North Coast Region Endangered Species
The Endangered Species Program in the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office has the responsibilities for activities specified under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as Amended, for Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Siskiyou, and Trinity Counties, CA. The office collects and maintains information on listed species that live in these counties, including legal status, survey and distributional data, life history requirements, recovery needs, population status, threats, and conservation needs.
Listed species found at Humboldt Bay NWR Complex include:
California Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus)
Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina)
Western Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus)
Tidewater Goby (Eucyclogobius newberryi)
Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch)
Adult coho may measure more than 2 feet (61 cm) in length and can weigh up to 36 pounds (16 kg). However, the average weight of adult coho is 8 pounds (3.6 kg). Coho salmon have dark metallic blue or greenish backs with silver sides and a light belly and there are small black spots on the back and upper lobe of the tail while in the ocean. The gumline in the lower jaw has lighter pigment than does the Chinook salmon. Coho spend approximately the first half of their life cycle rearing and feeding in streams and small freshwater tributaries. Spawning habitat is small streams with stable gravel substrates. The remainder of the life cycle is spent foraging in estuarine and marine waters of the Pacific Ocean. Spawning fish in inland rivers are dark with reddish-maroon coloration on the sides.
Coho salmon adults migrate from a marine environment into freshwater streams and rivers of their birth in order to mate (called anadromy). They spawn only once and then die (called semelparity). Adults return to their stream of origin to spawn and die, usually at around three years old. Some precocious males known as "jacks" return as two-year-old spawners. Spawning males develop a strongly hooked snout and large teeth. Females prepare several redds (nests) where the eggs will remain for six to seven weeks until they hatch.
The species was historically distributed throughout the North Pacific Ocean from central California to Point Hope, Alaska, through the Aleutian Islands, and from the Anadyr River, Russia, south to Hokkaido, Japan. Coho probably inhabited most coastal streams in Washington, Oregon, and central and northern California. Some populations, now considered extinct, are believed to have migrated hundreds of miles inland to spawn in tributaries of the upper Columbia River in Washington, and the Snake River in Idaho. Coho still occur in Alaska as well.
Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
Steelhead trout can reach up to 55 pounds (25 kg) in weight and 45 inches (120 cm) in length, though average size is much smaller. They are usually dark-olive in color, shading to silvery-white on the underside with a heavily speckled body and a pink to red stripe running along their sides.
Steelhead are a unique species; individuals develop differently depending on their environment. While all steelhead hatch in gravel-bottomed, fast-flowing, well-oxygenated rivers and streams, some stay in fresh water all their lives. These fish are called rainbow trout. The steelhead that migrate to the ocean develop a much more pointed head, become more silvery in color, and typically grow much larger than the rainbow trout that remain in fresh water. Adults migrate from a marine environment into the freshwater streams and rivers of their birth in order to mate (called anadromy). Unlike other Pacific salmonids, they can spawn more than one time (called iteroparity). Migrations can be hundreds of miles.
Young animals feed primarily on zooplankton. Adults feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects, mollusks, crustaceans, fish eggs, minnows, and other small fishes (including other trout). Steelhead are capable of surviving in a wide range of temperature conditions. They do best where dissolved oxygen concentration is at least 7 parts per million. In streams, deep low-velocity pools are important wintering habitats. Spawning habitat consists of gravel substrates free of excessive silt.
Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)
Chinook salmon are easily the largest of any salmon, with adults often exceeding 40 pounds (18 kg). Individuals over 120 pounds (54 kg) have been reported.
Chinook salmon are very similar to coho salmon in appearance while at sea (blue-green back with silver flanks), except for their large size, small black spots on both lobes of the tail, and black pigment along the base of the teeth.
Adults migrate from a marine environment into the freshwater streams and rivers of their birth in order to mate (called anadromy). They spawn only once and then die (called semelparity). They feed on terrestrial and aquatic insects, amphipods, and other crustaceans while young, and primarily on other fishes when older. Juvenile Chinook may spend from 3 months to 2 years in freshwater before migrating to estuarine areas as smolts and then into the ocean to feed and mature. Chinook salmon remain at sea for 1 to 6 years (more commonly 2 to 4 years), with the exception of a small proportion of yearling males (called jack salmon) which mature in freshwater or return after 2 or 3 months in salt water.
There are different seasonal (i.e., spring, summer, fall, or winter) "runs" in the migration of Chinook salmon from the ocean to freshwater, even within a single river system. In the U.S., Chinook salmon are found from the Bering Strait area off Alaska south to Southern California. Historically, they ranged as far south as the Ventura River, California. Chinook salmon also occur along the coast of Siberia and south to Hokkaido Island, Japan.
Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus)
The Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) is the largest member of the Otariid (eared seal) family. Males may be up to 325 cm (10-11 ft) in length and can weigh up to 1,100 kg (2,400 lb). Females are smaller than males, 240-290 cm (7.5-9.5 ft) in length and up to 350 kg (770 lb) in mass. Males and females are light buff to reddish brown and slightly darker on the chest and abdomen; naked parts of the skin are black. Wet animals usually appear darker than dry ones.
Steller sea lion are distributed across the North Pacific Ocean rim from northern Hokkaido, Japan, through the Kuril Islands, Okhotsk Sea, and Commander Islands in Russia, the Aleutian Islands, central Bering Sea, and southern coast of Alaska, and south to the Channel Islands off California. During the May-to-July breeding season, Steller sea lions congregate at more that 40 rookeries, where adult males defend territories, pups are born, and mating takes place. Steller sea lions are opportunistic predators, feeding primarily of a wide variety of fishes and cephalopods. Prey varies geographically and seasonally.
Pacific Fisher (Martes pennanti)
The fisher belongs to the weasel family (Mustelidae). Fishers are similar to the much smaller weasels. They have a long body with short legs. Adults range in length from 90 to 120 centimeters (about 2.5 to 4 feet). Males weigh 3 to 6 kilograms (about 7 to 13 pounds), females 1.5 to 2.5 kilograms (about 3 to 5.5 pounds).
The fisher's head is broad and flat with a sharp, pronounced muzzle. Its eyes face forward and ears are broad, rounded and low. The tail is long and bushy. Fur color varies from light brown to dark blackish brown, typically being darkest on lower back, legs and tail. The face, neck and shoulders may have a lighter grizzled gray appearance. Often there are irregular white patches on the chest and underside.
Fishers have five toes on all four feet and retractable claws. Their feet are large with a pad on each toe and a group of four central pads. Fishers can rotate their hind paws almost 180 degrees, allowing them to come down trees head first like a squirrel and grasp limbs. On the hind paws, the central pads have circular patches of coarse hair that are associated with plantar glands which produce a distinctive odor believed to be used for communication during reproduction.
Fishers are opportunistic predators with a diverse diet that includes birds, porcupines, snowshoe hare, squirrels, mice, shrews, voles, reptiles, insects, deer carrion, vegetation and fruit. The name "fisher" is misleading. Fishers do not actually catch fish! Recent surveys indicate that the fisher occupies less than half of the range in California that it did in the early 1900s, and that the population is divided into two remnants. One is in the southern Sierra and the other in the northwest corner of the state. These populations are separated by about 250 miles, almost four times the species' maximum dispersal distance.
Menzies’ wallflower (Erysimum menziesii)
Beach layia (Layia carnosa)
Western lily (Lilium occidentale)