The California Wildlife Conservation Board voted unanimously last week to approve $1,385,000 toward acquisition of the Desert Springs in Kern County, roughly 1,415 acres.
Kerncrest Audubon Society and Kern Audubon Society led this conservation effort for Audubon with partners at Trust for Public Lands, Mojave Desert Land Trust, and Kern River Valley Heritage Foundation. The chapters submitted a grant request to Audubon California which provided $100,000 of seed funding toward the $1,385,000 needed to acquire the land. This early dedication of private funding from Audubon California's Wimberly Fund was very important in helping Trust for Public Lands to secure the required public funds through the California Wildlife Conservation Board. Ownership and management will now be taken by The Mojave Desert Land Trust and Kern River Valley Heritage Foundation.
These Desert Springs are located in the Southern Sierra Desert Canyons Important Bird Area and the Jawbone Butterbredt Area of Critical Environmental Concern managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Frog and Tunnel Springs are adjacent to Audubon’s Kelso Creek Sanctuary and the Audubon Bright Star Wilderness Addition. Desert Springs in this area are known to attract hundreds if not thousands of migrant birds during spring migration as they cross the Mojave Desert and begin to enter the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Water in the desert is also critical to many resident species of wildlife that come from mile around when needed, thus the area impacted by this protection effort far exceeds the acres to be purchased.
This collaborative effort shows how Audubon can help attract public funding to our conservation priorities through strategic investment of Wimberley Funds.