BRANCH MEMORIAL PARK
Branch Memorial Park Pond (Branch Pond) is a manmade, 6 acre pond established in 1961 to honor Major General Irving Branch after his untimely death in a fighter plane crash while he was Commander of Edwards AFB (Air Force Flight Test Center History Office 2001). The primary purpose of the pond is to fulfill a major quality of life aspect for base residents and personnel.
The pond is maintained at various water levels year-round to support nesting habitat in the spring and fish stocking mid-summer; depth ranges from approximately 2 feet to 12 feet. Well water provides water for the pond.
The bank of the pond consists of open space, trees (Fremont’s cottonwood, mesquite, sandbar willow, mulefat), and native shrubs (saltbush). Emergent vegetation within the pond is primarily cattail with some bulrush. The pond is managed as a fish pond and supports a stocked fish population (e.g. largemouth bass, catfish, sunfish, bluegill, and trout). Wildlife uses the vegetation in and around the pond for forage, roosting, cover, and breeding year round and during migration. Tricolored blackbirds have been observed nesting at Branch Pond. Volunteers with the Tricolored Blackbird Working Group accomplish the statewide Tricolored Blackbird Survey regularly and include Branch Pond. Over 50 bird species have been sighted at the pond such as Cooper’s hawk, Northern harriers, pied-billed grebe, California quail, red-breasted sap sucker, several other woodpecker species, various swallow species, savannah sparrow, osprey, egret, great blue heron, various species of ducks, and American kestrel. A dirt path surrounds the pond to provide easy access for walking or driving.
Branch Memorial Park is also a designated campground for primitive camping and can be used through reservations with the 412th Forces Support Squadron through Outdoor Recreation. Camping is limited to the grass landscaped portion of Branch Memorial Park. Ten campsites that are 10’ x 10’ can be used within Branch Memorial Park. BBQ grills and covered picnic tables are in place for use, therefore no open fires are permitted. In addition, the park contains a play area for children.