Western Ecological Research Center (WERC)


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: September 24, 2018

USGS Scientists Find Success in New "Real Estate" for Waterbirds

There’s hot new real estate for wildlife in south San Francisco Bay, and a report from USGS biologists shows that the waterbirds are flocking in.

Date published: September 13, 2018

Secrets of Suisun Marsh's Birds of Prey

Did you know that the USGS is studying raptors in California? Biologists with the USGS Western Ecological Research Center are hard at work in the field, learning more about the ecology of Northern Harriers and their interactions with migratory waterfowl of concern to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Date published: August 28, 2018

Toad Crossing Ahead: New Study Tests Elevated Roads as Underpasses for Rare Toad

Many amphibians are either too small or too slow to avoid an oncoming car. For some populations of the Federally threatened Yosemite toad (Anaxyrus canorus), this has meant increased mortality from vehicle strikes in addition to other threats from disease, drought, and habitat loss.


Year Published: 2018

California sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) census results, spring 2018

The 2018 census of southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) was conducted from late April to mid-May along the mainland coast of central California and in April at San Nicolas Island in southern California. The 3-year average of combined counts from the mainland range and San Nicolas Island was 3,128, a decrease of 58 sea otters from the...

Hatfield, Brian B.; Yee, Julie L.; Kenner, Michael C.; Tomoleoni, Joseph A.; Tinker, M. Tim
Hatfield, B.B., Yee, J.L., Kenner, M.C., Tomoleoni, J.A., and Tinker, M.T., 2018, California sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) census results, spring 2018: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1097, 10 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1097.

Year Published: 2018

Toward salt marsh harvest mouse recovery: A review

The salt marsh harvest mouse (SMHM, Reithrodontomys raviventris) is an endangered species, endemic to the San Francisco Estuary. Despite being protected for almost half a century and being included in a large number of recovery, restoration, and management plans, significant data gaps hinder conservation and management of the species, a...

Smith, Katherine R.; Riley, Melissa K.; Barthman-Thompson, Laureen; Woo, Isa; Statham, Mark J.; Estrella, Sarah; Kelt, Douglas A.
Smith, K. R, Riley, M. K, Barthman–Thompson, L., Woo, I., Statham, M. J, Estrella, S., & Kelt, D. A. (2018). Towards Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse Recovery: A Review. San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science, 16(2). https://doi.org/10.15447/sfews.2018v16iss2art2

Year Published: 2018

Collision and displacement vulnerability to offshore wind energy infrastructure among marine birds of the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf

Marine birds are vulnerable to collision with and displacement by offshore wind energy infrastructure (OWEI). Here we present the first assessment of marine bird vulnerability to potential OWEI in the California Current System portion of the U.S. Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (POCS). Using population size, demography, life history,...

Kelsey, Emily C.; Felis, Jonathan J.; Czapanskiy, Max; Peresksta, David M.; Adams, Josh
Emma C. Kelsey, Jonathan J. Felis, Max Czapanskiy, David M. Pereksta, Josh Adams, Collision and displacement vulnerability to offshore wind energy infrastructure among marine birds of the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf, Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 227, 2018, Pages 229-247, ISSN 0301-4797, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.08.051.