Celebrating 10 wildlife wins from 2020

a collection of nine photos including from the top left, two toads, a small fish, a monarch butterfly, a salmon being injected, a green beetle, a toad, a ram, a hand holding two small toads, and a school of fish in blue water

Photo composite by Jake Sisco/USFWS

By Rebecca Fabbri
January 9, 2021

With 2021 underway, it’s time to look back at all the conservation successes in California and Nevada from last year. From fish and birds to amphibians and mammals, the Service had quite a year of accomplishments. Check out some of our successes with story links below.

Onlookers watch as the Nevada Department of Wildlife releases ewes from the trailer. A second trailer released three rams shortly after. Credit: Rebecca Fabbri/USFWS

Bighorn sheep return to ancestral home after a century

A partnership involving the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Nevada Department of Wildlife and the Service resulted in the reintroduction of 21 desert bighorn sheep back to Pyramid Lake in Nevada, an area where they historically ranged.

a green beetle.

Adult Ohlone tiger beetles have a striking iridescent green coloring and are known to be ferocious predators. Photo courtesy of Alex Jones/University of California, Santa Cruz

First ever translocation of Ohlone tiger beetles

The Service spearheaded the first-ever translocation of adult Ohlone tiger beetles in the world.

The goal: a self-sustaining population of the rare beetles in an area of Santa Cruz County where they’ve been absent for more than a decade. Team members continue to monitor the conditions of the translocation site and noticed active larval burrows indicating breeding success.

a small fish.

Moapa dace. Credit: Mark Hereford/U.S. Geological Survey

Biologists find over 2,000 endangered Moapa dace

The continued efforts of the Service and its partners seemingly benefitted the Moapa dace, a small endangered fish found only in the Warm Springs area of the Moapa Valley in southern Nevada. Biologists counted 2,342 Moapa dace, a 78% population increase since 2019. This is also the first time since August 2015 that the Moapa dace population topped 2,000 fish.

two brown frogs in water.

Adult male and female California red-legged frogs from the source population in Baja California, México. Breeding takes place in the spring and a female can lay more than 1,000 eggs each year. Photo courtesy of J.A. Soriano/Fauno

Threatened California red-legged frogs reintroduced to historic range in Southern California

In a historic first, a bi-national effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Conservación de Fauna del Noroeste, U.S. Geological Survey, San Diego Natural History Museum and The Nature Conservancy reintroduced a population of federally threatened California red-legged frog eggs and tadpoles to two sites in San Diego and Riverside counties where they have been absent for about 20 years.

a school of fish in blue water.

Stocked Lahontan cutthroat trout swimming in Lake Tahoe's blue water. Credit: USFWS

Over 4,600 Lahontan cutthroat trout reintroduced to its native habitat

In collaboration with our many Lake Tahoe partners, the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex released 4,645 Lahontan cutthroat trout into an area of Lake Tahoe in Nevada where the fish historically ranged. As part of a Nevada Department of Wildlife project, about 2,000 of these trout were FLOY tagged with a unique ID and phone number so anglers can report their catch and help the Department and us learn more about stocked fish movements.

an orange monarch butterfly on a white flower.

A monarch butterfly feeds on milkweed that is part of the pollinator garden on Beale Air Force Base. Credit: USFWS

Beale Air Force Base is new monarch butterfly hot spot

A partnership with Beale Air Force Base and the Service resulted in the creation of a successful pollinator garden. Hundreds of monarchs were observed stopping to rest at Beale as they travel from their winter home on California’s coast.

a fish getting a shot from a needle.

Service biologists at Livingston Stone National Fish Hatchery inject a female winter-run Chinook salmon with thiamine. Credit: Travis Webster/USFWS

Breakthrough finding links Central Valley Chinook salmon deaths with possible ties to ocean changes

Researchers from the Service, U.S. Geological Services, NOAA Fisheries and California Department of Fish and Wildlife linked juvenile Chinook salmon deaths in California’s Central Valley to potential thiamine deficiencies, also known as TDC. Biologists are now monitoring the effectiveness of thiamine injections in pre-spawning adult female winter-run Chinook salmon. The vitamin boost will hopefully mitigate potential TDC impacts on juvenile salmon behavior, performance and survival.

a yellowish frog in water.

Newly released zoo-reared Foothill yellow-legged frog. Credit: Rebecca Fabbri/USFWS

First ever release of 115 zoo-reared Foothill yellow-legged frogs

A collaborative partnership involving the Oakland Zoo, U.S. Forest Service, PG&E, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Service resulted in first ever release of 115 zoo-reared Foothill yellow-legged frogs into Plumas National Forest in California.

a large fish.

Winter-run Chinook salmon. Credit: USFWS

700 winter-run Chinook salmon return to Battle Creek

At least 700 sub-adult and adult winter-run Chinook salmon returned this year to Battle Creek exceeding expectations of around 500. This year’s returning adults were released into Battle Creek as part of the Jumpstart Project in 2018 and 2019 when 214,000 and 184,000 juveniles were released.

a hand holding two small toads.

Yosemite toads collected along State Route 108 during the maintenance project. Credit: Kris Bason/Caltrans

Special roads save Yosemite toads and other wildlife

A partnership effort between the Service, Cal Trans, U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Forest Service resulted in the creation of a culvert undercrossing in fall 2020, allowing Yosemite toads and other small animals to cross State Route 108 underneath the road safely.

Here’s to another great year for conservation. To check out our other successes, go to our main webpage at https://www.fws.gov/cno/ and check out our scrolling stories at the top of the web page or our stories under Highlights.


Rebecca Fabbri

Rebecca Fabbri

About the writer...

Rebecca Fabbri is a public affairs specialist for the Pacific Southwest Region's external affairs office located in Sacramento, California. A UC Davis graduate, she enjoys spending time with her friends and riding her horse. Popular on Instagram, Rebecca's followers include Paris Hilton.

More stories from Rebecca:

A great leap forward
Bighorn sheep return to ancestral home after a century
From “extinct” to “prolific”
8 Hidden gems
Turning back nature’s clock