CNDDB News Blog

  • June 13, 2022

A closeup of a desert tortoise
Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) on the sandy desert floor of the Mojave Desert
Photo credit: Clayton Harrison/Shutterstock

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will be conducting a status review for the desert tortoise to inform the California Fish and Game Commission's decision on whether to uplist the species from threatened to endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). More details about the uplist proposal and CDFW's request for public comments may be found in our CDFW newsletter. As part of this process, the CNDDB would like to encourage anyone who has observed desert tortoises to submit their findings to us before August 1st.

The desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) is found in the Mojave Desert, the western Sonoran Desert and the southern Great Basin Desert. They spend much of the year underground in burrows to shelter from extreme temperatures. When they do emerge, they feed on native forbs and grasses. Their densities have declined drastically in many places in California in the past 20 years. Threats include habitat fragmentation, development in these desert regions, increasing drought due to climate change, invasive grasses out-competing food items preferred by tortoise, disease, predation by coyotes and ravens, and human-caused mortality.

We need your help in better understanding the status of the desert tortoise. If you have ever seen desert tortoises in the wild, submit your findings to us through our Online Field Survey Form. Together, we can help the Fish and Game Commission make an informed decision on the uplisting proposal for the desert tortoise.

Categories: Call for Data
  • June 7, 2022

Screenshot of BIOS 6 application

If you are a CNDDB subscriber, you are likely very familiar with BIOS 5 as the quickest online access to CNDDB data, as well as other datasets in the CDFW BIOS collection. We are happy to announce the release of BIOS 6. This next version of the CDFW BIOS viewer is built on the latest Esri ArcGIS JavaScript API and will eventually replace the current BIOS 5 viewer.

During the transition, both viewers will be available for a short time. We encourage you to start using the new viewer for your work now to familiarize yourself with content before the old viewer is no longer available. Most major functionalities are preserved from BIOS 5 to 6. You will be able to move your selections between BIOS 6 and RareFind. In RareFind, the BIOS tab will have a radio button in which you can choose to open BIOS 5 or BIOS 6.

We have provided a full user guide (PDF) for you, as well as a condensed version of basic functions to help you get started (PDF). If you have questions and comments about BIOS 6, you can submit them to

Categories: General
  • June 3, 2022

Long-time CNDDB users know that the CNDDB is California’s Natural Heritage program, part of an international network of similar programs across the US and Canada called NatureServe. For nearly 50 years, NatureServe has been the authoritative source for biodiversity data throughout the Western Hemisphere. Collectively, NatureServe works closely with the 60+ network programs to aggregate, analyze, and deliver biodiversity information, providing comprehensive spatial data to meet regulatory and conservation needs.

Over the past year, NatureServe CEO and President, Sean O’Brien, has been journeying across the US and Canada as part of the NatureServe Van Tour to visit the various NatureServe network programs. The purpose of the tour is to learn about how the network programs and NatureServe can collaboratively achieve shared goals and ultimately achieve great outcomes for species and habitat conservation.

In April, the NatureServe Van Tour arrived at California. The CNDDB joined staff from other CDFW programs and The Nature Conservancy to provide a tour for Sean of Cosumnes River Ecological Preserve. We even made the news!

Several people linking arms to hug a large oak tree.
Photo credit: Katie Ferguson, CDFW
It took 5 people to completely hug this beautiful valley oak named “The Mother Tree” at Cosumnes River Ecological Preserve.

Categories: Partner Spotlight