Mountain House Conservation Bank
MHCB, Mountain House, Bethany, Byron
Photo: Robert Fletcher
Vernal Pool

Mountain House Conservation Bank is located in eastern Alameda County, north of Livermore, CA. The bank consists of 147 acres of grassland, seasonal alkali wetland, perennial wetlands and pond habitat. The property is adjacent to the Department of Fish and Wildlife's Byron Conservation Bank and is just north of the Bethany Reservoir, a state managed facility.

Available Credits


The Bank was opened for business in July 2012 and offers multi-species conservation credits for up to six special status species. Burrowing owl and Swainson's hawk nesting site credits are still available.

Burrowing Owl

The burrowing owl (BUOW) occurs in open grassland habitat most often associated with colonies of CA ground squirrels upon which the owls rely for burrow systems. BUOWs nest and seek refuge underground within burrows and will often use man-made structures (culverts, pipes, broken cement) as refuge and nesting sites.

California red-legged frog

The California red-legged frog (CRF) is the largest native ranid frog in California. It breeds in ponds, wetlands and slow-moving streams. It is listed as a federally threatened species by the USFWS. The CRF occurs within numerous habitat types including oak woodland, annual grassland, and riparian and wetland habitat.


The California tiger salamander is a vulnerable amphibian native to Northern California. It breeds in ponds and vernal pools, entering the water with the onset of heavy rains in December and January. Shortly after breeding and depositing eggs, adults leave the pond and disperse to underground burrows where they spend the remainder of the year. Juveniles grow to nearly adult size over the next few months and then disperse to terrestrial burrows in late summer, returning years later to breed as adults. Both aquatic and upland terrestrial habitat is critical to the survival of the species.

The smallest fox species in California, the San Joaquin kit fox (SJKF) occurred historically throughout a large part of the Central Valley of California north to the Delta. Limited sightings of foxes occur in Alameda and Contra Costa counties where a significant amount of appropriate habitat remains intact.

Swainson's Hawk

The State threatened Swainson's Hawk (SWHA) occurs throughout the Central Valley of California in alluvial riparian and annual grassland habitat. It may also nest in oak savannah and in open grasslands containing adequate nesting trees along the western edge of the Central Valley within the coastal range. SWHA nests can also be found within the eastern portions of Contra Costa and Alameda counties in CA in appropriate habitat. Most SWHA are migratory, congregating in large flocks in the fall and leaving the state for wintering grounds in Central and South America.

Vernal Pool Fairy Shrimp, VPFS, fairy shrimp

Vernal Pool fairy shrimp (VPFS) occur in shallow seasonal and vernal pool environments within Alameda and Contra Costa counties. VPFS are listed as threatened by the USFWS. The species has evolved to adapt to seasonal pools and drought conditions by developing eggs (cysts) that can last within the dry duff of a seasonal pool for decades. The eggs hatch when pools fill, shrimp grow into adults, breed and deposit eggs, and complete their life cycle before the pool dries.