Pacific Southwest RegionCalifornia, Nevada and Klamath Basin
“Homage” to history
After decades of hard work by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees, volunteers, tribes and partners and after two previous efforts in the '80s and '90s, the Lanphere and Ma-le’l Dunes were finally recognized as a National Natural Landmark on January 19, 2021.
Credit: Andrea Pickart / USFWS
The return of red-legged frogs
“It was serendipitous,”said Clark Winchell from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about a recent collaborative endeavor to bring California red-legged frogs back to their natural habitat in Southern California after they were extirpated decades ago.
Photo courtesy of Bradford Hollingsworth / San Diego Natural History Museum
Rumble in the river: brook vs. bull trout
In the fictional world of trout wrestling, one of the most uneven matchups would pit brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) against bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus). When squaring off in their aquatic ‘ring,’ the invasive and scrappy ‘brookies’ are bullies, outcompeting the native bull trout by eating all the food, hogging the best shelter and generally pushing them around.
Photo courtesy of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Coleman National Fish Hatchery and Mt. Lassen Trout Farm have come together to raise endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon and release them into Battle Creek as part of the Jumpstart Project aimed at reintroducing winter-run to the watershed.
Credit: Jake Sisco / USFWS
Dredging up the past at Antioch Dunes
Over thousands of years, the shifting sands of time built dunes that reached 120 feet high and stretched for 2 miles along the San Joaquin River, about 35 miles east of San Francisco. Isolated from similar habitats, the Antioch Dunes slowly developed species found nowhere else in the world.
Credit: Brandon Honig / USFWS
Restoration brings salmon, people back to Clear Creek
“You get to see big male salmon chasing each other away from females and see females digging redds, or nests, it’s exciting.” said Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Charlie Chamberlain. “It’s something a lot of people would not expect to see in California except on National Geographic.”
Credit: Brandon Honig / USFWS
A great leap forward
Juvenile Foothill yellow-legged frogs look similar to adults except for their smaller size, more contrasting dorsal coloration and lack of significant yellow on their undersurfaces.
Credit: Rebecca Fabbri / USFWS
Using local seeds to save the sage
The idea of using local, native seeds in restoration is taking off, just like the wildfires they are designed to follow, as ecologists and botanists in Nevada embark on research to test the use of these seeds in helping burned areas recover and become resilient.
Credit: Sarah Kulpa / USFWS
Pacific Southwest Highlights
A wetland unit that previously had been dry for almost 10-years now, is flooded from using the new pipeline. Credit: USFWS
Water in the Desert – Project to improve water delivery, wetland habitat work recently completed
In an attempt to modernize the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge’s water delivery infrastructure, and combat reduced water inflow, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently completed work on a Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act funded project. Refuge staff submitted the proposal, and it was awarded funding in 2017. Work was just recently completed in 2020.
The goals of the project were to reduce water loss, improve timing of water delivery and allow independent water management for each of the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge wetland units. These goals were achieved by the installation of a three-mile underground pipeline and four lateral water delivery lines. Water conservation practices in an arid environment is a major focus in Pahranagat.
In addition to human disturbance, there are other threats to seabirds. Seen here, a bald eagle carries away a common murre in its talons. Bald eagles are a consistent predator of murres up in Oregon, but per Leisyka Parrott, interpretive specialist for the Bureau of Land Management's Arcata office, it is a new development in Trinidad, California. The most common non-human threat is ravens stealing eggs and harassing the colonies. Credit: Russ Namitz/BLM
Save future generations of seabirds - Seabird Protection Network North Coast Chapter working to protect and restore seabird populations in northern California through local volunteer assistance
The North Coast Chapter of the Seabird Protection Network continues to make a difference in in the future of seabirds. Volunteers are all set this spring and summer in Trinidad, California, to assist with Community Science which includes collecting scientific data that identifies current or potential disturbances to nesting seabirds, including cormorants, murres and gulls.
