U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Pacific Southwest RegionCalifornia, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Pacific Southwest Highlights

Service biologists work on the Delta looking for the elusive Delta smelt.

The endangered Southern California population of mountain yellow-legged frogs teetered on the brink of extinction in 2002, with fewer than 100 adults left in the wild. Credit: Joan Gilkeson/USFWS

Reintroduction of mountain yellow-legged frogs marks milestone in species rescue efforts

At a campground on the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument inside the Angeles National Forest, scientists gathered on a warm summer morning in June. In a cooler, 500 endangered tadpoles dart back and forth inside several zip tied plastic bags, unaware they would be pioneers in an effort to re-establish a population of their species in the wild.

“There are more tadpoles in this cooler than there are on this entire mountain,” said Ian Recchio, curator of Amphibians, Reptiles and Fish for the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanic Gardens.

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Service biologists work on the Delta looking for the elusive Delta smelt.

The Devils Hole pupfish population dipped to only 35 identified individuals in 2013. Although the Service has been successful in establishing a colony of pupfish in their 100,000 gallon refuge tank, predation by beetles has made recovery of eggs to create a captive-raised laboratory population nearly impossible. Credit: Olin Feuerbacher/USFWS

'From zero to 40': Trapping diving beetles preying on pupfish larvae results in increased survival of Devils Hole species

One day in December 2017, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Olin Feuerbacher was working on a Saturday at the Ash Meadows Fish Conservation Facility when he saw something that shocked him.

While reviewing a DVR recording of one of the fish tanks, he witnessed a predaceous diving beetle ripping a Devils Hole pupfish larvae to shreds. The tanks are constructed to mirror as close as possible, the pupfish's natural habitat.

“I just about fell out of my seat,” said Feuerbacher. “I watched it for a minute or so and saw it repeated. A beetle tearing apart a 2-3 millimeter larvae.”

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Leadership from FivePoint Holdings LLC were awarded the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's At-Risk Species Conservation Award for their collaborative efforts to conserve the San Fernando Valley spineflower, a tiny plant that only exists in two areas in southern California. Credit: Hazel Rodriguez/USFWS

Regional Director presents 'At-Risk Species Conservation Award' to Southern California developer,Ventura field station for efforts to avert ESA listing of San Fernando Valley spineflower

A tiny plant once believed to be extinct in southern California has a promising future thanks to innovation, perseverance, robust science, and proactive conservation efforts by conservation agencies and a southern California developer.

To recognize this conservation success, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Paul Souza presented leadership of FivePoint Holdings, LLC, and the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office with the first-ever “At Risk Species Conservation Award” on June 25, 2018. “This is a victory for proactive, partnership-driven conservation," said Paul Souza, Director of the Service’s Pacific Southwest Region

The Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office and Newhall Land and Farming Company, owned by FivePoint Holdings, completed a robust Candidate Conservation Agreement (CCA) last year, conserving over 1,500 acres within Los Angeles and Ventura counties to support spineflower conservation, establish plants in new and existing sites, and contribute to long-term management of the species.

“A healthy economy can go hand in hand with a healthy environment,” said Emile Haddad, CEO and Chairman of Fivepoint Holdings, LLC.

Watch the video.

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Warms Springs Pupfish in aquarium

Warm Springs pupfish remains on the list of federally threatened or endangered species due to predation by invasive species. Credit: USFWS

Given second chance: Warm Springs pupfish get another opportunity for desert survival

In a multi-year effort, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and volunteers recently eradicated the red swamp crayfish, an invasive species threatening the endangered Warm Springs pupfish found at the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

Ash Meadows, Nevada is a system of about 50 springs, made up of ancient waters.

“This desert oasis is unique in its high rate of endemism, providing suitable habitat to a number of species found only in and around the refuge. “It’s essentially an island in the middle of the desert,” says Corey Lee, refuge manager. “It’s just an island of water instead of an island of land.”

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Cattle owned by rancher Frank Imhof, Sr., graze on the Warm Springs Unit of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Julie Kitzenberger/USFWS

Nature's Good Neighbors Series:

A cud above: Service partnership with Bay Area cattle operation helps endangered wildlife

My grandfather was an environmentalist,” said Frank Imhof. “... he just wouldn’t have thought to put it that way.”

Like both his grandfathers and his father, Imhof is a rancher, a cattleman. Now he’s training his son, Frank Jr.—better known as Frankie—to take over the business.

But it’s a challenge in the densely populated San Francisco Bay Area, where grazing lands for cattle have been squeezed out by sprawling development.

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Lahontan cutthroat trout

More than 50,000 native Lahontan cutthroat trout are expected to be stocked in the mainstem Truckee River and in Crystal Peak Park in Verdi, Nevada, this year. Pictured here is a Lahontan cutthroat trout caught by an angler in Pyramid Lake. Cedit: Dan Hottle/USFWS

More than 50,000 native Lahontan cutthroat trout planned for Truckee River and Crystal Peak Park

Biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, are on track to stock more than 50,000 native Lahontan cutthroat trout into the mainstem Truckee River and in Crystal Peak Park in Verdi, Nevada, this year. .

The stocking is part of an ongoing effort to increase recreational fishing opportunities and to provide public awareness of decades worth of conservation efforts for the famed “monster trout.”

