Motte Rimrock Reserve


Motte Reserve in Spring 


The Motte Rimrock Reserve, established in 1976, occupies a broad, rocky plateau on the western edge of the Perris Valley in southern California.  Located equidistant between the climatological influences of the Pacific Ocean and Colorado Desert the Reserve supports an unusual mix of habitats. Riversidean sage scrub a vegetation association unique to southern California covers most of the Reserve with other areas supporting coastal-desert transitional grassland and willow riparian thickets. Granite rock outcrops represent the dominant landscape feature. Six seasonal springs add to the diversity of the landscape. The habitats harbor a diverse array of flora and fauna including 192 vascular plant, 3 amphibian, 22 reptile, 150 bird, and 23 mammal species. Ten rare species occupy the Reserve including two with federal listings: the endangered Stephens kangaroo rat (Dipodomys stephensi) and the threatened California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica). In addition to biological diversity the Reserve also protects important archaeological sites, including an unexcavated ceremonial site and well-preserved pictographs.
During the second half of the 20th Century southern California added approximately 9 million inhabitants. Recent population growth estimates project the influx of an additional 3 million by the year 2030. The progressive suburban sprawl exacerbates an existing conflict between the need to provide services for an expanding populace and the need to conserve habitats and native species from local extirpation. As the human population grows the Motte Rimrock Reserve and other protected lands in the western Riverside County region will take on added importance. The Reserve protects native flora and fauna, serves as a field laboratory for biologists addressing questions that involve ecology, genetics, conservation biology, and biogeochemistry, and serves as a living classroom for students ranging in age from K through 12 through advanced undergraduate.

Attention Researchers

Faculty and students interested in conducting research at the Motte Rimrock Reserve are welcome to visit the Reserve Monday through Friday to determine if the habitats and facilities meet your research needs.  Please contact the Reserve Staff to schedule a visit. Those wishing to conduct research should fill out the Online Research/Teaching Application.

Attention University Faculty and K through 12 Teachers

University faculty and K through 12 teachers are more than welcome to bring classes to the Reserve.  Interested faculty and teachers can visit the Reserve Monday through Friday to determine if the facilities meet their teaching needs . Please contact the Reserve Staff to schedule a visit. Those wishing to use the Reserve for teaching should fill out the Online Research/Teaching Application.
The Motte Rimrock Reserve is a unit of the University of California Natural Reserve System.

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

Department Information

Natural Reseves/Biology Department
2840 Life Sciences Bldg.

Tel: (951) 657-3111
Fax: (951) 657-5443