Location: The San Miguel Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) includes 25 of the 30 miles along the San Miguel River between Placerville and Pinyon, 15 miles along Beaver Creek, and 6 miles along Saltado Creek.

Vegetative/natural features: The site consists primarily of high elevation and lowland riparian habitat, but also includes nearly all the terrain between the canyon rims and scattered portions of the mesa tops.

Federal (Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service)

Ornithological Summary

This site represents the finest protected Southwest Canyon Riparian Habitat (SWCR) in the United States, with the exception of Arizonas San Pedro. SWCR, which is recognized as the richest terrestrial bird habitat type in North America, provides breeding sites for a wide variety of species and primary migratory routes for nearly all of the Wests songbirds. More than 300 bird species have been observed at the site. The expanding Black Phoebe population, which has been moving up the San Miguel River, reached the lower end of the ACEC in 1999 (a nest was found at the river bridge at Pinyon).

The nomination report indicates five species of large waterbirds, 25 of waterfowl, 16 raptor species, 5 fallinaceous, 5 rails and cranes, 25 plovers and sandpipers, 2 doves, 8 owls, 6 hummingbirds, 7 woodpeckers, 15 flycatchers, 7 swallows, 9 corvids, 11 thrushes and thrashers, 4 vereos, 17 warblers, 2 tanagers, 24 grosbeaks and sparrows, 8 blackbirds, 12 finches, ans 17 species of chickadees, nuthatches, wrens, kinglets, and gnat catchers combined.

species found at http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/2121/places/13090/

While no other specific species were found for the ACEC, numerous other species are listed for two other nearby preserves and can be expected to be found in this area. At the 7 mile long San Miguel River Tabegauche Preserve, northwest of Pinon and close to Nucla, peregrine falcons are often seen. Also northeast along the San Miguel River, from Naturita (south of Nucla) to its confluence with the Dolores River, these species are seen: Say's phoebe, northern rough-winged swallow, black-capped chickadee, yellow-crested chat, spotted towhee, blackheaded and blue grosbeaks, lazuli bunting, bullock's oriole, lesser goldfinch, and in the side canyons, black-chinned hummingbird, ash-throated flycatcher, gray and plumbreous vireo, western scrub and pinyon jays, violet-green swallow, rock and canyon wren, virginia's and black-throated gray warbler. Coloradocountybirding.com notes that over 30 pairs of black pheobes nest there.

Conservation Issues

Minor threats:
Invasive/non-native plants;
Introduced animals;
Disturbance to birds and habitat.

Management details: The site is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The site was expanded by 40% within the last several years, with the purchase of a private parcel by the BLM.

Habitat

Location: The San Miguel Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) includes 25 of the 30 miles along the San Miguel River between Placerville and Pinyon, 15 miles along Beaver Creek, and 6 miles along Saltado Creek.
Vegetative/natural features: The site consists primarily of high elevation and lowland riparian habitat, but also includes nearly all the terrain between the canyon rims and scattered portions of the mesa tops.

Federal (Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service)

Land Use

There is undeveloped land in this IBA

Stay abreast of Audubon

Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives.