- This 725-acre preserve southeast of Visalia protects one of the largest remaining wetland prairie habitats in the San Joaquin Valley.
Closed to the public except for special events, the James K. Herbert Wetland Prairie Preserve is a small piece of a once extensive wetland prairie. It provides a refuge for burrowing owls, toads that estivate (similar to hibernation) in the soil, whimbrel flocks migrating between Argentina and Alaska, and flowers in bright displays of magenta, yellow, gold, violet, white, and pink.
SRT purchased this property in 2000, located at the junction of Road 168 and Highway 137 between the towns of Tulare and Lindsay, from James K. Herbert and Carol Sellers Herbert at a generous bargain sale price. Due to its rare ecosystem, please do not visit the Preserve without express permission from SRT.
Sequoia Riverlands Trust manages the preserve with a rigorous scientific research program using livestock grazing and prescribed fire to improve native plant forage for cattle and wildlife. As with most grazing land in California, agriculture and wildlife coexist.
Additionally, we’ve created an 83-acre seasonal wetland with meandering stream channels and native vegetation, enhancing the area for wildlife. Over 125 bird species seek food or shelter here, including the burrowing owl, Swainson's hawk, red-winged blackbird, mallard, and golden eagle.
This nature preserve is not open to the public except for special tours and events one or two days a year for SRT members only. Check our online calendar or sign up for our Currents newsletter to learn more. Watch for the annual spring wildflower walk, a unique guided tour of rare, regional flowers.
Why it's Unique
Conservation Values: rare habitats, wetland prairie, vernal pools, wildlife travel corridors, traditional agricultural use, high water quality, outdoor laboratory
Key Plants: Popcorn flower, great valley phacelia, peppergrass, Johnnytuck, downingia, woolly marbles, turkey tangle frogfruit, creeping wildrye, goldfields, rare annual Atriplex (saltbush) species
Key Animals: Western spadefoot, long-tailed weasel, coyote, diverse freshwater invertebrates and over 120 bird species, including burrowing owl, Swainson’s hawk, golden eagle, ferruginous hawk, killdeer, mallard, ruddy duck, black-necked stilt, pied-billed grebe