Clear Creek fire damages mule deer habitat
July 20, 2014
The Clear Creek fire could have an adverse impact on mule deer in the Carson River herd.
The adverse impact is directly proportional to the 187 acres of sagebrush and bitterbrush that burned in the Jacks Valley Wildlife Management Area, which is critical mule deer winter range.
“Mule deer migrate from high elevation summer range to places like Jacks Valley to use the sage and bitterbrush as food and winter-time thermal cover,” said Chris Healy, spokesman for Nevada Department of Wildlife. “They would usually use these areas from late November until early spring. If significant parts of the winter range are affected then the ability of the land to support mule deer is compromised.”
This land is owned by the United States Forest Service and is acknowledged as being a key piece of habitat for mule deer. This herd was estimated to be about 4,400 animals in the late 1970s, but development along the Carson Front and adjacent Eagle and Carson valleys has reduced the herd estimate to 970 mule deer.
Lightning set the Clear Creek fire on July 16 on the ridge above Jacks Valley. The fire was brought under control on Saturday night.