Science Spotlight

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Recent accomplishments of CDFW's scientific community


Scent-Detection Dogs Join Nutria Eradication Effort

Nutria Canine Team
Meet the newest members of CDFW’s “Team Nutria;” a 1-year-old female black Labrador retriever named Star and a 2-year-old male German shepherd named Trigger.

Restoring Franks Tract

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In the heart of California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta lies a 3,000-acre flooded island called Franks Tract.

CDFW Bands Together with NWTF to Benefit Wild Turkey Hunters

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Recent efforts to determine the number of turkeys on the Upper Butte Wildlife Area have been a net success.

Replenishing Southern California’s Abalone Populations

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Harvesting abalone for dinner used to be as fundamental to a Southern California lifestyle as fish tacos and flip-flops. But by 1998, a combination of overfishing and disease led to the closure of all abalone fishery south of San Francisco.

CDFW Pilot Study Establishing Foundation for Enhanced Study of Porcupines

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Not to put too fine a point on it, but studying California’s porcupines hasn’t traditionally been a high priority for CDFW. Wildlife research funding is limited, especially for non-game species, and species listed as threatened or endangered are typically given top priority. That means that scientists sometimes need to be creative – and frugal – in their efforts to survey and manage non-listed, non-game species.

Sierra Nevada Bighorn: A 21st Century Wildlife Success Story

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Seven animals. Can just seven Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep really make much of an impact on the species’ future? CDFW scientists believe so, which is why they came away pleased with the results of their annual spring helicopter capture this past March.

Saving the Burrowing Owls

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A dwindling population of a tiny owl in Southern California has a chance at a comeback, thanks to a collaborative effort by scientists from CDFW, the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research (ICR), Caltrans and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Succulent Plants Returned to the Cliffs from Where They Were Poached

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Last week, a team of California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) staff and volunteers spent hours working to replant more than 2,000 Dudleya succulents that were seized after a poaching investigation. The plants were meticulously returned to the Mendocino and Humboldt county cliffs from where they were stolen weeks before.

Sweetwater River Habitat Restoration

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California’s drought emergency was officially declared to be over last year, but its deleterious impact on fish habitat is still being felt in many parts of the state -- especially in arid parts of Southern California. In order to help offset these effects at one site in northern San Diego County, CDFW biologists and other staff recently toiled to create spawning beds for rainbow trout.

CDFW Unveils New Tool Allowing Public to Report Seeing Tule (And Other) Elk

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CDFW wants to know if, when and where you’ve seen an elk in California – and they’ve just created a new online reporting tool that makes it easy for members of the public to share this information.