Welcome to the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program
Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program Balancing Resource Use and Conservation
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Palo Verde Ecological Reserve

      Located Northeast of Blythe, California

Planted honey mesquite and cottonwood trees – Photo by ReclamationAerial view from the south – Photo by ReclamationPlanted cottonwood trees – Photo by Reclamation

The Palo Verde Ecological Reserve (PVER) encompasses more than 1,350 acres. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife made this property (formerly known as the Travis Ranch) available to the LCR MSCP for habitat restoration activities.

The eastern boundary of the property (more than 4 miles) is adjacent to the Colorado River, and the western boundary is adjacent to active agricultural fields. Planting of the conservation area was completed in 2013, with over 1.8 million riparian trees and shrubs planted in a phased approach over 8 years. The entire habitat will be managed and maintained for the 50-year life of the LCR MSCP. The intent of the conservation area was to create as much riparian habitat as practical. The restoration includes a mosaic of habitats that contain areas of riparian species (including mesquite) and ground covers or open areas. Ground cover is an effective method of controlling non-native species and provides another layer of vegetation for habitat. Generally, all phases at PVER are targeted for southwestern willow flycatcher, yellow-billed cuckoo, and other covered species. Reclamation and its partners will continually monitor conditions to ensure the proper habitat structure is present through the 50-year period.

A fact sheet for this Conservation Area can be found here. Technical Reports for this Conservation Area can be found here.

Updated December 18, 2019

The Palo Verde Ecological Reserve is located in California within the Palo Verde Irrigation District between river miles 129-133. The property is owned by California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

For specific information on the Conservation Area, please contact Terry Murphy, Restoration Group Manager, at (702) 293-8140 or via email at tmurphy@usbr.gov.

The image below shows a close up of the conservation area.

Click here to see the Palo Verde Ecological Reserve GIS map

Each Conservation Area targets certain LCR MSCP covered and evaluation species habitats. Below, on the left, is a list of the LCR MSCP species in which habitat will be targeted for creation for this particular conservation area. To the right is a list of LCR MSCP species that, through monitoring, have been found utilizing the conservation area.

Targeted LCR MSCP Species LCR MSCP Species Utilizing Site
Riparian Obligates Riparian Obligates
Arizona Bell's Vireo Arizona Bell's Vireo (breeding)
Elf Owl
Gila Woodpecker Gila Woodpecker (breeding)
Gilded Flicker Gilded Flicker (transient)
Sonoran Yellow Warbler Sonoran Yellow Warbler (breeding)
Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (non-breeding resident)
Summer Tanager Summer Tanager (breeding)
Vermilion Flycatcher Vermilion Flycatcher (breeding)
Yellow-Billed Cuckoo Yellow-Billed Cuckoo (breeding)
Bats, Small Mammals, and Insects Bats, Small Mammals, and Insects
California Leaf-Nosed Bat (foraging)
Colorado River Cotton Rat (resident)
MacNeill's Sootywing MacNeill's Sootywing (breeding)
Pale Townsend's Big-Eared Bat (foraging)
Western Red Bat Western Red Bat (foraging/roosting)
Western Yellow Bat Western Yellow Bat (foraging/roosting)

Bird Monitoring

Surveys for covered birds are conducted annually. During the late spring and summer, presence surveys are conducted for riparian birds to document use of the conservation area for nesting, foraging, and migration. Riparian birds monitored include the listed southwestern willow flycatcher and yellow-billed cuckoo, and the following covered species: Arizona Bell’s vireo, Gila woodpecker, gilded flicker, yellow warbler, summer tanager and vermilion flycatcher.

Mammal Monitoring

Small mammal live trapping is conducted annually to monitor presence of Colorado River cotton rats and desert pocket mice at the conservation area. Bat presence is monitored annually from June through August with net captures and remotely recording echolocation calls using a long-term Anabat™ station.

Insect Monitoring

Surveys are conducted for MacNeill’s sootywing annually to document presence of the species in the conservation area.

Riparian Management

The final phase of PVER (Phase 8) was planted in the spring of 2013, completing the planting phases of the project. To date, approximately 1,032 acres of cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, and upland buffer areas have been established at PVER. Over 1.8 million trees and shrubs have been planted over the entire acreage, which will provide habitat for many species. Continued irrigation, maintenance, and on-site management for the established habitat and areas will be maintained throughout the year.

Acreage Map

This map shows the acreage for this area. You can click on the map for a larger view.

Palo Verde Ecological Reserve Acreage Map

This gallery includes photos of this conservation area. If you require larger photos, please contact our webmaster Michelle Reilly at mreilly@usbr.gov.