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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
CARLSBAD FWO: Remembering Loren Hays – Longtime Service Employee and Champion for Endangered Species
Region 8, April 29, 2008
Loren Hays. (USFWS Photo by G. Hazard)
Loren Hays. (USFWS Photo by G. Hazard) - Photo Credit: n/a

Jane Hendron, Carlsbad FWO
Loren Hays, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 20 years passed away on April 18, 2008, in Huntington Beach, California, after suffering a heart attack.  Loren retired from the Service in 2006, but continued supporting our mission by volunteering his time monitoring endangered California least terns and western snowy plovers along southern California beaches.

A native of Colorado, Loren earned a degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University in 1970.  He then served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1970 – 73.  In 1985, he completed his Masters Degree in Wildlife Biology at the University of California, Long Beach.  His graduate thesis on the Ecology of Least and Western Sandpipers in Southern California received the University’s annual award for Outstanding Thesis in the School of Natural Sciences.  Loren joined the Service that same year, working at the Laguna Niguel, California, office.  When the Laguna Niguel Office was relocated to Carlsbad, California in 1992, Loren stayed on even though he faced a significantly longer commute from his home in Huntington Beach. 

Long before 4Cs and Cooperative Conservation became part of the Service’s vernacular, Loren embodied the concept of working in partnership with others to conserve species.  His efforts to develop positive relationships with the Orange County Water District, the counties of Orange and Riverside, the City of Corona, the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority and other Federal agencies, led to riparian habitat improvements along the Santa Ana River which enabled vireos to increase their nesting pairs from a low of about 19 in 1986 to more than 800 by 2004.  To help protect endangered California least terns and western snowy plovers, Loren enlisted the aid of the Sea and Sage Audubon Society and California State Parks to develop a docent program at a known breeding site at the mouth of the Santa Ana River.  These efforts paid off by reducing the number of human-related impacts to the birds and their habitat in an area that is heavily used by recreationists.  The result was a tripling of the number of fledged terns at this site between 2004 and 2005.

As he accrued years of experience, Loren never hesitated to impart his knowledge to new employees. He believed there was no better way to spend time than to mentor and interact with new employees.

He cherished his wife Debbie and daughter Rachel, and always beamed when he spoke about Rachel’s prowess on the soccer field.  But his roots in Colorado were never forgotten and each year you could count on Loren extolling the virtues of his Denver Broncos.  A life-long birder, Loren often visited known birding spots in the U.S. and Mexico.  Nancy Gilbert, Field Supervisor at the Bend, Oregon, Fish and Wildlife Office and former Carlsbad Office colleague remembers Loren as a “big-hearted man who had a passion for birds, blues guitar, and family and friends.” 

The wildlife of southern California was fortunate to have Loren in their corner acting as their advocate and champion, and the Service was lucky to be able to say he was part of our family.  He will be truly, deeply missed by all those who knew him and were fortunate enough to have worked with him.

Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov