Science Spotlight

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Recent accomplishments of CDFW's scientific community


Banking on a Future for California’s Natural Resources

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In California, lands that support valuable natural resources can be permanently protected through a system called conservation banking. Credits are established for sensitive species or habitats found on a site, and these credits can then be sold to developers or other project proponents who need to meet permitting requirements or are otherwise required to compensate for environmental impacts.

Bringing the Paiute Cutthroat Trout Home

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The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) have returned a rare trout species to its home water after a 71-year absence.

Enhancement Projects Weed Out Invasives in Marin County

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Sandy dunes along the California coast often feature hardy European beachgrass and a succulent, freeway iceplant, that many assume is part of the native flora. However, these groundcover plants were originally introduced in the 1800s by Gold Rush settlers who were hoping to keep sand from moving to the nearby roads, railroads and land. Today, they are invasive species that out-compete the native plants and the animals that live there.

Stacking the Odds to Stock California’s Waters

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The beginning of trout fishing season in Southern California is just around the corner, and CDFW biologists and hatchery staff are striving to maximize hatchery trout availability for the many anglers who will cast lines in coming weeks. Trout angling in lower-elevation waters of Southern California generally begins in November and continues through April, to correspond with colder water temperatures that can sustain stocked trout.

Science Spotlight: Studying a “Foundation Species” in the Shadow of Mount Shasta

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In this rugged region of the Golden State, mule deer are an iconic species, valued by recreationists and required by wild carnivores who prey upon them for nourishment. Mule deer are considered a “foundation species” because the large landscapes that are necessary for their survival can also be home to a vast array of other wildlife and plant species.

Wire Cages and Hard Work Help Prevent Extinction of a Rare Native Plant

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Biologists from three government natural resource agencies banded together this summer in an unusual effort to help preserve a species under threat of extinction. They lugged materials to build wire cages into the rough terrain of the remote Lassics mountains near the border of Humboldt and Trinity counties in an effort to protect their target. However, these cages were not built to trap animals; they were constructed to keep animals out.

Bat Week Begins!

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The last seven days of October are celebrated each year as Bat Week – a time to learn about the importance of bats in our environment.

New issue of California Fish and Game scientific journal

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The latest issue of CDFW’s scientific journal, California Fish and Game, is now available online.

Drinker Installation Benefits Bighorn and Other Desert Species

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One of the most elusive species in California is the desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) that live in the dry, desert mountains of southeastern California. Desert bighorn are far from fragile – males are about five feet long and can weigh up to 200 pounds, while the females weigh up to about 150. Despite their size, their keen eyesight and the agility to escape predators up steep rocky slopes, they still face many threats, including disease, human development, expansion and – more recently—a changing climate. Water is critical to their survival in this extreme environment.

New Heritage Trout Production Program for Inland Fisheries

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For more than a century, CDFW’s Trout Hatchery and Stocking Program has been providing recreational fishing opportunities to anglers throughout California. Today, the trout hatchery program is composed of 13 hatcheries, which oversee 20 distinct fish production programs to produce 17 strains, species and subspecies of trout.