In the long shadow of Mt. Shasta, this large area of grassland (including remnant native grasses), juniper woodland, scattered wetlands and cropland is bisected by I-5 just south of the Oregon border. About 5,000 acres of habitat is managed as Shasta Valley Wildlife Area (DFG). The Shasta and Little Shasta rivers flow through the area and support riparian habitat, with that on the former being mostly confined to private ranchland. Several small reservoirs constructed for irrigation water storage within the wildlife area support small, marshes and riparian thickets where the water seeps out of their dams. Other important habitats in the region include Lake Shastina, at the southern end of the IBA, and the scrub habitat of the Kilgore Hills.

Ornithological Summary

Shasta Valley supports a rich diversity of species within a relatively small area, including most of the representative Great Basin species, as well as several Californian taxa from the Cascades (e.g. Oak Titmouse). Bird records have been meticulously kept for many years by Ray Eckstrom. Bank Swallow has been found breeding near Lake Shastina, which hosts large numbers of grebes and diving ducks, and also supports small colonies of breeding inland seabirds such as Double-crested Cormorant and Ring-billed and California gulls (D. Shuford, in litt.). The grasslands in and around the Siskiyou County Airport north of Montague have held some of the region's few nesting pairs of Burrowing Owl (R. Eckstrom, in litt.)). It is likely that increased exploration of the Shasta River and continued riparian habitat improvement will yield more avian surprises both Willow Flycatcher and Yellow Warbler have summered irregularly and would likely respond to restoration.

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Conservation Issues

Though the area has been managed principally for livestock for the past 150 years, ranchers in the area have recently been very receptive to such conservation measures as constructing cattle fencing around riparian areas (B. Smith, pers. comm..). Water availability remains the driving force for conservation within this IBA, and both the Shasta and the Little Shasta rivers are at the heart of the battle over salmon recovery in the Klamath Basin (both Chinook and Steelhead occur in the area). It remains to be seen what effect recent efforts to designate both fish as endangered species will have on local attitudes toward conservation here. Disturbance from hunting remains high at Lake Shastina. Ray Eckstrom writes: "it's not the last falcon that clears the lake, it's the hunter in a sneak boat who can reduce numbers in the thousands to hundreds in one morning and probably with little to show for his efforts." R. Eckstrom (in litt.) also mentions increases in breeding Brown-headed Cowbirds and European Starlings, the latter implicated in the apparent recent extirpation of Purple Martin from the valley.

Ownership

About 5,000 acres of habitat is managed as Shasta Valley Wildlife Area (DFG). The Shasta and Little Shasta rivers flow through the area and support riparian habitat, with that on the former being mostly confined to private ranchland.

Habitat

In the long shadow of Mt. Shasta, this large area of grassland (including remnant native grasses), juniper woodland, scattered wetlands and cropland is bisected by I-5 just south of the Oregon border. The Shasta and Little Shasta rivers flow through the area and support riparian habitat, with that on the former being mostly confined to private ranchland. Several small reservoirs constructed for irrigation water storage within the wildlife area support small, marshes and riparian thickets where the water seeps out of their dams. Other important habitats in the region include Lake Shastina, at the southern end of the IBA, and the scrub habitat of the Kilgore Hills.

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