The Soldier Meadows Conservation Project (SMCP) is a unique public-private partnership in the high plateau country east of the Calico Mountains and north of the Black Rock Desert. This area is one of Nevada’s most productive antelope ranges, and it provides habitat to three imperiled species.
Antelope, sage grouse, deer, raptors
Why TNC Selected This Site
The high plateau country surrounding Soldier Meadows is one of Nevada’s most productive antelope ranges and also supports healthy sage grouse populations. Deer are found in abundance in Soldier Meadows’ summer range. The region provides critical habitat for numerous raptor and non-game species as well.
The desert dace (Eremichthys acros), a rare desert fish, is found only in Soldier Meadows’ hot spring outflows north of Mud Meadow Reservoir. The desert dace is a monotypic genus federally listed as threatened. A rare plant, the basalt cinquefoil (Potentilla basaltica), also inhabits the hot springs area. Further north, Summer Camp and Mahogany Creeks provide critical spawning habitat for the Lahontan cutthroat trout (Onchorynchus clarki hernshawi), which is also federally listed as threatened. Summit Lake’s population of Lahontan cutthroat trout is an especially pure strain and is believed to be the closest genetic link to the original giants which once inhabited Pyramid Lake.
A major hot springs and desert aquatic ecosystem are just north of historic Double Hot Springs and Mud Meadow Reservoir. At higher elevations, south of the Charles Sheldon Antelope Range, scattered parcels along Summer Camp and Mahogany Creeks support an extensive area of riparian vegetation. Both streams drain into Summit Lake, located in the heart of the Summit Lake Indian Reservation.
The Federal Bureau of Land Management and the RC Roberts Company
What TNC Has Done
In an outstanding example of how wildlife and livestock interests can work together, the Conservancy negotiated a land purchase and conservation easement with the owners of the 14,010-acre Soldier Meadows Ranch. Negotiations included the purchase of 1,820 acre of desert dace habitat and a conservation easement for 5,150 acres. The Conservancy subsequently transferred these lands, at cost, to the BLM for permanent protection in January 1993.