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Large-scale conversion of wetland habitats to agricultural and other uses in the Bay-Delta and California’s Central Valley is the major threat to species that rely on these habitats.

Due to extensive wetland habitat loss and conversion, the native giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas), the largest of the garter snakes, was federally listed as a threatened species with most remaining snakes found in rice fields of the Bay-Delta. USGS scientists tag and track these snakes to better understand how their movement and behavior are impacted by agricultural-management practices. These studies are helping to provide information on the response of giant garter snakes to water availability and land-management practices, such as idling of rice fields. In addition, USGS is providing decision-support tools and a scientific basis for regulators and resource managers to balance the habitat needs of wildlife with water-delivery needs for agricultural and residential use. USGS also studies the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris), the only small mammal species native to salt marshes in the Bay-Delta. USGS is working with partners to assist and identify research needs for the recovery of the salt marsh harvest mouse, such as analyzing long-term monitoring datasets to help standardize monitoring methods, determine habitat associations, and compare population trends with weather data.


For more information see:

Giant Gartersnake Studies

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tidal Marsh Recovery Plan


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