CNDDB News Blog

  • June 3, 2019

Trish and Greg TatarianToday’s Contributor Spotlight features Trish & Greg Tatarian, an inspiring couple who jointly own and operate Wildlife Research Associates (WRA), a Bay Area-based ecological consulting firm. Together, they have contributed over 300 source documents to CNDDB, which have provided data for hundreds of wildlife occurrences. In turn, they use CNDDB data at the start of almost every project during CEQA document preparation.

When Greg started WRA in 1991, his focus was humane wildlife damage control, and research on artificial roosts for bats. Trish, an amphibian expert, joined in 2000, opening WRA’s horizons to a multi-species approach. As a team, they have made great advances in bat avoidance and mitigation measures in the consulting world, and helped educate agency and independent biologists through California red-legged frog workshops they conducted for many years. Greg’s recent link opens in new windowConservation Lecture Series presentation on bat conservation further demonstrates the couple’s commitment to education.

They share a lifelong fascination with wildlife. Trish worked for years in wildlife rescue, while Greg’s passion for helping wildlife started with the coral reef aquarium industry, and a mentor who introduced him to humane solutions to human-wildlife conflicts. Trish’s personal career highlights thus far include peregrine falcon reintroduction efforts and California red-legged frog research throughout the state. In addition to his other work with bats, Greg is happiest when helping conserve bat species and their habitat through designing on- and in-structure bat roost replacement habitat for bridge upgrade/replacement projects.

Trish and Greg have tons of good advice for aspiring biologists! Here are some highlights:
Trish: “Try and get as much experience as possible from a wide variety of people... being a generalist is often more rewarding than being a species specialist. The more you look, the more you will see.”
Greg: “Volunteer for short-term projects for a wide range of species… you’ll learn so much from the specialists and those with extensive experience that will transfer to whatever field work you later conduct. Try to come to an understanding with yourself early on whether you have a strong desire to work in the field… field work isn’t for everyone, but it provides a set of experiences and observations that are unique.” As for co-owning a business with one’s spouse: “Field work is very rewarding as a team… it also helps that we get along well, which explains how we could live together on a 37’ sailboat for 10 years.”

When asked if they have a favorite plant or animal that they’ve worked with, Greg and Trish answered unanimously, like true field biologists: “Whichever one is in my hand!”

We thank the Tatarians for sharing their field data with CNDDB. Find them online at link opens in new

Want to be featured in CNDDB’s Contributor Spotlight? Contact Rachel at

Categories: Contributor Spotlight
  • May 31, 2019

During the month of May, the CNDDB got some great photos along with many link opens in new windowOnline Field Survey Form submissions. With the weather warming up, emerging plant and animal species can be seen more easily which can lead to great photo opportunities! Here are our favorites from this month.

Aquila chrysaetos – golden eagle
Submitted by Kathy Kayner

flying female golden eagle

male golden eagle by nest

Kathy spotted male and female golden eagles with a nest near El Dorado Hills in west El Dorado County. She was able to get the female in flight and the male perched next to their impressively built nest! The golden eagle is a California Fish and Wildlife Fully Protected species. The database currently has 259 mapped golden eagle occurrences in 34 counties across California. Thank you Kathy, for your contribution!

Streptanthus albidus ssp. peramoenus – most beautiful jewelflower
Submitted by Kristi Lazar of the California Natural Diversity Database

closeup of the most beautiful jewelflower

Kristi, CNDDB's very own botanist, found these interesting flowers in Contra Costa County along a trail she was hiking. It is more commonly known as the "most beautiful jewelflower," which it certainly lives up to. Streptanthus albidus ssp. peramoenus has a longer blooming period that includes the spring and summer months, perfect timing for those out to enjoy a hike. It is a California Rare Plant Rank 1B.2 plant, only found in the Coast Ranges of California. Thank you Kristi, for such an amazing photo!

Do you have some great photos of rare plant or wildlife detections? Submit them along with your findings through our link opens in new windowOnline Field Survey Form and see if your photos get showcased!

Categories: Contributor Spotlight
  • May 29, 2019

snail on a rockToday, we celebrate snails-- an essential, endangered, and understudied component of our state’s terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Non-marine mollusks, including freshwater and land snails, are the most imperiled group of animals on our planet: 41% of recorded extinctions from 1500-2004 were of non-marine mollusks. Unrecorded extinctions may be significantly higher, as the conservation status of less than 2 percent of mollusk species has been adequately assessed (link opens in new windowFurnish 2007, 2014).

Aquatic mollusks have been devastated by over a century of dams, diversions, water pollution, and other anthropogenic impacts. Conserving freshwater mollusks, including snails, is critically important to the health of our rivers and streams, as these species play a vital role in reclaiming water quality.

snail shellApproximately 240 land snails (and slugs) are native to California, including many endemic species. "Terrestrial snails are important components of our forests and woodlands," says ecologist Len Lindstrand. "They decompose litter, recycle nutrients, build soils; and provide food and calcium for birds, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, and other invertebrates." Land snails can be found in desert environments as well, as attested by snail expert Dave Goodward. Finding these species takes patience; to conserve precious body moisture, they emerge from cover only when conditions are right, often at night. Finding the snail is just the beginning of the challenge: "Telling the different species apart is maddeningly difficult," says Goodward. He found the "lovely snail" pictured below in the Piute Mountains of Kern County. It was similar to a badger shoulderband, but may prove to be an undescribed, narrowly endemic species.

outstretched snailCurious to learn more about these enigmatic creatures? Try looking up the work of our state’s foremost land snail expert Dr. Barry Roth, who co-authored the link opens in new windowChecklist of the Land Snails and Slugs of California. For a list of snails and slugs tracked in CNDDB, check out the link opens in new windowSpecial Animals List on our website. Happy trails!

Photo 1: Monadenia troglodytes wintu by Len Lindstrand
Photo 2: Trilobopsis roperi by Len Lindstrand
Photo 3: Helminthoglyptha sp. By Dave Goodward

Categories: Education and Awareness, Taxon of the week