The Amargosa vole is dependent on a plant known as American threesquare bullrush (Schoenoplectus americanus syn Scirpus americanus, S. olneyi). Threesquare grows in small patches in parts of the Basin, though over the years as human activity in the region increased, the habitat for this plant became more and more rare.
In 1986 the Amargosa Vole was designated as federally endangered. Today, several groups are working on saving the vole and increasing its numbers. (Each link contains lots more information.)
This sage has a narrow distribution, preferring the limestone mountains of the eastern Mojave, primarily in and around Death Valley NP. Some populations have been documented further south and west. See the Jepson Herbarium for distribution.
This beautiful shrub can grow up to a meter in height and is covered in tiny hairs which give it a “wolly” appearance. The tiny, purple flowers typically bloom in spring.
The least Bell’s vireo is a small (<5in) songbird that lives and breeds in lowland riparian habitats, preferring those dominated by willows. It is a subspecies of the Bell’s vireo and found primarily in California and Baja Mexico.
The least Bell’s vireo builds it’s nest in dense shrubbery in moist areas. Though once abundant across California and Baja, loss of habitat and nest predation have led to it’s decline. At one point only 300 nesting pairs remained. That number has improved substantially, but the species is still in danger.
The wetlands of the Amargosa Basin are a breeding location for this small bird.
With their curling horns and ability to scale steep cliffs, these are the charismatic megafauna of desert mountains.