ESLT, CDFW to host Round Valley Mule Deer field trip

Journeying with the Round Valley Mule Deer
Eastern Sierra Land Trust and CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife to Host Mule Deer Migration Corridor Field Trip on March 2nd, 2-5 pm

Mule deer spotted among the sagebrush along their migration corridor near Swall Meadows © Bill Dunlap

At this time of the year, many animals that call the Eastern Sierra home are preparing for a long journey. When food and shelter become scarce in their usual habitat and the weather gets colder, many animals migrate to warmer areas. The Round Valley mule deer herd is no exception. Twice each year, the mule deer herd migrates between its winter range on the valley floor to its summer range in the High Sierra meadows. The mule deer herd travels on the same paths each year, forming what biologists call a migration corridor. With each journey through the corridor, the herd will face both new and continuing threats to their survival.

Expert biologist with CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Timothy Taylor speaks to attendees at last year’s ESLT Mule Deer Corridor Field Trip © Bill Dunlap

Near the community of Swall Meadows, the mule deer face an ongoing challenge. They must journey through a narrow bottleneck, created by Wheeler Ridge to the west and the deep Lower Rock Creek Gorge to the east, in order to travel between their summer and winter ranges. On this biannual journey, they also travel across busy roads and through residential areas.

Challenging winters, raging wildfires, droughts and additional human development have also made the mule deer herd’s migration increasingly more difficult each year. These changes have increased the threat on the important resources that the mule deer depend on to make their long journey.

Concerned by the impact human development would have on the mule deer herd, a group of residents teamed up to form what would become Eastern Sierra Land Trust. Since then, ESLT has worked with local land owners in the Swall Meadows area to permanently protect 269 acres of private land in addition to the 176- acre State Wildlife Area to ensure a safer passage for the mule deer each year.

On Saturday, March 2nd, from 2-5 pm, Eastern Sierra Land Trust invites you to explore a portion of the Round Valley herd’s migration corridor. Timothy Taylor, a biologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), will share stories and information about the region’s Round Valley Mule Deer Herd as the group admires spectacular valley views and searches for wildlife.

This free event is open to all ages; for more event information (including meeting location) and to RSVP, please contact Marie, ESLT Education Coordinator and AmeriCorps member, at marie@eslt.org, or call (760) 873-4554.

 

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