Soda Mountains Proposed Wilderness
The California Desert Conservation and Recreation Act would create 79,900 acres of new wilderness within the Soda Mountains Wilderness Study Area.
A horseshoe-shaped range, the Soda Mountains encompass the terminus of the great Mojave River. Native American use of the area is evidenced in archaeologically significant rock alignments, anthro- pomorphic drawings, aboriginal trail remnants, and a large lithic workshop.
The southern portion of the Soda Mountains contains critical habitat for the desert tortoise. This area is within the Western Mojave Recovery Unit of the BLM’s Desert Tortoise Recovery Plan, an area with some of the most significant declines in tortoise populations. Plants found here include: creosote, barrel cacti, cholla, yucca and Crucifixion thorn.
There are two intermittent lakes – East Cronese and West Cronese – which provide habitat for wintering and migrating raptors, waterfowl and shorebirds, including the endangered Yuma clapper rail. Desert bighorn sheep live here too.