Goose Lake covers roughly 5000 acres in the southwestern San Joaquin Valley, straddling I-5 about 20 miles south of Kern National Wildlife Refuge. Primary used as a water recharge area during wet winters by Semitropic Irrigation District, it includes alkali sink scrub, grassland, and freshwater marsh, typically holding water until May or June. Aside from a small (40-acre) BLM holding (SF), it is legally unprotected.

Ornithological Summary

Goose Lake is known among area biologists for supporting thousands of waterfowl and shorebirds during winter and spring, and for its large breeding colony of Yellow-headed Blackbirds. This IBA is the farthest-south wintering area for Sandhill Crane in the Central Valley, and like many habitat patches on the floor of the San Joaquin Valley, its alkali sink scrub is highly isolated by the agricultural (mostly cotton) landscape. As such, it supports a unique natural community (incl. nesting Sage Sparrows) essentially gone from the floor of the southern San Joaquin Valley.

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Conservation Issues

Though the area's wildlife receives no formal protection, currently management practices seem to be ideal for marsh species (fide D. Germano), at least in winter and spring. The atriplex scrub habitat in the area, however, is highly fragmented and isolated, and is being seriously degraded (November 2001, pers. obs.) by OHV use and dumping.

Ownership

Aside from a small (40-acre) BLM holding (SF), it is legally unprotected.

Habitat

Primary used as a water recharge area during wet winters by Semitropic Irrigation District, it includes alkali sink scrub, grassland, and freshwater marsh, typically holding water until May or June.

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