Audubon California acquired the 6,800-acre Bobcat Ranch in 2007, as part of its ongoing effort to support and encourage the conservation and restoration of blue oak woodlands and rangelands in California. The acquisition has helped us learn first-hand the challenges and opportunities for managing rangeland in a way that is both economically and ecologically sustainable. With the support of many partners in government agencies and the ranching community, staff at Bobcat Ranch are developing infrastructure to allow for better management of cattle, while continuing the restoration work begun in 2003. Our objective for Bobcat Ranch is for it to become a hub of research, conservation, education and outreach for conservation practitioners, ranchers, and the public. Our ultimate goal is to use Bobcat Ranch to promote regenerative and restorative land management practices on working ranches throughout California.
Bobcat Ranch hosts a rich blend of important habitats, including Blue Oak Woodland, native perennial grassland, annual grassland, seasonal wetland and Chaparral. The Ranch is home to a variety of bird species, including Lark Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Golden Eagle, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Oak Titmouse, Burrowing Owl, Nuttall’s Woodpecker and Yellow-billed Magpie. Mammal species include Bobcat, Mountain Lion, Black-tailed Deer, American Badger and Black Bear. A full list of bird species can be found here:
Audubon Bobcat Ranch is an important conservation anchor, adjoining the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, a 330,780 acre matrix of private and public lands. Also nearby are the 27,000-acre Blue Ridge BLM lands, the Department of Fish and Game’s Putah Creek Wildlife Area and University of California’s Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve, and Cahill Reserve.
Over the past decade, Audubon California, with the support of its partners, has restored hundreds of acres of perennial native grassland on Bobcat Ranch. We have fenced out spring-fed wetlands to enhance wetland habitat and protect water quality, and have more wetland restoration projects planned. Along lower Dry Creek, which starts on Bobcat Ranch and flows down through other ranches to Putah Creek, we’ve established nine acres of riparian forest, and upstream we have planted a mile and a half of Dry Creek with native forbs, shrubs and trees to restore the historically degraded riparian areas on the Ranch. We are also working on projects to test and implement grazing management that improves habitat, including installing new cattle exclusion fences that either keep cattle out of sensitive areas or allow us to better manage grazing in those areas.
We promote research partnerships and projects at the Ranch, especially ones designed to inform sustainable rangeland management. In recent years we have worked with researchers from UC Davis and other academic institutions to better understand grassland restoration, blue oak recruitment, and the role of native perennial grasses in the development of soil communities. We are actively seeking partners to carry out additional research focused on rangeland management to improve its value as wildlife habitat and its delivery of vital ecosystem services, including water quality, carbon sequestration, and pollination.
While access is by permission only, the Ranch hosts more than 450 visitors annually. Visitors include University classes, youth, agencies, birders, ranchers, farmers and hunters. Guests participate in a myriad of activities and workshops held at the Ranch.
For more information, or to schedule a tour, email the Ranch Manager, Dash Weidhofer:
Audubon supporter, chapter leader, board member, and volunteer, Ann Brice, is a committed voice for conservation in the Central Valley.
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