The 84-acre Tecopa Ecological Reserve is located in the Mojave Desert in southeastern Inyo County near Death Valley National Park. The key natural features in the area are the Amargosa River and the Tecopa Marsh the latter of which is fed by warm springs in the area. The reserve was established to protect habitat for the Amargosa vole (Microtus californicus scirpensis) which is both state and federally listed as Endangered. The vole is highly vulnerable to extinction due to its limited range, narrow niche, declining habitat quality, and low population size. The Amargosa vole depends on wetland vegetation dominated by three-square bulrush (Schoenoplectus americanus). The reserve also protects habitat for the Amargosa niterwort (Nitrophila mohavensis), a state and federally endangered plant that occurs only on highly alkaline, moist, salt-encrusted clay soils. As a result of the desert wetlands in this arid location the marsh, tributary springs, and spring channels are of high ecological value to numerous other plant and wildlife species.
For more information, call the Inland Deserts Region's Bishop office at (760) 872-1171.