Pacific Southwest RegionCalifornia, Nevada and Klamath Basin
Saving a Rare Desert Fish on the Brink of Extinction
A rare species of desert fish fighting for its survival in a fresh water pond in the desert landscape of southern Nevada – the Pahrump poolfish. One of the last remaining populations of the endangered fish is at alarmingly low numbers – below 1,000, compared to 10,000 recorded in 2015. Credit: Enrique Villar/USFWS
Habitat Improvements Lead to New Discovery on Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge
Habitat improvements on Bitter Creek NWR lead to first capture of a giant kangaroo rat, show here. Credit: Larry Saslaw/CSU Stanislaus
A Sacramento Biologist's Love of the Delta Became Her Life's Calling
"I feel blessed that I’m able to pass along to my family all of the conservation and river access opportunities close to my Elk Grove neighborhood..."
— Heather Swinney
Credit: Steve Martarano/USFWS
Saving North America’s Rarest Trout
Joseph Lehr, CDFW fish biologist, transfers a captured Paiute cutthroat trout from a stream to a bucket for further monitoring. Credit: Dan Hottle/USFWS
California’s 'True' Frogs are on Road to Recovery
Mountain yellow-legged frogs once numbered in the thousands, inhabiting streams like Pacoima Creek in Los Angeles County and Pauma Creek in San Diego County. Credit: Adam Backlin/USGS
Citizen Scientists’ Data Use to Study Migration of Western Monarch Population
Using the data collected at the Thanksgiving Count, scientists from the Service are researching ways to protect and enhance habitat for monarch butterflies in the western U.S. Credit: Lee Kensigner/USFWS
After Years of Severe Drought, White-Faced Ibis Colony Returns to Nest at Sacramento Refuge
For the first time in recent years, refuge managers observed ibis breeding on the complex’s wetlands. Credit: Hazel Holby/USFWS
Nevada Ranching Group Grazing Cattle For Sustainable Results
Rancher Agee Smith and the “Shoesole" group uses innovative management practices to guide resource conservation on more than 200,000 acres in remote northeast Nevada. Credit: Dan Hottle/USFWS
Pacific Southwest Highlights
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To the keen observer, Smith’s blue butterflies can be seen fluttering the coastal dunes or perched upon buckwheat plants around Monterey Bay from the Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge southward to Sand City.
Credit: Diane Kodama/USFWS
A Silver Lining for Rare Smith’s Blue Butterflies
With a wingspan of only one inch, Smith’s blue butterflies are a challenge to spot with the naked eye.
Despite their small size and rarity, the attractive bright blue coloring of the males and bright orange and brown coloring of the females never fails to catch the attention of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service senior fish and wildlife biologist Jacob Martin.
Martin, based in Santa Cruz., is a native Californian and works to help recover threatened and endangered wildlife. He has studied the butterfly for more than 10 years.
Vector, the wildlife scent detecting dog, with his trainer, Lauralea Oliver, during a break in the search for the elusive Morro Bay kangaroo rat in San Luis Obispos County. Credit: Chris Kofron/USFWS
Vector, the Scent Detection Dog and the Search for the Elusive Morro Bay Kangaroo Rat
Last spotted in 1986, the Morro bay kangaroo rat has eluded biologists for more than three decades.
While some in the conservation community believe this tiny native mammal may have gone the way of the dodo, two local biologists have reason to believe that a few isolated colonies may still exist in the remaining patches of coastal dune scrub along California’s central coast near Los Osos in San Luis Obispo County.
Biologists See Slight Rise in 2016 Juvenile Delta Smelt Numbers, Though Still Below 2012 Estimates
For the first time, Service scientists are able to estimate the number – or abundance – of juvenile smelt throughout the estuary using the State’s surveys and new mathematical modeling. Not only are the scientists estimating current numbers, but they are also able to go back in time and estimate past population sizes. For example, they now estimate that there were 16.4 million juvenile Delta smelt in the estuary in 1996.
Using the State of California’s June Delta smelt surveys, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates there were nearly 114,000 juvenile smelt in the estuary this past summer. This is up from an estimate of 63,000 juveniles in 2015, but still considerably down from 2012 estimates of 5.2 million.
USFWS Biologist Inspires a “Sense of Wonder” in Southern California’s Urban Children
Michael Glenn has a knack for getting kids to dig in the dirt. It’s a character trait few possess in an era of on-demand television, cell phone games, and dwindling green spaces. This year, on his tenth anniversary with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, biologist Michael Glenn was honored by the agency with the nomination for the regional Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Award, which recognizes individuals who embody the storytelling legacy of Rachel Carson, who more than three decades ago inspired an entire generation to become stewards of our environment.
