manager of BLM's Carson City District Office. “Including Green Gulch in the public domain is a very positive move that will benefit wildlife species for years to come.”
Existing state- and federally-protected habitat for the herd lies adjacent to the property: from the California Hallelujah Junction Wildlife Area 1/4 mile west, to the Peterson Mountain Natural Area 3 miles to the north.
In addition to providing critical mule deer corridor habitat, Green Gulch offers excellent outdoor recreation benefits. It provides stunning views from the highest southeastern point (6,700 ft) along the ridge above Border Town, encompassing Cold Springs, White Lake, Lemmon Valley, Peavine Mountain, and Reno. With new public access, the property will be a recreation thoroughfare for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, with easy access from nearby Border Town and Silver Lake.
“This property has tremendous community value as it provides new access to the Peterson Mountain Range,” said Doug Doolittle, Director of Washoe County Department of Regional Parks and Open Space. “As Washoe County continues to grow, it is important to protect and create new outdoor recreation areas but also ensure critical wildlife habitat is conserved. Green Gulch does both and will be a treasured resource for years to come.”
Green Gulch is also identified as winter habitat for the Greater Sage-Grouse, lies within BLM-designated Mountain Quail critical habitat, and has been found to harbor numerous clusters of Ames Milkvetch, an at-risk, sensitive plant species.
The Green Gulch project is part of ALC’s Great Basin Program, which has conserved more than 80,000 acres in Nevada and along the Eastern Sierra. The program aims to conserve additional open space, natural resources, critical habitat, and productive rangelands that remain at risk in the face of steady development pressure. For more information about ALC's Great Basin Program click here. For more information about BLM in Nevada, click here.