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KERN NWR: Cooperative Effort Helps Conserve California's Endangered Species
California-Nevada Offices , February 12, 2009
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In this photo from February 2009, abandoned hunting blinds create deadly traps for threatened and endangered species species at the northern Semitropic Ridge Ecological Reserve.  (photo: Greg Warrick) 
In this photo from February 2009, abandoned hunting blinds create deadly traps for threatened and endangered species species at the northern Semitropic Ridge Ecological Reserve.  (photo: Greg Warrick)  - Photo Credit: n/a

by Dave Hardt, Kern NWR
The protection of three endangered species in California‚Äôs Southern San Joaquin Valley recently received a boost due to a cooperative effort between the California Department of Fish & Game (CDFG) and staff from the Kern National Wildlife Refuge.  A parcel of land recently acquired by CDFG contains quality upland habitat that supports populations of Endangered San Joaquin kit fox, Blunt-nosed Leopard lizards and Tipton kangaroo rats.  This property, part of the Northern Semitropic Ridge Ecological Reserve, was formerly used as a waterfowl hunting club and contains abandoned concrete pit type hunting blinds.  These once useful structures have become proven death traps for T&E species currently occupying the property.  Without a means of escaping, any small animal unfortunate enough to fall into these pits is doomed.

Alternative actions to resolve the pit trap problem were considered.  Removing the numerous pits would cause significant localized damage to habitat and incidental take of listed species was likely. A decision was made to either collapse the concrete structures in place or fill the blinds with soil.  Lacking adequate heavy equipment resources to correct the problem, DFG biologists requested assistance from Kern NWR.  The refuge provided an equipment operator and backhoe to collapse and backfill the former blinds, thus eliminating any future entrapment problems.  Over a period of three days, a total of twelve blinds were collapsed or filled. 

Krista Tomlinson, Ecological Reserve Biologist for CDFG in praising the project stated "removing open-pit duck blinds that are no longer used for waterfowl hunting is beneficial both to endangered and threatened species as well as wildlife in general.   By physically collapsing the blinds and ensuring the trapping hazard is eliminated, we are reducing the risk to these species and working toward meeting our management objective of conservation of species in the San Joaquin Valley on Department owned lands."


Contact Info: David Hardt, 661-725-2767, dave_hardt@fws.gov



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