The Lahontan cutthroat is the state fish of Nevada. The prehistoric-era lacustrine, or lake-dwelling, form of the species resides in Nevada’s Pyramid Lake, the Truckee River and Tahoe Basin. It was conserved and raised from a broodstock at the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery in Gardnerville.

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Petroglyphs

The petroglyphs found in Black Canyon date back at least 3,000 years and are depictions of wildlife and the iconic Pahranagat Man. Planned improvements to the sites will enhance perservation of the glyphs and improve public access. Credit: USFWS

Coming soon: New trail system in Black Canyon to provide public with access to petroglyphs

While the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge in southern Nevada holds many wonders, there is a particular spot on the wildlife refuge that links today with the ancient past.

Known as the Black Canyon Archaeological District, the canyon contains archaeological sites and petroglyph panels that date back 2,000 to 3,000 years, including depictions of the iconic Pahranagat Man.

It is an area of great cultural significance to Nuwuvi (the Southern Paiutes), who consider the location to be spiritually and ceremonially important.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working to improve the site for eventual public access.

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The fire crew from the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex

The fire crew from the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex reacted to one of five fires along Interstate 5 on June 6, 2018, as they were travelling home from a three-day Fire Preparedness Review at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Credit: Jack Sparks/USFWS

San Luis Refuge Complex fire crew jumps into action to put out five grass fires along I-5

The fire crew from the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex was travelling home from a three-day Fire Preparedness Review in the late afternoon, June 6, 2018, when the firefighters encountered not one, but five vegetation fires burning in the median of Interstate 5 just outside Maxwell, California.

The seven-person crew—including two new seasonal firefighters—sprang into action, putting their training to work.

“Dense smoke was impacting visibility on the interstate and slowing traffic was creating a dangerous situation. It was clear that this was an emergency in the making,” said fire management officer Peter Kelly.

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Nadya Seal Faith and her husband Luke Faith near Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge.

Nadya Seal Faith and her husband Luke Faith near Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. Their marriage mirrors the relationship the Service and Carbon's predecessor, Seneca Resources, Inc., have cultivated for decades – working together to conserve and protect California condors. Credit: Robyn Gerstenslager/USFWS

Nature's Good Neighbors Series:

A marriage of opposites? Condor conservation, oil research link couple

Can a committed conservationist find happiness with a guy whose living focuses on the search for oil? Absolutely, provided the two share a core belief: that conservation and industry can go hand-in-hand — yes, just as they do.

The Faiths — Nadya and Luke — can show you how it’s done. Nadya Seal Faith is a conservation biologist with the Santa Barbara Zoo; Luke Faith is a foreman for Seneca Resources Inc., an oil-production company. The zoo, her employer, has worked for more than a decade with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) California Condor Recovery Program.

His employer, the oil company, has operations adjacent to Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge where — yes — biologists work to preserve the condor.

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Students and staff gather in camp on Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge at the close of Alternative Spring Break. Photo courtesy of Friends of Nevada Wilderness

'Alt Spring Break': Nevada students choose volunteer service over sun, surf at the beach

Students have many options when planning for their spring break. While some choose a week of sun and surf at the beach, 22 Nevada college students recently opted for a week of service in the desert by participating in an alternative to more well-know spring break activities.

Aptly named the Alternative Spring Break, the annual outdoor event offers students a way to connect with the rich environmental heritage of southern Nevada’s public lands.

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A collapsed bridge once blocked the original crossing at this site over Taylor Creek in Siskiyou County, California.

A collapsed bridge once blocked the original crossing at this site over Taylor Creek in Siskiyou County, California. Today, after debris removal and stream channel and bank restoration, this creek flows free. Credit: Salmon River Restoration Council

A creek flows free

Imagine you are a young steelhead trout following your instinct to swim 100 miles to the ocean, only to have the journey cut short by a collapsed bridge in the creek. Where’s a fish to go?

This scenario played out when a portion of Taylor Creek in remote Siskiyou County became impassable by a crossing that had fallen into the stream. In the summer of 2012, a survey crew from the Salmon River Restoration Council discovered the blockage and informed the landowners.

Dick Bruce, a member of one of two families who own the property, said there was no question about what needed to be done.

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A recently installed nest camera located near the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge.

Watch the Hutton's Bowl condor nest camera. This recently installed nest camera located near the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: USFWS

Live Video: Hutton's Bowl California condor nest

Watch the Hutton's Bowl condor webcam, featuring live video of California condors nesting in the wild.

This recently installed nest camera is located in Hutton's Bowl, near the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in Southern California, on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

The nest camera will stream continuously throughout the year.

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A desert trooise. Mojave Desert tortoises survive in the most extreme conditions, but they need a little help crossing the roadways. Credit: USFWS

Mojave Desert tortoises survive in the most extreme conditions, but they need a little help crossing the roadways. Credit: USFWS

How does a desert tortoise cross the highway? It can use a 'wildlife underpass'

Motorists traveling along highways in southern Nevada might not even see them. Those that do notice them probably don’t give them a second thought— unless they are driving through a rare downpour and can see water rushing through them.

However, for Mojave Desert tortoises and other wildlife, they are life savers.

Many animals use culverts to get from one side of the highway to the other, especially where the tunnels connect their habitat.

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