Pacific Southwest RegionCalifornia, Nevada and Klamath Basin
Fighting bird crime one feather at a time
As a forensic ornithologist for the last 20 years, Dr. Pepper Trail has been successful at solving hundreds of crimes involving birds from around the world.
Credit: Susan Sawyer / USFWS
With National Hunting and Fishing Day right around the corner, we bring you some national wildlife refuges we think are the perfect place to start your hunting season.
Credit: Gary R. Zahm / USFWS
Creating a legacy for South Sacramento
The South Sacramento County Habitat Conservation Plan is 317,000 acres in size – about 10 times the size of the city of San Francisco – and supports community growth while conserving agricultural lands and open spaces.
Credit: Jake Sisco / USFWS
It was 'do or die'
All of the time, money and energy Mike and Patricia McCoy invested in saving the Tijuana Estuary rested on this one meeting. For $7.6 million, the 606 acres was at the time, the most expensive dollar per acre refuge acquisition in the history of the refuge system.
Credit: Joanna Gilkeson / USFWS
8 Hidden Gems
Explore and find solitude at these National Wildlife Refuges in California, Nevada & Klamath Basin. Shown here, a scenic photo of Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge in Southern Oregon.
Credit: Doug Lester / USFWS
A rat's best friend
The connection between grazing, vegetation cover and abundance of kangaroo rats is clear — cattle grazing improves the species' survivability. At left, a Stephen’s kangaroo rat perches on biologist Dan Grout’s hand during a survey near Camp Pendleton, California.
Credit: Joanna Gilkeson / USFWS
South Bay icon
From their treasured picnicking spot on the San Francisco Bay in 1951, Florence LaRiviere and her husband saw that the city was “scooping" of mud from the bottom of the bay...and dropping all that mud on live, beautiful tidal marsh” to maintain the harbor, she said. It was the day her journey in conservation began.
Credit: Jon Myatt / USFWS
Pacific Southwest Highlights
In honor of National Wildlife Refuge Week, take this opportunity for a recreational experience you will never forget
Did you know, aside from foraging and literally surviving, that national wildlife refuge birds wear lots of hats? Our certified greeters will welcome you with open wings.
Dr. Anuja Parikh is a botanist, wife, sister, daughter and breast cancer survivor. She played an instrumental role in collecting key data to support land managers’ and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s work to recover the San Fernando Valley spineflower.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Nathan Gale
Breast cancer survivor, botanist beats the odds
“Field season is coming,” said Dr. Anuja Parikh. “You can’t just sit around during field season.” She put on her gel prosthesis underneath her field gear, and headed to the day’s survey site: the slopes of Grapevine Mesa in southern California. Her husband, Dr. Nathan Gale, hiked just ahead of her, bushwhacking through some of the heavier brush to protect his wife from the thorny branches.
“The prosthesis was filled with gel, and I didn’t want it to get poked by a shrub and have that stuff oozing out everywhere!” she said. It was the spring of 2000.
Parikh is a botanist, wife, sister, daughter and breast cancer survivor. She played an instrumental role in collecting key data to support land managers’ and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s work to recover the San Fernando Valley spineflower, a tiny buckwheat plant once believed to be extinct in Southern California.
After the construction of Derby Dam, water flowed towards Fallon, Nevada, the desert turned shades of green and communities expanded, but the shift in water management also took its toll on one of Nevada’s most prized native sportfish, the Lahontan cutthroat trout.
Photo courtesy of Greg Ritland
Back after more than a century – Fish screen to allow iconic Lahontan cutthroat trout to complete natural migration route for first time in over 100 years
In 1905, the same year Albert Einstein introduced E=mc2 to the world, a newly formed U.S. Reclamation Service (now Bureau of Reclamation) unveiled its first large-scale water infrastructure project in Nevada. Commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt, the Derby Dam was constructed to divert water for irrigation from the Truckee River and Pyramid Lake.
With the dam in place, water flowed towards Fallon, Nevada. The desert turned shades of green and communities expanded, but the shift in water management also took its toll on one of Nevada’s most prized native sportfish, the Lahontan cutthroat trout.
Marsh-in campers tour the restored wetlands on the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Refuge’s Summer Camp now a community tradition
“Thank you for providing an opportunity for our kids to participate in something meaningful this summer, and giving us access to something fun and educational that we likely would not have been able to do financially had there been a fee.”
That’s what a parent had to say about their child’s participation in the 2019 Marsh-In Summer Camp on the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Alviso, California. Every year the Refuge’s Environmental Education Center hosts this unique and cost-free opportunity for local kids to experience nature among wildlife and wetland habitat, in the middle of a densely populated urban area.
See the full story...
"In a competitive job market, you soon find that it’s a sizeable challenge to find a permanent job. For me, that’s where the Directorate Resource Assistants Fellowship Program came into play," says doctoral candidate Andrew Dennhardt. Credit: USFWS
An intern's story – A Resource Assistants Fellow shares how program boosts budding biologists' careers and brings 'experiences of a lifetime'
On one of my first days as an intern, I heard the call of a male least Bell’s vireo. He was barely visible to the naked eye amidst dense and dark foliage along the Santa Clara River. His call reminded me of why I came here to Ventura, California in the summer of 2019: to help conserve the eloquence of his inimitable song for generations to come.
I arrived at the Ventura U.S. Fish and Wildlife Office in late May, charged with working alongside biologists to study and synthesize historic information on the conservation and management of this rare migratory songbird along one of Southern California’s last remaining natural riverways. With the Ventura team, I produced a management and monitoring plan for the vireo in the Santa Clara River, highlighting future recovery and the means to that end.
