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Credit 1 Pam Starr
2 Alyn Robert Brereton
3 Julie MacKinnon
4 Linda Pittman
5 Parham Pourahmad
6 Larry Whiting
7 Randall Finley
Visitation: 2,100
Area: 1,400 Acres
Lat: 33.510842
Lon: 115.827227
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Top Banner Photo Credits
Pam Starr
Alyn Robert Brereton
Julie MacKinnon
Linda Pittman
Parham Pourahmad
Larry Whiting
Randall Finley
Dos Palmas Preserve - Site # 68
Artesian water flows to a restored wetland, filling ponds that are home to endangered desert pupfish.
RegionalRegional - worth visiting if you are already in the area. They may be located farther from populated areas or with more limited wildlife species.

Background: Shady fan palms, perennial seeps, and streams in the upper reaches of Salt Creek form a lush desert oasis for wildlife. Hooded orioles and wintering warblers find shelter among the palms. Giant cane along Salt Creek hides marsh wrens and Salton Sea song sparrows. Artesian water flows to a restored wetland, filling ponds that are home to endangered desert pupfish. Threatened black rails and endangered Yuma clapper rails hide among pond cattails and bulrush that also shelter least bitterns, snowy egrets,and Says's phoebes. The ponds also attract ospreys, lesser scaup, buffleheads, American avocets, and black-necked stilts. The surrounding desert is the domain of phainopeplas and loggershead shrikes, northern harriers, and prairie falcons. Watch the ground for flat-tailed horned lizards and search mesquites and palo verdes for Abert's towhees, verdins, and other spring migrants.
Four hundred years ago, when Spanish explorers were first discovering the West Indies, a vast inland sea, called Lake Cauhilla, inundated the Dos Palmas basin. This basin is far below sea level, and when a flooding Colorado River had meandered out of its normal confines, it filled the basin and created a rich wetland resource. Surrounding this lake, native American peoples thrived on abundant waterfowl and fish. As Lake Cauhilla began to evaporate, these people followed its shrinking shoreline until it finally disappeared, and the people dispersed to surrounding springs and oases. Fast forwarding to the mid 1800s, settlers from the Los Angeles sought a way to cross the hottest and driest of North American deserts to reach gold fields in Arizona. Befriended local indians told one of these hopeful settlers of a series of springs that would allow travel between the Pacific Ocean and the Colorado River. At the mid point along this route was the most luxuriant of all the springs, a pool of water framed by two large palm trees. So the name Dos Palmas was born, but travelers along this route reported an increasing number of palm trees through the years. By 1900 over 40 palm trees were described and by 1940 there were hundreds of palm trees in at least three distinct oases. This dramatic change is thought to be a result of increased tectonic activity along the San Andreas earthquake fault, that bisects the Dos Palmas basin, during that period. Shifting plates apparently forced more water to the surface, creating that improbable, jungle-like habitat surrounded by lifeless alkali flats that we see today.

The Habitat: Dos Palmas is a verdant oasis surrounded by a parched desert landscape.

The Experience: 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. 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.

BLM has worked with partners such as The Nature Conservancy and California Department of Fish and Wildlife to acquire and manage this sensitive habitat, and with Ducks Unlimited to design wetland restoration projects.

Wildlife and Where to Find It: A number of hiking opportunities are available.

Viewing Tips: Shorebirds, waterfowl, wading birds, and birds of prey are seen year-round, excellent viewing in winter. Songbirds are abundant in spring and fall. Look for reptiles and fish from spring through fall. No facilities here, though many in development. Walk-in viewing, easy flat terrain. SUMMERS ARE HOT.

Site Notes: The Dos Palmas Preserve is located near the north-east margin of the Salton Sea and includes a rich mosaic of desert habitats, important wetlands, and archaeologically significant sites. Several native desert fan palm oases and an extensive freshwater marsh are the focus of protection here, with that protection comes habitat for the endangered desert pupfish (Cyprinodon macularis), the endangered Yuma clapper rail (Rallus longirostris yumanensis) rare California black rails (Lateralus jamaicensis coturniculus), increasingly threatened flat-tailed horned lizards (Phrynosoma mcallii), and important fueling stopovers for neotropical migrants.

Festivals & Events: 

Visitor Information: Indio Chamber of Commerce - (760) 347-0676 - http://www.indiochamber.org
Viewing Site Hours of Operation are:
Staff On-site: No
Open: Everday
Hours: 24 hours
Year Round: Yes

Road Information:   Dirt. 
 Roads available year-round.
Road Hazards: None
 Number of Parking Spaces: 10
Parking Fee: No
Proximity to viewing area:Immediate
 Pull-Through Parking: Yes
Parking Notes: 

How to Get There: From Interstate 10 at Indio, take the Dillon Road off-ramp and turn south. At the first stoplight, just over the railroad tracks, turn left (southeast) onto Highway 111 for about 25 miles. Along the way: stay on Highway 111 at its junction with Highway 86, by taking the left fork (toward Nyland). Proceed on Highway 111 through the towns of Coachella, Theral and Mecca, to the Salton Sea. About 10 miles southeast of Mecca, look for the Park Headquarters for the Salton Sea State Recreation Area on your right. Opposite park headquarters: turn left onto Parkside Drive. Take Parkside to the end (about 2 miles) and turn right onto Desert Aire. Follow Desert Aire to its end, then turn left onto the unnamed dirt road. Take the next left fork and stay on the dirt road to Rancho Dos Palmas.

Contact Information
Managing Agency: Bureau of Land Management
Agency Site URL: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/prog/wildlife/watcha
Physical Address:690 West Garnet Ave.
North Palm Springs, CA 92258
Agency 2:P.O. Box 188
Thousand Palms, CA 92276
Manager Phone:(760) 343-1234 Contact Us:by Email
Site Phone:(760) 343-1234
County: Riverside
Addition Website: