Lead CDFW biologists: Tim Taylor, Alisa Ellsworth
The Inland Deserts Region, Lands North Program (Bishop field office) is collaborating with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to restore Wheeler Creek and the surrounding meadow on the Burcham and Wheeler Flats Wildlife Area (BWFWA). BWFWA was acquired by the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) in October of 2007 and encompasses 1,160 acres located on Burcham and Wheeler Flats in the vicinity of Sonora Junction, Mono County, California. BWFWA was purchased for the protection of sage grouse and mule deer habitat as well as to maintain and enhance opportunities for deer hunting and wildlife viewing and to preserve habitat for the numerous other species that utilize this region.
The primary objective of the project is to restore Wheeler Creek and the surrounding meadow. The creek and surrounding meadow habitat will provide high quality forage habitat for mule deer and other wildlife as well as restore sage grouse brood rearing habitat adjacent to the Wheeler Flat lek. In addition, the project will contribute to the overall goals of the BWFWA which is to conserve and enhance wildlife habitat, primarily for the conservation of sage grouse, mule deer and sagebrush/bitterbrush associated wildlife. Mule deer from the West Walker herd use the BWFWA as migration, holdover and summer range habitat. The West Walker deer herd includes deer from several popular hunt zones including X8, X12 and D6 as well as into Nevada.