Local

July 19, 2013

Edwards AFB’s Piute Ponds feature wide variety of birds, wildlife

Tags:
Kenji Thuloweit
Editor

A Barn Owl takes flight from a tree in Piute Ponds at Edwards Air Force Base. The ponds attract numerous bird species and wildlife. The artificially maintained marsh area is located in the extreme southwest corner of the base.

Amid the high desert landscape that encompasses Edwards is a green oasis that provides a place for wildlife and exotic birds to flourish in peace.

Covering up to 600 acres on the base’s southwest corner is Piute Ponds. The freshwater marsh is comprised of channels, dikes and evaporation ponds with water supplied from a Los Angeles County wastewater treatment plant.

“A lot of people are surprised when they first get here – it kind of comes out of the desert and all of a sudden you have a marsh that sneaks up on you,” said Mark Hagan, an Edwards Environmental Management natural resource manager. “It’s a really neat place with a lot of different things to see. It’s a quiet and tranquil place.”

The marsh attracts migratory birds because of its location along the Great Basin corridor of the Pacific Flyway – one of four major bird migration routes across the United States.

When migrating birds see water they tend to stop and take a break, especially in Antelope Valley.

Biologists on base say Piute Ponds is home to more than 200 species of birds, which brings out enthusiasts.

A Black-crowned Night-Heron flies over Piute Ponds at Edwards Air Force Base. The ponds are located in the extreme southwest of the base and are situated along the Great Basin corridor of the Pacific Flyway. For this reason, the ponds attract several migratory bird species.

“It’s the largest freshwater marsh in Los Angeles County so that draws a lot of birders,” said Wanda Deal, a natural resource specialist at EM.

Jon Feenstra, a biological consultant and Wings Birding Tours Worldwide member, recently came out with a bird watching group. He has been coming out to the ponds for the past 10 years.

“I probably come out here at least once a week during July and August, which is the peak of shore bird migration,” said Feenstra. “In winter there are tens of thousands of ducks and during the summer there’s all sorts of different shore birds.”

“There’s been a lot of rare birds over the years that I’ve seen here. Saw a Stilt Sandpiper just this morning; last year there were Hudsonian Godwits; the list of rarities from this place is unusual and that keeps people coming out here. This is a pretty amazing place.”

Coyotes, badgers, kit foxes, muskrats, raccoons, kangaroo rats and bobcats are animals that also inhabit the area.

A Great Blue Heron stands on a stump in the middle of Piute Ponds at Edwards Air Force Base. The ponds are a functional ecosystem consisting of up to 600 acres of wetlands artificially maintained with effluent from the Los Angeles County Sanitation District 14 water reclamation plant.

Piute Ponds is located at the extreme southwest of Edwards off of Shuttle Road just east of the Edwards sign on Rosamond Blvd.

The ponds were created when Los Angeles County Sanitation District 14 placed a dike in the area to keep its effluent from reaching Rosamond dry lakebed. The ponds continue to be sustained with effluent from the District 14 Wastewater treatment plant.

Although the effluent has received some treatment at the plant, it is not recommended that people make physical contact with the water in the ponds.

The pond area has dirt roads for navigation, but a higher clearance vehicle would be best as the roads can get rugged in spots.

On base personnel can visit the unique ecosystem any time by calling Environmental Management at (661) 277-1401. Off-base residents can call (661) 277-1401 to request a base access form to visit or to hunt on the ponds during the fall hunting season.

To read more about Piute Ponds, go to www.piuteponds.com.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs September 4, 2015

Run with History postponed Edwards Air Force Base’s 2nd Annual Run with History half marathon, 10K and 5K run has been postponed until further notice. For more information, call the Rosburg Fitness Center at 661-275-GYM1 (4961). CAC/DEERS Office closure The CAC and DEERS Office will be closed Sept. 11 and Sept. 14 to replace the carpeting....
 
 

Money, manpower and minutes

U.S. Air Force graphic by Airman 1st Class Nicollo Daniello FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash.–I’m about to make a big statement, so pay attention. I believe anything physically possible can be accomplished with the right amount of money, manpower and minutes. That’s right. Anything. Just look at some of the amazing architecture and technology devised...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Johnny Saldivar

SecAF, CSAF, CMSAF present new ‘little blue book’

Air Force photograph by Johnny Saldivar Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Cody congratulate Airmen who will soon...
 

 
suicide-prevention1

Suicide Prevention Month

A reminder of our 24/7/365 responsibility to ourselves, each other All Airmen have a responsibility that last much longer than a one-month campaign. This responsibility extends beyond ourselves and includes our work environment...
 
 
F35-visit

Top F-35 program officer visits Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Test Force

Staff Sgt. Brittany Lehr, 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (F-35), shows Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan a maintenance program used for work on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Bogdan visited the Integrated Test Force to receive a...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

National Preparedness Month Tip: Active shooter awareness

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Senior Airman Aaliyha Sawicky, 412th Security Forces Squadron, stands guard as her team continues to clear the area during an active shooter exercise in January. September is National Prepa...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>