Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Service Adds First 777 Acres of Land to New Tulare Basin Wildlife Management Area

Apr 05, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 5, 2010
Contacts: Scott Frazer, Kern NWR 661-725-2767
Scott Flaherty, Pacific Southwest Region 916-978-6156.
           

Service Adds First 777 Acres of Land to New Tulare Basin Wildlife Management Area

SACRAMENTO--Conserving wetland habitats for migrating birds, waterfowl and other wildlife in California took a step forward recently with the acquisition of the first 777 acres in Kern County for the Tulare Basin Wildlife Management Area (WMA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today.

On March 21, perpetual conservation easements totaling $1.1 million brought two tracts of wetland habitats into the new WMA, which will be managed as part of the Kern National Wildlife Refuge in the southern San Joaquin Valley.  The acquisitions include the 150-acre Santura Duck Club tract and 627-acre Rancho Visalia tract. 

The Service approved the creation of Tulare Basin Wildlife Management Area in 2007.  Plans call for eventual protection of 22,000 acres in Kern and Tulare Counties in an area between Kern and Pixley National Wildlife Refuges.  Ninety percent of the land in the WMA will be conserved through the purchase of conservation easements from willing landowners.  Conservation easements provide for land to be managed for habitat purposes while allowing landowners to retain ownership.  The Service obtained concurrence form the California Fish and Game Commission and Kern and Tulare County supervisors prior to implementing the Tulare Basin WMA project.

Funding for the purchase of the conservation easements comes from proceeds generated by the sale of federal duck stamps, and was approved last year by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission.  Non-governmental partners in the conservation project include the Tulare Basin Wetlands Association, California Waterfowl Association, California Outdoor Heritage Alliance and other member groups of the Tulare Basin Wildlife Partners.

The Tulare Basin WMA project area includes existing private wetlands and associated uplands in southern Tulare and northern Kern counties, in the vicinity of Wasco, Calif., and Kern National Wildlife Refuge. Historically Tulare Lake was the largest freshwater wetland west of the Mississippi and provided habitat to hundreds of thousands of migratory waterfowl annually. While Tulare Lake has vanished due to water diversions for agricultural and municipal uses, remaining private wetlands have been recognized in the Central Valley Joint Venture and North American Waterfowl Management Plan for their importance to migratory waterfowl and shorebirds of the Pacific Flyway.

For more information about Tulare Basin Wildlife Management Area or Kern National Wildlife Refuge, visit: http://www.fws.gov/kern.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen in California, Nevada and the Klamath Basin of southern Oregon, visit http://www.fws.gov/cno .

 

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