Using U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funding secured from the Natural Resources Damage Assessment process from two oil spills in Humboldt Bay in 1997 and 1999, the chapter was established in 2016 and this breeding season (April-August) will be the chapters fifth year of monitoring human disturbances such as recreation in areas around seabird nesting habitat.
What to do if the California condor visits your home
For those who live in ‘Condor Country,’ this one’s for you!
You may have recently seen images on Twitter of about 20 endangered California condors “having a party” at a residential home near Tehachapi in Southern California. While this is a remarkable sighting, this behavior can be problematic if not quickly discouraged.
Recently proposed to be listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the southern population of the Sierra Nevada red fox is estimated to consist of fewer than 50 individuals. Credit: National Park Service
What does the fox (poop) say? - DNA found in scat helps scientists learn about secretive fox
There’s an elusive fox roaming the southern Sierra Nevada, and experts are trying to learn more about its behavior and breeding success by analyzing one of the few traces of its presence — poop.
Living in areas above 9,000 feet in elevation, the fox is smaller than most, has fuzzy paws, and a thick fur coat–all adaptations to help it survive the heavy winter snows and challenging alpine conditions. Its fur can range in color from red to black to grayish-brown.
Threatened peninsular bighorn sheep at Anza Borrego Desert State Park in California. Credit: Mark Catalano/USFWS
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces Recovery Champions in California
On Endangered Species Day, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service celebrated the contributions and achievements of our nationally recognized Recovery Champions. These individuals and groups have devoted themselves to recovering endangered and threatened animals and plants.
Using prescribed fire to improve habitat and save wildlife
Much like a doctor uses medication to treat an ailment, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service often prescribes fire to increase the overall health of the land and to protect communities from catastrophic wildfire.
For the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, prescribed fire is the planned application of low to moderate intensity burns onto the landscape by fire and fuel specialists to meet land management objectives.
Salamander surveys enable the Service to work with partners to conserve and protect these sensitive amphibians from threats that could put them at risk. Pictured here is one of the three species of Shasta salamander found only around Shasta Lake in California. Credit: USFWS
Salamander sleuthing - Turning over rocks helps conservation efforts of secretive species
On a chilly, rainy day in Northern California, a 3-inch-long web-footed salamander crawls out of a rock crevice, its sticky toes clinging to an outcrop on a forested slope. While most cold-blooded animals are dormant in cooler weather, several species of salamanders are the exception to this amphibian ‘rule’ and actually require these conditions to become active above ground.
Ranging from Shasta Lake to the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains of northern California and southern Oregon, the Shasta, Siskiyou Mountains and Scott Bar salamanders live similar lifestyles. All of these salamanders are lungless, needing moist conditions to breathe through their skin. They spend both cold winters and hot, dry summers hiding under logs, deep within rock crevices, or inside limestone or other rocky caves. They only become active above ground most often at night during short periods in the late fall and spring, and during the winter when temperatures are above freezing, and humidity is high.
Bighorn sheep once roamed the American West by the millions, by the 20th century their numbers were reduced to just a few thousand individuals and were even completely extirpated in several states. Photo illustration: USFWS
Decades of wildlife restoration funding help recover Nevada’s bighorn sheep
Since the 1960s, biologists in the U.S. and Canada have undertaken an ambitious effort to recover bighorn sheep – a species that nearly vanished across western landscapes due to disease transmission from domestic sheep, degraded habitat, unregulated hunting and human disturbances.
The recovery effort in Nevada has been funded by many sources, including donations from sportsmen’s organizations that leverage a substantial amount of federal dollars provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.
8 listed flowers that light up the landscape
We’ve all heard the saying, “April showers bring May flowers,” but at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we like to say, “listed flowers are the prettiest.” Here’s a few threatened and endangered flowers in California and Nevada that we think prove our point.
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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.
Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office - 2020 Year in Review
California Condor Website
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...
And see the condor nest cameras here!
FieldNotes showcases the activities, events and conservation work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including 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 across the nation. You can find stories specific to California, Nevada and the Klamath Basin. After you've visited FieldNotes, follow us on these social media channels...