Much of the proposed IBA encompasses the 113,167 acre Jarbidge Wilderness Area, characterized by high mountains and deep glaciated canyons. It has 8 peaks over 10,000 feet, some of which drop to canyons 4,000 feet below. These mountains form a single crest and maintain elevations between 9,800 and 11,000 feet for about 7 miles. Eight peaks exceed the 10,000 foot mark. This area is unusually wet for Nevada, with seven to eight feet of snow falling annually, ideal for vegetation that varies from northern desert to alpine vegetation zones. Many seeps, springs, creeks and a few small lakes provide surface water for birds and other wildlife. Vegetation cover types include montane parkland, shrub-steppe, aspen, montane riparian.
The site supports a complete assemblage of high montane bird species, including Blue Grouse and Red Crossbill (two species poorly represented in other NV IBAs), Cassin's Finch, Hermit and Swainson's Thrushes, and Mountain Bluebird. Winter Wrens have also been documented singing in the Jarbidge Mountains during breeding season, though nests have not been found. This evidence suggests a breeding population in the state, an unusual occurrence outside of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The riparian drainages found within the Jarbidge host significant numbers of songbirds and the higher elevation sagebrush tablelands host impressive numbers of Sage Grouse and are important brood rearing sites.
Elk have been introduced to the landscape and are doing well--they also form the basis of an important hunting resource. Care must be taken to manage the herd so as not to impact the vegetative community, particular the aspen that are so critical to birds and wildlife.
Principally managed by the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Few private inholdings.