Western Ecological Research Center (WERC)

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The Western Ecological Research Center (WERC) is a USGS Ecosystems Mission Area operation serving primarily California and Nevada. WERC scientists work closely with Federal, State, academic, and other collaborators to address a diverse array of high-profile topics. Topics include research on effects of wildfire, sea level rise, drought, energy development and more on federal Trust species.

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Date published: July 13, 2018

Reducing Mercury Loads in The Cosumnes River

The Cosumnes River watershed has seasonal, non-point source hotspots for total mercury and methylmercury production, which discharge to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in north-central California. To reduce mercury loads to the Delta, researchers created open-water deep cells at the downstream end of wetlands.

Date published: July 3, 2018

At This Military Base, A Haven for the Endangered Least Bell’s Vireo

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA – It may not be the most intuitive place for an endangered species to recover, but the staff of the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton have worked hard to protect habitat for the least Bell’s vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus).

Date published: July 2, 2018

Born in a Los Angeles zoo, released into the San Gabriels, a rare frog bounces back (The LA Times)

SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS, CA — Last week, biologists from the USGS Western Ecological Research Center (WERC) and partnering agencies released hundreds of endangered, mountain yellow-legged frog tadpoles back to their historic habitat in southern California.

Publications

Year Published: 2018

Findings from a Preliminary Investigation of the Effects of Aquatic Habitat (Water) Availability on Giant Gartersnake (Thamnophis gigas) Demography and Reproduction in the Sacramento Valley, California, 2014–17

The giant gartersnake (Thamnophis gigas) is a semi-aquatic species of snake precinctive to the Central Valley of California. Because the Central Valley has experienced a substantial loss of wetland habitat, giant gartersnake populations are largely found in aquatic habitats associated with rice agriculture. In dry years, less water may be...

Rose, Jonathan P.; Ersan, Julia S. M.; Reyes, Gabriel A.; Gustafson, K. Benjamin; Fulton, Alexandria M.; Fouts, Kristen J.; Wack, Raymund F.; Wylie, Glenn D.; Casazza, Michael L.; Halstead, Brian J.
Rose, J.P., Ersan, J.S.M., Reyes, G.A., Gustafson, K.B., Fulton, A.M., Fouts, K.J., Wack, R.F., Wylie, G.D., Casazza, M.L., and Halstead, B.J., 2018, Findings from a preliminary investigation of the effects of aquatic habitat (water) availability on giant gartersnake (Thamnophis gigas) demography in the Sacramento Valley, California, 2014–17: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1114, 48 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181114.

Year Published: 2018

Insular biogeographic origins and high phylogenetic distinctiveness for a recently depleted lizard fauna from Christmas Island, Australia

Striking faunal turnover across Asia and Australasia, most famously along the eastern edge of the Sunda Shelf or ‘Wallace's Line’, has been a focus of biogeographic research for over 150 years. Here, we investigate the origins of a highly threatened endemic lizard fauna (four species) on Christmas Island. Despite occurring less 350 km south of the...

Oliver, Paul M.; Blom, Mozes P. K.; Cogger, Harold G.; Fisher, Robert N.; Richmond, Jonathan Q.; Woinarski, John C. Z.
Oliver PM, Blom MPK, Cogger HG, Fisher RN, Richmond JQ, Woinarski JCZ. 2018 Insular biogeographic origins and high phylogenetic distinctiveness for a recently depleted lizard fauna from Christmas Island, Australia. Biol. Lett. 14: 20170696. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2017.0696

Year Published: 2018

Evaluation of social attraction measures to establish Forster’s tern (Sterna forsteri) nesting colonies for the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, San Francisco Bay, California—2017 Annual Report

Forster’s terns (Sterna forsteri), historically one of the most numerous colonial-breeding waterbirds in South San Francisco Bay, California, have had recent decreases in the number of nesting colonies and overall breeding population size. The South Bay Salt Pond (SBSP) Restoration Project aims to restore 50–90 percent of former salt evaporation...

Hartman, C. Alex; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Herzog, Mark P.; Wang, Yiwei; Strong, Cheryl
Hartman, C.A., Ackerman, J.T., Herzog, M.P., Wang, Y., and Strong, C., 2018, Evaluation of social attraction measures to establish Forster’s tern (Sterna forsteri) nesting colonies for the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, San Francisco Bay, California—2017 annual report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1090, 25 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181090.