Science Spotlight

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Recent accomplishments of CDFW's scientific community


Safe Harbor Agreement Helps Secure the Future of the Humboldt Marten

Marten wearing black collar looking down from a tree hollow
A small population of a rare member of the weasel family has an improved chance at expanding its range, thanks to a joint effort between a forest products company and a state agency.

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.

The Challenges of Studying Roosevelt Elk

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For residents of Humboldt and Del Norte counties, the majestic Roosevelt elk is a common sight. Although Roosevelt numbers were dwindling in California by the 1920s, conservative management strategies and limited hunting opportunities have helped them to rebound. Today, researchers have identified more than 20 distinct groups of elk in these two counties, many of which consist of well over 50 animals.

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.

California's White-footed Vole

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The white-footed vole is one of the least-studied (and most difficult to catch!) mammals in North America. CDFW Environmental Scientist Dr. Scott Osborn, his collaborator Dr. Tim Bean of Humboldt State University’s Wildlife Department, and a small team of field biologists know that better than anyone – they spent the summer of 2014 setting traps for them in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Designated a Species of Special Concern by CDFW, only nine records of the species were known in California prior to their study, which was aimed at determining how environmental conditions, such as climate (and future climate change), might affect their distribution.