– It was a day we had waited for, on Friday 20 November 2009, escrow
closed on an 80-acre ranch which was the only land along the South
Fork Kern River between Fay Ranch Road and Sierra Way that Audubon
had not permanently protected. The new property includes a quarter
mile of river bottom with excellent riparian and wetland habitat.
Now, the Kern River Preserve includes the agricultural land on the
other side of the fence where the nature trail loops back toward the
This parcel comes right on the heels of an adjacent 26-acre
acquisition that also sought to secure critical bird habitat from
potential future development. “In terms of conservation, these two
properties are the most important of the small properties in the
South Fork Kern River,” said Reed Tollefson, manager of the
Preserve. “The cottonwoods and native pastures provide important
habitat for birds, and it is a great comfort that we can protect all
this from development.”
The South Fork Kern River Valley has been named a Globally
Significant Important Bird Area by Audubon California because it
hosts nearly 200 nesting species, including Western Yellow-billed
Cuckoos, Southwestern Willow Flycatchers, Summer Tanagers, and Kern
Red-winged Blackbirds. The Preserve is at the heart of this critical
habitat area, and has made the protection of nearby cottonwood and
red willow habitat in the Valley one of its core goals.
“This area is clearly one of the natural gems of
California,” added Tollefson. “When we put more property under
protection, we preserve that much more of it for the enjoyment of
We are so appreciative of our donors for their help in
purchasing this important piece of wildness. We also appreciate the
former owners for generously offering this wonderful land to
Audubon. The first order of business will be to remove a few of the
wildlife barriers between parcels. The contiguous acreage of the
Kern River Preserve is now 2987 acres.
About Audubon Kern River Preserve
The Kern River Preserve is managed by Audubon California for the
preservation of one of California’s largest contiguous
cottonwood-willow riparian forests and the wildlife it supports.
Audubon Kern River Preserve supporters provide financial and volunteer support for Preserve outreach, education, wildlife habitat protection & stewardship.