One of the largest NRS reserves, the Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center encompasses a major drainage system descending from the high peaks of the Santa Rosa Mountains down to Colorado Desert. Deep Canyon’s tributaries begin in montane forests, flow across a rolling plateau covered with piñon-juniper woodland and chaparral, join at the head of a precipitous gorge, and plunge 1,180 feet into the canyon. From there, the mouth of the canyon opens out into a broad alluvial fan with sandy washes on the southern edge of the Coachella Valley.
Except for a few permanent pools, the streambed in Deep Canyon’s lower reaches is dry. However, winter storms can trigger dramatic flooding.
The vertebrate fauna is exceptionally rich, with 46 reptile species, 228 birds, and 47 mammals. The reserve is part of the U.N. Mojave and Colorado Desert Biosphere Reserve and it is surrounded by the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument.
Desert research is also possible at other NRS sites, including Burns Piñon Ridge Reserve, Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center, and Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center.
Exotic Species Removal
A tamarisk and fountain grass management program was initiated in 1996.
Site visits by university courses in ornithology, ecology, botany, plant physiological ecology, biology of ants, conservation biology, cactus and succulents, and others.
- Population biology of the Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard, a federally threatened species.
- Long-term monitoring of rodent community composition and abundance.
- Nematode ecology and soil carbon flux
- Physiology of succulents.
- Hybridization of quail species.
- Climate change monitoring and analysis
Special Research of National Significance
- Optical Fiber Infrasound Sensor (OFIS)
- Physiological, Demographic, Competitive and Biogeochemical Controls on the Response of California’s Ecosystems to Environmental Change
- Climate change impacts to California ecosystems