Bringing you stories about California's wildlife, the threats they face, and the value they bring us.
Aquatic
Rare Baja Porpoise Likely Extinct by 2018, Yet Illegal Fishing Continues in Refuge

Rare Baja Porpoise Likely Extinct by 2018, Yet Illegal Fishing Continues in Refuge

Mammals: Satellite photos taken earlier this month show that illegal gill-net fishing is rampant in an area of the Sea of Cortez set aside for protection of the world's most endangered marine mammal.
The Salton Sea is Crucial Wildlife Habitat. Here's Why.

The Salton Sea is Crucial Wildlife Habitat. Here's Why.

Birds: The Salton Sea as we know it is doomed unless the State of California takes action, and that's bad news for wildlife. To understand why, we have to talk about the formation of the Grand Canyon.
Study Hints That Kelp Forests May Weather Climate Change

Study Hints That Kelp Forests May Weather Climate Change

Aquatic: Climate change threatens to radically alter most of California's landscapes, but a recent study suggests that at least one of the state's emblematic ecosystems may actually have a chance to thrive in a greenhouse-gas-enhanced world.
Story Continues Below
Support KCET
Report: Sacramento Delta 'No Longer a Delta'

Report: Sacramento Delta 'No Longer a Delta'

Aquatic: Though it's no secret that the Sacramento Delta has been radically transformed for agriculture, urban development and water supply, a new report on those changes offers some truly sobering facts about just how much of the Delta we've lost.
Study: Sierra Nevada Lakes Benefit From Clean Air Law

Study: Sierra Nevada Lakes Benefit From Clean Air Law

Aquatic: The nation's air quality laws seem to be working, at least when it comes to lakes in the Sierra Nevada. According to a recent study by researchers at UC Riverside, lakes in the state's largest mountain range have gradually become less affected by acid rain since 1970 -- about when the first Clean Air Act was passed.
Report: Inaction Way More Expensive Than Fixing Salton Sea

Report: Inaction Way More Expensive Than Fixing Salton Sea

Aquatic: A new report says that despite the daunting price tag fixing the Salton Sea, doing nothing could cost at least $10 billion more, and perhaps $50 billion.
Irrigators Ask Judge to Cut Emergency Water for Klamath Salmon

Irrigators Ask Judge to Cut Emergency Water for Klamath Salmon

Fish: A federal agency started releasing more water from a reservoir Saturday in an effort to avoid another massive die-off of Chinook salmon in the Klamath River, but now a pair of powerful agricultural interests has gone to court to stop the release.
Trash, Invasive Species Left Behind as Controversial Oyster Farm Closes

Trash, Invasive Species Left Behind as Controversial Oyster Farm Closes

Aquatic: Northern California environmental activists have a new question about a recently-shuttered oyster farm in a coastal wilderness: who's going to clean up the mess the operators seem to be leaving behind?
California Warns of Bird Botulism Outbreaks

California Warns of Bird Botulism Outbreaks

Birds: As California's lakes and ponds grow ever smaller in this third year of drought, the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife is warning that wild birds are likely to fall victim to a fatal disease linked to stagnant water, and they're asking for your help tracking down victims.
New Disease Afflicting Sea Otters

New Disease Afflicting Sea Otters

Mammals: A virus related to the ones that cause smallpox and chickenpox has been found in sea otters from California and Alaska, and scientists are concerned it could interfere with infected otters' ability to stay warm in the frigid waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Big Step In Restoring Tribal Pupfish Habitat

Big Step In Restoring Tribal Pupfish Habitat

Fish: A Native tribe based in the Owens Valley is applying for a permit to move an endangered desert fish to a specially prepared refuge on the tribe's land, in an effort to restore a species that was once vital to the tribe's survival.
Supreme Court Won't Hear Point Reyes Oyster Farm Case

Supreme Court Won't Hear Point Reyes Oyster Farm Case

Commentary: In a day full of disappointing news coming out of SCOTUS, it's reassuring to know there are one or two things the highest court in the land can still get right.
Report Offers a Way For California to Become Water-Sustainable

Report Offers a Way For California to Become Water-Sustainable

Commentary: A report released today by two environmental groups says that if we make four basic, common-sense changes in the way we use California water, we'll have enough to go around even in drought years. And so will the fish.
Steelhead Return to Malibu Lagoon

Steelhead Return to Malibu Lagoon

Aquatic: A year after the completion of a controversial restoration project that divided Los Angeles environmentalists, California State Parks says a fish species missing for decades has been spotted in the Malibu Lagoon.
Feds Move to Protect Sperm Whales From Fishing Nets

Feds Move to Protect Sperm Whales From Fishing Nets

Mammals: A bill that would have phased out the use of drift gillnets off the California coast died in committee last month in the state Assembly, but a federal agency is taking emergency action.
Irrigators Sue to Block Water For Salmon, Wildlife Refuges

Irrigators Sue to Block Water For Salmon, Wildlife Refuges

Commentary: A agency that represents 22 irrigation districts and other water providers in the Central Valley is asking a judge to block the U.S. government from releasing water to benefit other water users, including wildlife refuges.
Drought Shrinking Mono Lake: Water Exports To L.A. Near-Certain To Be Cut

Drought Shrinking Mono Lake: Water Exports To L.A. Near-Certain To Be Cut

Aquatic: Mono Lake is being seriously affected by the ongoing drought, with water levels dropped so far that any further decline will force LADWP to drastically reduce water exports from the Mono Basin.
Dozens Cited at NorCal State Abalone Checkpoint

Dozens Cited at NorCal State Abalone Checkpoint

Invertebrates: State game wardens handed out 31 citations and warned several dozen additional fish harvesters at a wildlife law enforcement checkpoint near Jenner, California on Sunday. The checkpoint was part of a mounting effort by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to educate sport fishers about the importance of protecting the state's remaining abalone.
Melting Antarctic Glaciers Mean Big Changes for California

Melting Antarctic Glaciers Mean Big Changes for California

Aquatic: Glaciers and ice sheets in western Antarctica are melting, there's nothing we can do to stop it, and the result will be a 10-foot rise in sea level within the next century or two. That's according to new reports by NASA scientists scheduled for publication in scientific journals this week. What would that mean for California?
Navy Working to Rescue Abalone from Extinction

Navy Working to Rescue Abalone from Extinction

Invertebrates: A Navy research and development center that usually focuses on high-tech communication and surveillance matters is working to boost numbers of one of California's most critically endangered marine animals: the black abalone.
San Joaquin is Most Endangered River in U.S., Says Group

San Joaquin is Most Endangered River in U.S., Says Group

Aquatic: A national river protection and advocacy group has released its annual ranking of the most-endangered rivers in the United States, and a California watercourse that's been hammered by diversions and drought has the dubious honor of First Place.
Drought to Hit Central Valley Wetlands Hard

Drought to Hit Central Valley Wetlands Hard

Birds: The California agency that manages the state's massive State Water Project has released a drought management plan for the summer, and it includes bad -- but not particularly surprising -- news for the Central Valley's wetlands.
State Law or Not, Orca Shows Need to Go

State Law or Not, Orca Shows Need to Go

Commentary: Whether or not a recent piece of legislation in California turns out to be the appropriate way to address the captive performing orca issue, one thing is certain.
Reward Offered in Sea Otter Shootings

Reward Offered in Sea Otter Shootings

Mammals: Three southern sea otters were shot to death at Asilomar State Beach in the Monterey County community of Pacific Grove in September, and a federal agency announced Friday that a $21,000 reward has been posted for information leading to the capture of the person or people responsible.
Feds Want to Take Modoc Sucker off Endangered Species List

Feds Want to Take Modoc Sucker off Endangered Species List

Fish: In response to a petition by a conservative legal group, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to remove a small fish that lives in only a few streams in California and Oregon from the Endangered Species List.
Whale Migration May Break Records Off L.A. County Coast

Whale Migration May Break Records Off L.A. County Coast

Mammals: Scientists report that this may be a near record season for the number of whales migrating southbound through the waters off the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Fish and Wildlife Service Drops $3 Million On California Wetlands

