U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Pacific Southwest RegionCalifornia, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Pacific Southwest Highlights

photo of bird on a tree with clusters of small holes and bumps

Photo of an acorn woodpecker and its granary tree courtesy of Lorraine Bruno.

Don't trip! You just have trypophobia

Do you get an uncomfortable, maybe even a queasy feeling, whenever you see clusters of small holes or bumps? You may have trypophobia, a.k.a the fear or aversion of seeing such sights! Some of these images may be triggering to some, but they’re just part of nature. Let’s get into it.

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an areal shot of a stream bed

Doty Creek, a restored stream using process-based restoration in the Sierra foothills in California. Photo courtesy of Placer Land Trust

Nature’s power to restore: an overlooked tool in stream restoration

For millions of years, nature has been designing and building river and wetland habitats, which are some of the most diverse and productive systems on Earth. These habitats, also known as fluvial systems, benefit society by providing important habitat for wildlife, supplying drinking water and irrigation for crops, delivering electricity through hydropower and more. However, they are imperiled due to human alterations resulting in habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation. Overtime, there’s been a growing interest in “Process-based restoration,” whereby the practitioner addresses underlying causes of degradation so the stream can rebuild and restore the wildlife habitat on its own.

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a woman squatting down looking at a goose

Administrative officer Andria Grafflin makes a new friend in a park near the San Francisco Bay-Delta Fish and Wildlife Office in Sacramento, where she has worked since 2016. Credit: David Kimbrell/USFWS

People Profile: Administrative officer brings ‘service’ to the Service - Andria Grafflin picked up valuable lessons on her journey to the Service

It’s 2012, and after moving from Utah back to the sunny state of California, Andria Grafflin was ready to return to the workforce. Her children were getting older and she felt the time was right.

What began as “just a job,” at a home furnishing retail store turned into an experience that has had a lasting impact on the way Grafflin approaches customer service in her current position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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Lory sits in front of red boulders

Hiking in Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada as part of the Ecology, Conservation and Evolution Club that I co-founded as an undergrad. Credit: Lory Salazar-Velasquez

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Representation in STEM: How USFWS addresses diversity for a better future

As a person of color, my experience moving into a predominantly White graduate school for a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program was difficult; being surrounded by not just white students, but white faculty and professors made me question the validity of my place there. The field is already so saturated with White people, so where do I fit in? Can I comfortably be part of a group with such a distinct social background from mine?

These thoughts and feelings are not unfounded. Pew Research Center reports that in 2016, Black and Hispanic people made up only 16% of those working STEM jobs. Additionally, 44% of Asians, 42% of Hispanics and 62% of Black employees stated they experienced some sort of racial or ethnic discrimination at work, as opposed to a smaller 13% of Whites. The apparent imbalance in racial, ethnic, and gender representation across STEM is widely acknowledged, but addressing it often falls through the cracks.

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a man pops a reverse wheeley on his bike in the desert

Nathan Grill gets a good shot at the dry lake bed — the first stop on the 40 mile route. Photo courtesy of Mark Duncan

Ride the Refuge - Nevada’s Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge edition

Did you know that many national wildlife refuges across the nation are open to cyclists? Refuges offer open roads, beautiful vistas, and opportunities to see diverse wildlife in their natural habitat. Skip the crowds at more well-known places and find plentiful parking, bathrooms, and friendly staff at a refuge near you.

We talked to local cyclists who gave us their favorite routes in and around refuges. They gave us insider knowledge on road conditions, places of interest along the way, and the best time of year to complete the ride. If you go, post your photos and tag @usfws or use the hashtag #ridetherefuge. We’d love to see your adventure! Make sure you check the refuge website before you go to make sure roads are open to cyclists.

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a juvenile albatross sitting on the water

A young short-tailed albatross that has been spotted along the California coast. Photo courtesy of Brad R. Lewis

Don’t Chum the Albatross! - Guidelines for Ethical Wildlife Viewing

We need your help

We are asking members of the birding community to be ambassadors for ethical wildlife viewing.

We’ve received reports of illegal chumming and baiting of a critically endangered short-tailed albatross along the central California coast. Feeding or getting too close to this imperiled bird may cause undue stress, lead to habituation, and reduce its chances of being able to survive in the wild. While we’re excited to see this remarkable bird paying a visit to California waters, short-tailed albatross are a federally protected species under the Endangered Species Act, and any form of harassment or disturbance is a violation of federal law.

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a close up of a man holding a small yellow bird

Portrait courtesy of Alex Miller

A Conversation with Liquidverve - Connecting with nature through photography

Alex Miller is a Los Angeles-based portrait photographer who was born and raised in Berlin, Germany. With over three years of professional photography under her belt, many within the social media community may recognize Miller as “Liquidverve.” Unlike most photographers, Miller uses natural light in her work 99% of the time. We caught up with her recently to find out how nature impacts her art and why we should preserve these wild places.

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a man standing on a sandy ledge next to a tree

Daniel Cisneros, first-ever Kendra Chan Conservation Fellow, stands beneath an island oak (Quercus tomentella) in a cloud forest on Santa Rosa Island, one of the northern Channel Islands off the California coast. Photo courtesy of Daniel Cisneros

A legacy lives on through the Kendra Chan Conservation Fellowship

Daniel Cisneros stood atop one of the highest peaks on Santa Rosa Island off the California coast, admiring the island oak and bishop pine trees, an ancient forest among the clouds brought back to life after years of human disturbance.

Cisneros, an ecology student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Santa Barbara Botanic Garden to conduct a germination study for five rare plant species on the Channel Islands. Their work will shed light on the role seed banking can play to help struggling plant populations.

Cisneros’ research is made possible by the Kendra Chan Conservation Fellowship, a first-of-its kind annual program that honors the late wildlife biologist Kendra Chan by giving budding scientists an opportunity to learn about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s mission and help endangered species.

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"Pacific Southwest Highlights" presents the latest news about the region.
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Pacific Southwest Region – California, Nevada, Klamath Basin,
please visit our comprehensive News Release site.

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