Text and photos from National Audubon Society IBA Database Site Profile
Adobe Valley Site Description
Adobe Valley, southeast of Mono Lake near the Nevada border, resembles a smaller version of Long Valley (the next major valley to the west, see Crowley Lake Area IBA), and is characterized by spring-fed, ephemeral lakes and ponds rimmed by moist alkali meadows and sagebrush, with open juniper woodland on the surrounding hills. Consistent bodies of water (fullest in spring) include (north to south): Adobe Lake, River Spring Lakes, Adobe Lake and Black Lake. The entire area represents a patchwork of public and private lands, with areas managed by both BLM and DFG. The only paved road through the Adobe Valley is 120 East, between Sagehen Summit and Benton.
Cattle grazing occurs throughout the area, and signs of periodic over-grazing have been noted in the past. The BLM and DFG have recently installed fencing around River Springs. Land in this IBA comes up for sale every few years, and several conservation groups and agencies have expressed interest in purchasing and preserving these wetlands for conservation.
Adobe Lake is notable for small numbers of breeding Snowy Plovers, and Black Lake represents an outpost of Great Basin breeding species, including Willet and Wilson’s Phalarope. Additional shorebird and marsh species (e.g. Long-billed Curlew) may be expected to begin breeding with improvement of alkali meadow habitat through cattle exclosures. Very isolated within a dry, mountainous area, they appear to be locally important stopover site for migrant waterbirds, with several hundred shorebirds occurring, particularly in spring when water levels peak. A distinct, isolated sub-population of Greater Sage-Grouse occurs in Adobe Valley, with its only strutting ground on private land.
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