Fish and Wildlife Service Drops $3 Million On California Wetlands

Aquatic: Four coastal wetlands in California will benefit from $3 million in grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that will go toward preserving and restoring wildlife habitat, USFWS announced Thursday. The grants will be added to another $2.3 million in matching funds from state and local governments, private land owners, and conservation groups.
As Drought Threatens Orcas' Food Supply, Group Wants NorCal Coast Protected

As Drought Threatens Orcas' Food Supply, Group Wants NorCal Coast Protected

Mammals: With just 81 individuals left, the southern resident population of killer whales (a.k.a. orcas) has been listed as a federally Endangered species since 2005. Now, new data on the beleaguered whales' habits is prompting a wildlife protection group to ask for better protection of orca habitat along more than half the U.S. Pacific coast -- including more than a third of the California coast.
Brown Suspends Environmental Law in Drought Declaration

Brown Suspends Environmental Law in Drought Declaration

Agencies: Here's something that wasn't mentioned in Friday morning's San Francisco press event at which Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency: CEQA, the state's foremost environmental law, no longer protects wildlife or the environment from the effects of the state's response to the drought.
2013: One of the Worst Years on Record for Bay-Delta Fish

2013: One of the Worst Years on Record for Bay-Delta Fish

Fish: 2013 was a really bad year for a number of important fish species in the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary, continuing a decade-long collapse of fish. And a major sportfishing group says increased water diversion for urban and farm use is to blame.
We Now Know a Bit More About What Makes California Native Turtles Sick

We Now Know a Bit More About What Makes California Native Turtles Sick

Reptiles: The western pond turtle, California's only native freshwater turtle, has been on the decline for decades, and biologists have been scrambling to find ways of making life better for the species. And a recent study fills in a scientific blank about the fetching reptile: we now know a bit more about what makes them sick. .
Possibly Back From Extinction, Desert Fish Get New Habitat

Possibly Back From Extinction, Desert Fish Get New Habitat

Fish: A tiny Mojave desert fish that was once thought extinct -- and might still be -- is getting a bit more habitat in a small town near Death Valley National Park.
Navy Takes Aim at California Sea Otters

Navy Takes Aim at California Sea Otters

Mammals: A bill now on the floor of the U.S. Senate would exempt the Navy from environmental laws protecting California's sea otter population, and environmental activists are urging the language be stripped from the bill.
Widespread Disease Turns Sea Stars Into Goo, Baffling Scientists

Widespread Disease Turns Sea Stars Into Goo, Baffling Scientists

Invertebrates: Sea Stars, popularly as starfish, are dying horribly along the Pacific Coast from Santa Barbara to Alaska, and scientists aren't sure why.
Hooray! Otter Pops Up in Downtown Oakland

Hooray! Otter Pops Up in Downtown Oakland

Mammals: Oakland has been working for decades to clean up and restore Lake Merritt, the tidal lagoon in the heart of the East Bay city's downtown. That work got a serious vote of confidence earlier this month.
Steller Sea Lion Removed From Threatened Species list

Steller Sea Lion Removed From Threatened Species list

Mammals: NOAA Fisheries has decided to remove the eastern population of the Steller sea lion from protection as a Threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Malibu Shootings Compound Bad Year for California Sea Lions

Malibu Shootings Compound Bad Year for California Sea Lions

Mammals: The reports are distressing, but perhaps predictable in a year in which a very large number of California sea lions have been reported as starving. Here's why.
Rare California Seabird Denied Federal Protection

Rare California Seabird Denied Federal Protection

Birds: A small seabird whose population has been declining for several years has been denied protection under the nation's landmark wildlife protection law. On Monday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it would not list the ashy storm-petrel under the Endangered Species Act.
To Save Frogs, Park Service Plans to Use Pesticide in Sierra Nevada

To Save Frogs, Park Service Plans to Use Pesticide in Sierra Nevada

Amphibians: Now that the federal government shutdown is over and the National Park Service is getting back to work, the staff at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have extended public comment on a plan to eradicate invasive fish from high-elevation lakes in the Sierra Nevada.