Imagine the Carrizo of 500 years ago with predators like the grizzly and wolves feeding on the elk and antelope herds and condors scavenging the remains, then returning to their lairs in the surrounding mountains. The lands surrounding the Carrizo, both public and private, help support healthy wildlife populations on the Plain. For example, golden eagles and condors nest in rock formations in the Caliente and La Panza mountains and fly out to hunt across the Carrizo. The ecological services these birds provide help the Carrizo ecosystem function properly and they need a large landscape to survive.
It has increasingly become an article of faith among restoration ecologists that large nature preserves have the best chance of conserving biodiversity and natural ecological processes. Large preserves provide a diversity of different habitats and species which makes it possible for targeted species to accommodate disturbances that will eventually occur such as drought, fire, disease, or climate change.
We see fragmentation as a driver to fill in the Carrizo Plain “patchwork” and seek a larger preserve on the Carrizo representing an opportunity to restore a higher degree of ecological function as existed in the past.