A cultured delta smelt image inlcuded in the marking study. The study compared the natural markings identification performance of photo recognition software versus human eye indentification. Credit: USFWS
Delta Smelt Markings Study One of Many Highlights at 2016 Bay Delta Science Conference
SACRAMENTO (Nov. 15, 2016) – The feasibility of using natural external marks such as spots and scars to better study cultured Delta Smelt will be the basis of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Gonzalo Castillo’s presentation at the 2016 Bay Delta Science Conference that began today. The conference runs Thursday, November 17.
Castillo’s presentation, “Identification of Individual Cultured Delta Smelt Using Visual and Automated Analysis of Natural Marks,” is one of several featuring USFWS scientists over the conference’s three days (full list below). The popular bi-annual conference provides a forum for presenting technical analyses and results related to the Delta Science Program and to provide new information to the broad community of scientists, engineers, resource managers, and stakeholders working on Bay-Delta issues.
In southern California, mountain yellow-legged frogs once numbered in the thousands, inhabiting streams like Pacoima Creek in Los Angeles County and Pauma Creek in San Diego County. Credit: Adam Backlin/USGS.
Precious Cargo: Brighter Future For 100 Juvenile Mountain Yellow Legged Frogs, Tadpoles
As I drove up the curving road heading into the San Jacinto Mountains, much of the landscape was dry and yellowed, reflecting the current drought conditions.
After reaching the rendezvous point, I met the group of partners that would be releasing more than one hundred endangered mountain yellow-legged frogs into their natural habitat. The researchers included a mix of federal, state, and local agencies and organizations, all with one designated purpose that day – to help further recovery of an endangered species.
Monarch butterfly artwork by students of Bernice Curren School, in Oxnard, Calif., honoring loved ones lost on Dia de los Muertos. Credit: Joanna Gilkeson/USFWS
Monarch Migration Connects Kids to Culture and Conservation During 'El Dia de los Muertos' Celebration in Southern California
The Curren School in Oxnard, Calif., a coastal town north of Los Angeles, partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently to host El Dia de los Muertos Monarch Butterfly Festival, celebrating the migration of the monarch butterfly and to educate the public about the risks it faces.
Ben Wallace, executive director of the Contra Costa Resource Conservation District, inspects the finished project during a recent tour of the fish passage facility. Credit: Steve Martarano/USFWS
Pinole Creek Fish Passage Project May Be Easy To Miss, But Its Importance Isn’t
What the eye of the average I-80 traveler might not see, however, doesn’t hide the project’s impact. A wide range of planners worked through many obstacles to restore access to the upper reaches of Pinole Creek to assist the current population of threatened Central California Coast Steelhead.
The project, the biggest one ever undertaken by the Contra Costa Resource Conservation District (CCRCD), is designed to provide flow through the south culvert box and improve access to nearly seven miles of documented quality steelhead spawning and rearing habitat on the main stem of Pinole Creek.
"The Big Foot," by Bay Area artist and scupltor Beverly Mayeri, features photos of California's endangered wildlife. Credit: Steve Martarano/USFWS
Artist’s 'Big Foot' Project Highlights Human Impact on California’s Species in Peril
Beverly Mayeri’s clay pieces were once described in a 2003 New York Times review as evoking “something rare in contemporary art – a richly complicated human presence.”
Now, 13 years later, the Mill Valley-based sculptor is still showing how that human presence is affecting us. California’s endangered wildlife is the inspiration behind Mayeri’s “The Big Foot,” a 68-inch tall photo collage of vulnerable species in California pasted onto a paper mache foot.
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The Western Monarch
The Monarch Story...
The monarch butterfly is one of the most recognizable species of wildlife in all of America. They undertake one of the world's most remarkable and fascinating migrations, traveling thousands of miles over many generations from Mexico, across the United States, to Canada. Learn about their amazing journey and how you can help them.
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California Condor Recovery Program
The California Condor Recovery Program (Recovery Program) is a multi-entity effort, led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to recover the endangered California condor. Cooperators include the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Arizona Game and Fish Department, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, San Diego Zoo Los Angeles Zoo, Oregon Zoo, Santa Barbara Zoo, Chapultepec Zoo, Peregrine Fund, and Ventana Wildlife Society, among others. Learn more here...
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FieldNotes showcases the activities, events and conservation work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service here in the Pacific Southwest Region. The articles inside are written by our employees and reflect the efforts of the Service and our partners in conserving and preserving the unique natural resources here in California, Nevada and the Klamath Basin. After you've visited FieldNotes, follow us on these social media channels...