Dos Palmas Scenic Area


Los Angeles, 92554




This oasis, with its hundreds of swaying fan palms, offers sanctuary in the midst of the dry Colorado Desert. Pools fed by artesian springs and seepage from the nearby Coachella Canal form a lush wetland area. The exceptional habitat shelters a variety of both threatened or endangered and more common animal species. In thick stands of cattails, the elusive and endangered Yuma clapper rail builds its nest, while in the warm waters of the pools swims the desert pupfish, a relic species from the Pleistocene era. The preserve is also home to the endangered orocopia sage plant.

The 1,400-acre Dos Palmas Preserve is at the heart of the 20,000-acre Salt Creek Area of Critical Environmental Concern, created to protect important biological resources. The BLM has worked with partners such as The Nature Conservancy and California Department of Fish and Game to acquire and manage this sensitive habitat, and with Ducks Unlimited to design wetland restoration projects.

The California black rail (listed by the state as threatened) makes its home here, hiding among the cattails and bulrush. Other residents include the leaf-nosed bat and prairie falcons. The water also attracts American avocets, least bitterns, black-necked stilts, snowy egrets, osprey, lesser scaup, and buffleheads. Prairie falcons, northern harriers and loggerhead shrikes take to the air of the surrounding desert. Other animals include the unique flat-tailed horned lizard and other reptiles. Desert pupfish may be seen in the ponds. Colorado Valley woodrats also find a home here.

Year-round, shorebirds, wading birds, waterfowl and birds of prey can be seen. Winter is an especially good time for bird watching. During spring and fall look for the many visiting songbirds. Spring through fall fish and reptiles can be spotted. Summers are hot, so be prepared.


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