U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Pacific Southwest RegionCalifornia, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Pacific Southwest Highlights

2016 Recovery Champion, Gary Falxa. Credit: USFWS

Heroes for wildlife and plants

Recovery Champions are U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff and their partners whose work is advancing the recovery of endangered and threatened species of plants and animals in the United States.

Congratulations to our 2016 Recovery Champions!

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Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest Winner

Western snowy plovers at Malibu Lagoon State Beach. For the first time in nearly 70 years, western snowy plovers are nesting on Los Angeles County beaches. Credit: Chris Dellith/USFWS

Rare, tiny shorebird nests on Los Angeles County beaches for first time in nearly 70 years

For the first time in nearly 70 years, western snowy plovers are nesting on Los Angeles County beaches.

The first nest was found on April 18 on Santa Monica State Beach, followed by discovery of a nest on Dockweiler State Beach on April 27, and two nests on Malibu Lagoon State Beach on April 28 and May 4. The nests were discovered by monitors with Los Angeles Audubon and The Bay Foundation.

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The rare Casey’s June beetle spends a majority of its life underground, only merging briefly  in the spring to mate. Biologists Noelle Ronan and Chris Gregory have set out on a quest to research its population size and natural history. Credit: Joanna Gilkeson/USFWS.

Biologists, beetles and black lights

The Casey’s June beetle lives in and near a 3.5 mile stretch of the Palm Canyon Wash in Palm Springs, Calif., and nowhere else on earth. A secretive, slightly fuzzy insect that spends almost all of its life underground, the beetle was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 2011, due to a loss of 96 percent of its habitat.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists Noelle Ronan and Chris Gregory have set out on a quest to research the population size and natural history of this beetle, which Noelle describes as “fascinating and pretty cool.”

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Federal, state, and local agencies break ground on the University of California, Santa Barbara North Campus Open Space restoration project. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant programs contributed $3.5 million to the project to support land acquisition and planning, design and restoration. Credit: Ashley Spratt/USFWS

Over $3 million in USFWS grants support community-focused coastal restoration project

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and an array of conservation partners broke ground today in Goleta, California, officially marking the start of a planned ecological restoration of a former golf course.

The USFWS Endangered Species Recovery Land Acquisition Program granted the state of California and the university $500,000 toward acquisition of the property. An additional $3 million in matching funds from the Service’s National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants Program was awarded to assist with land acquisition as well as planning, design and the restoration itself.

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The Cassin’s auklet is vulnerable to changing weather conditions. With a breeding population on Farallon National Wildlife Refuge that had shrunk to a quarter of its 1970s numbers, staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had to account for this reality if the auklet's colony was to survive. Credit: Duncan Wright/USFWS

New nesting boxes help save seabird colony

By 8 a.m. on an unusually hot morning in May 2008, surface temperatures on Farallon National Wildlife Refuge, a rocky outcropping of small islands 30 miles off the coast of San Francisco, were already breaking records.

Cassin’s auklets, one of the species that make the islands a globally critical seabird breeding site, were dying in their nests.

Research biologists and refuge staff had augmented the auklets’ natural nests with man-made wooden ones to promote breeding for a population that had shrunk to a quarter of its 1970s numbers. Now, as temperatures climbed, they scrambled to shield nests from the heat and rescue as many of the dying birds as possible.

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The Klamath Tribal Youth Program was established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide hands-on natural resource education to local tribal youth. Since then, more than 75 percent of its participants have pursued college degrees. Credit: USFWS

Making dreams come true: Klamath Tribal Youth Program turns dreams into reality

Growing up on the Yurok Reservation in northern California, Jaycee Owsley dreamed of becoming a marine biologist.

However unrealistic her goal might have been, an opportunity in high school completely changed her future. Owsley was accepted into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Klamath Basin Tribal Youth Program.

Just five weeks into her studies, she knew exactly how to make her dream come true.

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Biologist Chad Mellison, from the Reno Fish and Wildlife Office, deploys a tracking antenna in Indian Creek on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in south central Nevada, using the same electronic tracking methods used in fish monitoring to observe the Columbia spotted frog. Credit: Jim Harvey/U.S. Forest Service

TAGGED: Nevada biologists use miniature fish technology to track Columbia spotted frogs

As most people know, catching frogs isn’t easy. Tracking and counting imperiled Columbia spotted frogs in their Nevada habitat usually requires a lot of patience. Volunteers devote a few days every year to hunt for this amphibian, painstakingly slogging through muddy creeks deep in the rugged outback of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in the name of science

But for the last few years, biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service and the Nevada Department of Wildlife have complimented that delicate, by-hand monitoring process by adopting the same electronic tracking methods used in fish monitoring.

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#WomenInScience

Graphic: Jon Myatt/USFWS

Celebrating the Service's women of science

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in California, Nevada and the Klamath Basin, recognizes the inspiring journeys and contributions of Service #Women In Science.

There are women in every capacity working the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Biologists, hydrologists, law enforcement, economists, forensic specialists, firefighters... the Service has an amazing diversity of women making history in science and wildlife conservation.

In addition, visit our Flickr album to meet more of our women scientists.

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Red maids at Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve. Credit: Joanna Gilkeson/USFWS

California's 2017 #Superbloom — A photo essay

The deserts of southern California erupted in an explosion of color during their annual inland display of wildflowers recently. A popular destination for tourists, locals, photographers and wildlife viewers, the area has experienced a surge in visitation since the blooming began. Joanna Gilkeson, of the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, joined the thousands of visitors in the desert and shared this photo essay.

“We documented this year’s super bloom because we believe in sharing the beauty of open space, providing refuge to our plants and wildlife,” she said.

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IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Tracking the Eastern Sierra Monarch

IN HER OWN WORDS: Service biologist Rachel Williams describes her work recording the locations of Eastern Sierra monarchs and their milkweed food sources. Credit: USFWS

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Tracking the eastern Sierra monarch butterfly

Like ducks and caribou, monarch butterflies migrate with the changing seasons. As the weather cools and plants begin to go dormant in the fall, monarchs fly to warmer areas to overwinter.

As a biologist in a remote part of California nestled between the Sierra Nevada Mountain range and the Great Basin desert, I have been working with other scientists and volunteers to try to learn more about the migration patterns of western monarchs.

Last summer, with the help of volunteers citizen scientists, we began recording locations of Eastern Sierra monarchs and their milkweed food sources.

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