Threatened & Endangered Species

Existing Conditions and Assessment Conclusions

 

Threatened and endangered species (both botanical and wildlife species) are closely linked to watershed health and function, and therefore must be treated as an integral part of the watershed management strategy. Vegetation and habitat conditions within the Pit River watershed have changed significantly over the last 150 years. These changes, which impact species composition, diversity, and density, have resulted from a variety of factors including disruption of natural fire regime, grazing, logging and agricultural practices, introduction of non-native invasive species, and modifications of stream channels and hydrology. As a result, several species within the Pit RCD area are now state or federally listed as threatened or endangered. This table includes an identification of those species, their listing status, preferred habitat, and cause for decline.

In addition to the above, there are several animals identified by the State as species of special concern. Of particular concern is the Greater Sage-Grouse. Historically, numerous leks (breeding grounds) were located throughout the Pit RCD boundaries, but now only one lek is known to be active and sage grouse are rarely sighted.

 

 

 

Management Strategy

A. The Pit RCD will work to preserve the rural, open space nature of the watershed which, in general, will contribute to the preservation and enhancement of T&E species.

B. As described in Section D, Aquatic and Wildlife Habitat, the Pit RCD will implement projects focused on habitat protection and enhancement. Projects which have benefits for habitat used by T&E species will be given added priority.

C. The Pit RCD will continue its partnership role in the Cooperative Sagebrush Steppe Restoration Initiative. Among other benefits, this project is expected to improve habitat conditions for sage grouse breeding.

 

Modoc Sucker

U.S. Endangered, CA Endangered

Small, partially shaded, permanent streams with low flow (about 113 cm/sec), in forested areas with good riparian vegetative cover; large, shallow, muddy-bottomed pools; and moderately clear water less than 25 C.Drought; hybridization with the introduced Sacramento Sucker; population isolation; reduced pool habitat due to channelization; reduced stream flows and increased temperatures due to irrigation diversions; and predation by large-mouthed bass and exotic brown trout.

Bald Eagle

U.S. Endangered, CA Endangered

Breeding habitat includes water bodies that provide primary food sources including fish, waterfowl, and seabirds. Preferentially roosts in conifers or other sheltered sites in winter typically selecting larger, more accessible treesHabitat loss, disturbance by humans, biocide contamination, decreasing food supply, and illegal shooting

Willow Flycatcher

CA Endangered

Presence of water (running water, pools, or saturated soils) and dense riparian deciduous shrub cover (willow, alder, or other deciduous riparian shrubs) separated by open areas.Habitat loss and alteration from high-intensity livestock grazing, recreation and development pressure, non-native invasive plants, alteration of natural hydrology, and brood parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds.

 

Greater Sandhill Crane

CA Threatened

Breeding habitats include isolated bogs, marshes, swamps and meadows, and other secluded shallow freshwater wetlands generally greater than one hectare in size surrounded by forest cover.

Poor recruitment; intensive grazing operations, especially when mowing is used; loss and degradation of wetland habitats; collisions with powerlines; nest and chick predation by ravens, coyotes, and raccoons.

Swainson's Hawk

CA Threatened

Savanna, open pine-oak woodland and cultivated lands (e.g., alfalfa and other hay crops) with scattered trees. Nests in solitary tree, bush, or small grove; many nests on old black-billed magpie nests; sometimes on rock ledge.Expansion of cropland unsuitable for foraging and residential and commercial development in former agricultural and grassland areas. Widespread use of pesticides and rodenticides throughout the range is cause for concern.

Sierra Nevada Red Fox

CA Threatened

Various habitats in alpine and subalpine zones; prefers red fir and lodgepole pine forests and alpine fell-fields; hunts in forest openings, meadows, and barren rocky areas. Dens are likely to be in rock slides.Logging, recreation, and cattle grazing have potentially adverse impacts that have not been adequately addressed in forest management plans (California Department of Fish and Game 1990).

Slender Orcutt Grass

U.S. Endangered, CA Endangered

Vernal pools on remnant alluvial fans and high stream terraces and recent basalt flows; has some ability to colonize artificial habitats, such as the margins of stock ponds.Loss of habitat from urbanization, agricultural conversion and mining, habitat alteration and degradation as a result of changes to natural hydrology, invasive species, incompatible grazing regimes, infrastructure projects, recreational activities, erosion, contamination and inadequate management and monitoring.

Boggs Lake Hedge-Hyssop

CA Endangered

Vernal pools, reservoir edges, and mudflats where wet, clay soils are present.Drought, intensive grazing, invasion by weedy upland species, development impacts, and hydrologic alteration.

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