West Coyote Hills is a biodiversity hotspot, a region that is a significant reservoir of biodiversity threatened with destruction. It is an excellent example of a coastal sage scrub, which is a low scrubland plant community found in California and northern Baja California. Most of these scrublands have been lost to urbanization and agriculture. In fact, less than 3% of our native coastal sage scrub still exists in the world. In addition, there are 4 plant communities in West Coyote Hills that are considered very threatened: coast prickly pear, coyote brush, California sagebrush, southern willow scrub.
A Critical Habitat
West Coyote Hills is a critical habitat according to the US Fish and Wildlife. It is prime habitat for 51 pairs of the endangered Ca gnatcatchers, the largest population in the region. Protecting this group is essential to the preservation of the species. Smaller populations in the Montebello and Chino-Puente Hills are interdependent with the group.
West Coyote Hills is also home to 15 rare, endangered and sensitive species including:
A California fully protected species, the white-tailed kite
A California flagship species and our state bird, the California quail
13 species of special concern: Northern harrier, Cooper’s hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, burrowing owl, western bluebird, Bell’s sage sparrow, S. Cal. rufous-crowned sparrow, tri-colored blackbird, coastal cactus wren, horned lark, least Bell’s virio, loggerhead shrike, coastal western whiptail lizard
An Important Part of the San Gabriel River Watershed
West Coyote Hills is an important part of the San Gabriel River and Watershed with its open space and wetlands area, especially considering that the San Gabriel River Watershed area is highly urbanized and paved, even the rivers!
A watershed is the land area that drains water into a creek, river, lake, wetland, bay or groundwater aquifer. It is necessary to support plant and animal habitat and it provides drinking water for people and animals.
The condition of a watershed directly affects the health and well being of the natural systems within it, so it’s important that we properly manage this resource. To that end, the US Army Corps of Engineers and the County Harbors, Beaches and Parks are conducting a study of the Coyote Creek Watershed which itself is part of the Lower San Gabriel River Watershed.
An Excellent Recreational Area
West Coyote Hills is an excellent recreational area. The Nora Kuttner Trail along the south side of West Coyote Hills is part of the famous Fullerton Loop that is used for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and bird watching. The peaks of its rolling hills also offer spectacular views from the ocean to the mountains.