Service employees inspire others with a Sense of Wonder'
Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife biologist Akimi King has won the 2019 Pacific Southwest Region's Sense of Wonder Award. King was recognized for her long-term work with the Connecting People with Nature initiative, her high quality environmental education programming, and her efforts to educate local communities throughout the Klamath Basin about pollinators, especially monarch butterfly conservation.
The Sense of Wonder Recognition Program recognizes a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee who has designed, implemented or shown visionary leadership in an interpretive or environmental education program that fosters a sense of wonder and enhances public stewardship of our wildlife heritage.
Birders will find California brown pelicans, great egrets (pictured above), marsh wrens, great blue herons, sparrows, and double-crested cormorants year-round at Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve in Santa Barbara, California.
Credit: Hazel Rodriguez/USFWS
Marsh of Dreams – The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, partners build nest platforms and improve habitat at the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve
“It’s a very secretive salt marsh bird,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program biologist Colleen Grant. “You could be 20 feet away from them, but you'll never see them.”
The light-footed Ridgway’s rail (formerly known as light-footed clapper rail) once inhabited the wetlands that occupied California’s coast, from Santa Barbara County to San Quintin Bay in Baja California, Mexico. Today, the species ranges from southern Ventura County to Ensenada. The last sighting of the rail in Santa Barbara County’s Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve was in 2004.
Klamath Basin Sucker Recovery Team members with their Recovery Champion awards at the sucker rearing facility near Klamath Falls.
Credit: Mike Long/USFWS
Recovery Champions – Klamath Basin sucker program team receives 2018 conservation award
On Endangered Species Day in May, 10 members of the Klamath Basin sucker recovery team, eight former and current U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees and two external partners were selected as the Pacific Southwest Region Recovery Champions for 2018.
Members of the team are: Mike Senn, deputy assistant regional director, Ecological Services; Dan Blake, Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office field supervisor; Evan Childress, sucker program supervisor; Josh Rasmussen, fish biologist; Joel Ophoff, fish technician; and former Service employees Laurie Sada, Kirk Groves and Julie Day; and external partners Ron Barnes and Tracey Liskey.
California's Central Valley plays a critical role in supporting western monarch butterflies. Farmers can help by planting milkweed and other nectar-rich flowers that bloom in the spring and early fall alongside their primary crops.
Credit: Tom Koerner/USFWS
Monarchs need your help – New guide explains how farmers can bolster butterfly populations
Over the past few decades, monarch populations across the United States have declined, and they need your help.
The western population has especially hit a record low, decreasing 99 percent since the 1980s.
From October to February, most monarch butterflies spend the winter along the California coast, and then migrate inland in the spring for breeding. California’s Central Valley is an important part of the western monarch’s range, both for breeding in the early spring and for supporting the butterflies as they move through the region during their migrations.
A youngster from the Bob Price Community Center proudly displays the huge weed she pulled from one of the tortoise habitats at the Gilcrease Orchard in Las Vegas.
Credit: Dan Balduini/USFWS
A helping hand – Las Vegas orchard provides fresh produce, safe homes for owls, and now, tortoises
In the far northwest part of the Las Vegas Valley, surrounded by housing developments, the Gilcrease Orchard is a popular spot where people can purchase fresh, seasonal produce throughout the year and perhaps catch a glimpse of some native wildlife.
The orchard became a non-profit foundation more than 20 years ago in order to save one of the last vestiges of agriculture in the Las Vegas Valley.
The foundation has been working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for about 10 years to provide protected land for burrowing owls.
Solar energy planners in Nye County, Nevada hope to alleviate any impacts to habitat for the endangered desert tortoise, like the one shown above near Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Dana Wilson/BLM
Can desert tortoises and solar arrays co-exist?
One solar energy facility in southern Nevada is helping to answer that question
Motorists driving into or out of Pahrump on Nevada Route 160 pass by it every day. On the east side of the highway north of town, about a mile beyond the Calvada Meadows Airport, drivers might notice a shining array of community solar panels.
What they see is an 80-acre solar site on East Simkins Road which provides electricity to homes in Nye County, Nevada. Solar power facilities are now common sights in the Mojave Desert. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service chose to make this one a bit different.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service depends on support from other fire agencies, like this firefighter from the U.S. Forest Service, to conduct prescribed burns.
Credit: Brian German/USFWS
Fighting fire with fire – Prescribed burns on refuges improve habitat, reduce wildfire risk
Snow-capped mountains and blue skies sat in sharp contrast to the red flames burning slowly across the dried cattails and bulrush on an early spring morning in northern Nevada.
Brian German, a fire operations specialist, led his team of firefighters as they used drip torches to ignite the dry marsh and build a steady line of flames to create a “blackline” around the perimeter of a wetland unit at Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
Not long after, one of the firefighters lobbed a firing device into the center of the unit, which exploded to create a slow fire that crept outward toward the blackline.
"Pacific Southwest Highlights" presents the latest news about the region.
You can search for recently published stories from our newsroom here.
Recent News Releases
If you wish to view news releases about the
Pacific Southwest Region – California, Nevada, Klamath Basin,
please visit our comprehensive News Release site.
You can also find our archives of older articles archived in "Field Notes."
Sign up to receive our latest news and features via email at GovDelivery.com.
Find a Refuge or Hatchery
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.
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...