The Motte Rimrock Reserve lies on a broad, rocky plateau at the western edge of Perris Valley. It contains rich archaeological resources, including some of the best-preserved pictographs in Southern California. Coastal and desert influences intermingle at the site, creating an unusual mix of habitats. An inland type of coastal sage scrub covers most of the reserve, with other areas supporting chaparral, coastal-desert transitional grassland, and riparian thickets. Six seasonal springs add to the diversity of the landscape. The reserve protects critical habitat for a variety of animals, including two federally listed species: the endangered Stephens’ kangaroo rat (Dipodomys stephensi) and the threatened California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica), plus ten more rare animal species.
- Management and monitoring of Stephens’ kangaroo rat.
- Long-term hummingbird migration monitoring site.
Site visited by high school science classes.
Site visits by university courses in anthropology, plant taxonomy, field ecology, bird banding, archaeology, and others.
- Several major studies on birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals in coastal sage scrub habitat.
- Habitat requirements of California gnatcatchers.
- Comparative studies of rock-art sites in California and the Great Basin.
- Genetic and fitness consequences of coastal sage scrub seed transplantation.
- Demography and effects of fragmentation of coastal sage scrub habitat on rufous-crowned sparrows.
Special Research of National Significance
Physiological, Demographic, Competitive and Biogeochemical Controls on the Response of California’s Ecosystems to Environmental Change