B2: Very High Biodiversity Significance
The Trickle Mountain site was identified during the 1997 Closed Basin Inventory in Saguache and Alamosa Counties. Here, a scenic landscape of mesas and small mountains dissected by short canyons supports a mosaic of montane woodlands and grasslands. In Colorado, this type of terrain is more typical of lower elevations to the west
The vegetation of the Trickle Mountain area reflects its unusual setting. The mesa tops are dominated by an arid mixed-grass grassland of ring muhly (Muhlenbergia filiculmis) and lichen. The higher elevations of Trickle mountain are covered by Bristle cone pine (Pinus aristata) with Arizona fescue (Festuca arizonica), while ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) with Arizona fescue or grasslands of mountain muhly (Muhlenbergia montana), ring muhly, and Arizona fescue dominate the lower slopes. The valleys between the plateaus are mostly a winterfat/blue grama (Krascheninnikovia lanata/Bouteloua gracilis) short-grass shrub-steppe that provides good habitat for Gunnison prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni gunnisoni). The site also supports populations of two Colorado endemic plants: Weber’s catseye (Cryptantha weberi) and rock-loving aletes (Neoparrya lithophila).