Science Spotlight

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Recent accomplishments of CDFW's scientific community


Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area Pioneering Wild Turkey Banding, Research Effort

A male wild turkey is released from a cardboard box after being banded, weighted and measured recently at the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area.
Scientists at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and volunteers from the National Wild Turkey Federation conduct annual spring trapping and banding of wild turkeys at the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area in order to better understand the characteristics, habitat preferences and the dynamics of the growing population of wild turkeys using the wildlife area and surrounding properties.

New research shows climate change may harm migratory songbirds

Hermit Thrush perched on a tree branch. Long-distance Neotropical migrants like the Hermit Thrush may be more vulnerable to climate change than other types of songbirds.
New research by CDFW Wildlife Ecologist Dr. Brett Furnas shows that Neotropical migrant songbirds are shifting their summer ranges to higher elevations in response to climate change.

San Mateo Lagoon Steelhead Restoration Shows Early Promise

A California Department of Fish and Wildlife Biologist holds a healthy juvenile steelhead from Pescadero Creek Lagoon Complex in coastal San Mateo county.
There’s a dichotomy in the way Pescadero Creek Lagoon Complex in coastal San Mateo County has both supported—and been detrimental to—steelhead trout for much of the past 25 years.

Pulse Flows Expected to Boost Brown Trout Fishery in Owens River Gorge

Two people laying on dirt ground looking into small white tray filled with water and unknown items while holding forceps. Also on ground nearby are a small cooler, metal clipboard, orange toolbox, cylindrical bottle with liquid, backpack, and ice tray.
From boom to bust to decades of angler indifference, few California fisheries have experienced such wild swings of fortune as Mono County’s Owens River Gorge.

Endangered Shasta Crayfish Have New Refuge in Rock Creek

Stream surrounded by trees and grass. Two divers head down in water of stream. One man wearing beige clothing and hat stands on streambank. One man in beige clothing sits on rock along streambank with pad of paper and writing utensil. Another person in a blue windbreaker, gray pants, and beige hat kneels next to open ice chest filled with water.
A 20-year, multiagency effort to find a safe haven for California’s only remaining native crayfish culminated recently with the release of 28 Shasta Crayfish (Pacifastacus fortis) into a restored section of Rock Creek in Shasta County.

Junction Reservoir Back to Raising Backcountry Trout

Concrete structure in stream with slatted metal gates and chutes. Man wearing camo waders, beige long sleeved shirt, gray call cap and black rubber gloves standing behind gate holding hammer.
Junction Reservoir in Mono County is CDFW’s brood lake for the Kamloops rainbow trout, a hard-fighting strain originally from the Kamloops region of British Columbia.

Lobster Fishers: We Need Your Data!

Several lobsters crowded together in rock crevice underwater next to sea urchin
The April 30 deadline to turn in California spiny lobster report cards is fast approaching – and CDFW needs your catch data! The information collected from these is enormously helpful to CDFW scientists who monitor the harvest, amount of fishing effort and the gear used in the recreational fishery

Iron Gate Hatchery

Short-haired woman in yellow rain jacket and black gloves holding fish on side of metal basin along side man in yellow rain jacket, black gloves, and camo hat holding fish over metal basin as dark orange liquid streams out of fish into metal basin.
At Iron Gate Hatchery in Hornbrook, the fall 2018 spawning operation has just concluded. Iron Gate spawns both Fall-Run Chinook Salmon and Coho Salmon from the Klamath River. For Chinook, the hatchery staff manually collect the eggs and mix it with the milt immediately after the fish come into the facility.

Fisheries Biologists Showcase Delta Bass at International Sportsmen’s Expo

Man wearing blue and beige foul weather gear and orange life vest holding net with long pole leaning over boat railing on boat on water. Shipwreck in background.
Among the more popular attractions at the Sacramento International Sportsmen’s Expo each January is the Western Bass Aquarium Demo Tank.The 6,000-gallon aquarium displays dozens of trophy largemouth bass collected by CDFW biologists from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Science Spotlight: “Upcycling” Christmas Trees to Create Fish Habitat

Christmas trees submerged in body of water
Christmas can be the gift that keeps giving -- to anglers and fish alike. In the north state, CDFW fish habitat technicians oversee the collection of discarded Christmas trees, which will be used to build underwater habitat structures for local waterways. Long after they’ve brightened holiday homes, these trees will provide shelter for juvenile warmwater fish species -- and ultimately will create better fishing opportunities for anglers.