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Rare bird, boaters to gain in land deal

April 26, 2005|Hugo Martin

A recent land purchase will provide more habitat around Lake Isabella for a rare songbird and will boost water in the reservoir by 60% for cities and recreational users.

On April 4, government agencies and the National Audubon Society acquired more than 4,000 acres of Kern County ranch land. The purchase settles a lawsuit by environmentalists who charged that the Southwestern willow flycatcher lost nesting sites when runoff filled the reservoir to capacity in 1997.

The deal adds 1,662 acres of cottonwoods and willows to the Kern River Preserve and removes a legal barrier that prevented the corps from completely filling the lake. As the lake captures melted snow this spring, the Army Corps of Engineers estimates the water will rise 21 feet.

-- Hugo Martin

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