J. Dow Sr. Wetlands
The Great Basin
landscape is known for its dry deserts and sagebrush. Just 60 miles north of Reno,
though, is a wetlands that that provides a seasonal home to more than 160 bird species.
Located on a peninsula that extends to the southern edge of California’s Honey
Lake is the Jay Dow, Sr. Wetlands. Consisting of about 1,360 acres, more than 300
of those acres have been converted to ponds, containing 84 islands.
The wetlands property was donated to the university in 1993 by Althea Brimm and
Daniel J. Brimm, Jr. of San Diego for the purpose of furthering the University’s
studies of migratory birds and their habitats.
This generous gift has become a critical element of the Pacific Flyway—a major
corridor for migratory birds—offering permanent wetlands, even during periods
of severe drought when nearby natural areas are dry. With such a diverse bird population
availing itself of the wetlands, the site offers myriad opportunities for pursuing
research in a living laboratory.
Some of the projects conducted at the wetlands include observing the interactions
between various grazing wildlife, determining the appropriate levels of salinity
for other Great Basin wetlands and activities designed to enhance bird breeding
A teaching and research facility is located on site, permitting students and scientists
to perform their research at the property. This facility is the focal point for
courses taught on the property, allowing students the opportunity to engage in research
that may some day help resolve the issues that face the nation’s wetlands