Science Spotlight

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Recent accomplishments of CDFW's scientific community


Mapping Wildlife Habitat with VegCAMP

five scientist standing in a field of yellow flowers with a river and mountain in the back with blue sky in the horizon
California is home to more than one thousand animal species – a diversity that would be impossible to support without the rich habitats in which they live, and specifically, the wide variety of plant species (more than 6,500) that provide sustenance and shelter.

Wildlife Collars Offer Valuable Conservation Data

deer standing on rocks with trees with a tracking collar
For years, California Department of Fish and Wildlife scientists were trying to locate dens for California’s Sierra Nevada red fox — a rare and threatened species whose population has decreased substantially. Scientists had a general idea that some of the foxes denned at high elevations in the Lassen Peak area, but aside from vague descriptions written in the 1920s, the den locations had never been documented.

CDFW Drone Program Provides a Bird’s Eye View for Environmental Scientists

two scientist and a drone flying in the air with the ocean and blue skies in the background
In March 2019, there was late winter flooding at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area in Yolo County near Davis. Wildlife area supervisor Joe Hobbs wanted to check a series of old railroad trestle mounds to make sure there was no wildlife stranded there. In previous years when there had been flooding, staff went out on a boat to check the trestle mounds. But that approach had downsides: From a boat, it could be difficult to see exactly what was on the mounds, and the sound of the boat’s motor could potentially spook the animals.