In the Spring of 2016, CDFW (WIL and Region 6), UC Davis, BLM, USFWS, and many volunteers partnered to restore a key habitat patch utilized by the Amargosa vole. This habitat patch used to sustain the highest density of Amargosa voles in the world, but in 2010 it began to deteriorate due to changes in hydrology. The Amargosa vole team worked diligently to restore the water supply and reinvigorate vegetation growth at the marsh. Learn more about the Amargosa vole project.
By Tom Batter, WIL Scientific Aid
Today we feature an article that looks at how the Department of Fish & Game utilized controlled burns as a management tool. As the article states, fire has influenced plant and animal species for centuries. It is a common misconception that many animals are killed by fire. In fact the primary effect fire has on wildlife is habitat alteration. Some plant species have actually adapted to cope with fire. This article mentions pyriscence as an example. Pyriscence is when the maturation and release of seeds is fully or partially triggered by smoke and/or fire resulting in new plant crops.
Managing habitat with fire also reduces fire risk by lowering the fuel load. Large fuel loads -dead plant material and brush build up- that are allowed to accumulate over time cause fires to burn hotter and spread more rapidly. These are the types of wildfires that are more likely to become dangerous and destructive to people and property.
Using fire as a tool is still an important technique in managing habitat for various species of plants and animals today. This article originally appeared in the November-December issue of Outdoor California in 1973.
This spring the Wildlife Investigations Laboratory assisted with 8 large mammal captures throughout California. Wildlife capture projects are conducted to help biologists and veterinarians assess the health of these herds through biological sampling, to place GPS collars on the animals to monitor movement and help study habitat use, and for translocating animals. A total of 207 animals were captured including 132 deer, 21 pronghorn antelope, 36 elk and 18 bighorn sheep. Below is a small collection of photos from our month in the field.