Science Spotlight

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Recent accomplishments of CDFW's scientific community


Restoring Habitat at Southern California’s Salton Sea

Salton Sea water, beach with mountains in background, blue sky
Stretching between Southern California’s Imperial and Coachella valleys, the Salton Sea is what one might call a landmark of untraditional beauty. At 33 miles long and 5 miles wide, it’s the state’s largest inland lake, serving a crucial role as a stopover for migratory birds using the Pacific Flyway.

New Issue of CDFW Scientific Journal Focuses on Wildfire

tall trees with orange haze from smoke and hazy sun in horizon
The California Fish and Wildlife Journal concludes the 2020 Special Issue installments with the winter quarter’s Special Wildland Fire Issue. With this year’s unprecedented fire season, and California’s fire-adapted natural communities taking center stage in land management discussions throughout the State and beyond, this issue is especially poignant as we reflect on this past year and contemplate the incoming new year.

Spotlight: Kokanee Salmon Egg Collection from Stampede Reservoir

Scientist standing in a shallow river collecting salmon eggs for the hatchery
In spite of challenges presented by wildfires, forest closures, unhealthy air quality and the COVID-19 pandemic, CDFW staff from the American River Trout Hatchery and Fisheries Branch nonetheless conducted four successful kokanee salmon egg collections on the Little Truckee River this fall.

New Issue of CDFW’s Scientific Journal Reviews Environmental Impacts of Cannabis Cultivation

cover of the scientific journal of cannabis plants
The fall 2020 issue of California Fish and Wildlife (PDF), CDFW’s quarterly scientific journal, features a series of scientific articles on the environmental impacts associated with legal and unpermitted commercial cannabis cultivation. Once primarily hidden deep in the forests of the Emerald Triangle, cannabis cultivation activities are now occurring all over California.

Endangered Fish Get a Lift to Safety After Wildfires

fish next to a rule
Of the many large wildfires that destroyed millions of acres around California during the 2020, one blaze in particular threatened to wipe out years of fishery conservation efforts. The Lake Fire in Los Angeles County burned more 31 thousand acres and it illustrated – for the second time in four years – what lengths dedicated biologists will go to in order to preserve California’s Unarmored Three Spine Stickleback (UTS). The UTS, Gasterosteus aculeatus williamsoni, is a state and federally listed endangered species and a State of California Fully Protected Species.

The Value of California’s Market Squid

two squid mating in ocean
Arriving on the heels of the farm to fork movement, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted supply chains and altered product demand, which has inspired businesses to restructure and Californians to pay particular attention to where their food comes from. Many understand that almonds, artichokes or lettuce are grown in their own backyard, mostly in the Central or Salinas Valleys. But when residents are asked about wild-caught food sources coming from the ocean, tuna, salmon or perhaps rockfish might immediately come to mind. While those are indeed popular fisheries, the largest of California’s commercial fisheries actually target invertebrates, not fish!

The Wildlife Disaster Network is Created to Meet a Burning Need

bottom of a bear paw that is burned from wildfires
In early December 2017, wildlife veterinarians from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and CDFW teamed up to try to save the life of a black bear that sustained third-degree burns in Southern California’s Thomas Fire. The innovative treatment involved the use of tilapia skins as natural bandages for the bear’s paw pads while she recovered from her injuries at CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory (WIL) in Rancho Cordova.

Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve and Back Bay

person on a paddleboard on Newport Bay, Pacific Ocean
When you learn there’s a popular piece of property on the Southern California coast taking up more than 750 acres, you wouldn’t be faulted for imagining a marina, a golf course, a resort – or all three.

California Fish and Wildlife Journal, Vol. 106, Issue 3

two orange and black monarch butterflies
The summer 2020 issue of the California Fish and Wildlife Journal is now online! This issue contains a number of excellent articles, including a couple on taxonomic groups that are often under-represented in the Journal — invertebrates and raptors.

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.