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Biology And Conservation Of The California Tiger Salamander Revised 2009
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Biology And Conservation Of The California Tiger Salamander Revised 2009


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California Tiger Salamander and PG&E

California Tiger Salamander and PG&E

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  • Absence of burrows around potential breeding pond does not discount habitat b/c they move up to one kilometer . Disking does not discount CTS presence-depends on level of land management.
  • Ellen: Adults were captured more often closer to ponds, subadults were captured at greatest distance from pond and less frequently.
  • USFWS currently requiring mitigation for ag land depending on intensity of management.
  • Ellen and Deb did a study in 2004 behind Moss Landing power plant (before CTS listing) to determine if co. vehicles actually did crush burrow. We did multiple runs with various weight vehicles. We measured entrance to burrow before and after each run of each type of vehicle, as well as endoscoped to determine if any internal collapse occurred. All burrows were in Sand.
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    • 1. Biology and Conservation of the California Tiger Salamander ( Ambystoma californiense ) Alameda County Conservation Partnership Workshop Tri-Valley Mitigation Monitoring Summary
    • 2. Workshop Goals
      • Explain the key elements of CTS biology
        • Life Cycle
        • Habitat
        • Relationships with other species
        • Practice assessing the complexities of conserving populations in an increasingly fragmented landscape
        • Provide a casual open forum for discussion
    • 3. Workshop Overview What we learned:
      • Basics of amphibian biology and conservation
      • Evolutionary relationships among tiger salamanders
      • CTS life cycle
      • ID of CTS eggs larvae, adults
      • Habitats and ecology
      • Predators and prey
      • Population dynamics
      • Movement, pops, metapopulations, landscapes
      • Threats
      • Strategies for Conservation and recovery
      • Introduction to field sampling methods
    • 4. What was provided to us:
      • Annotated bibliography
      • Glossary of terms
      • Useful websites
      • Suppliers for materials
        • Pitfall buckets
        • Dipnets, seines, minnow traps
        • Drift Fence Materials
    • 5. Activities
      • Field trip to Los Vaqueros CTS habitat-existing and created
      • Aquatic sampling for larval CTS
        • Timing, protocol, 10(a)1(a) permit
      • Correct methods for handling amphibians
      • Decontamination of equipment
      • Understanding CTS friends: gopher and ground squirrels
    • 6. Aquatic Sampling Dipnetting Seining
    • 7. Study Techniques Pitfall Traps
    • 8. Drift Fence Installation
    • 9. Which one is the REAL CTS?
      • Tigrinum
      • Tiger salamander
      • Barred subspecies
      • Californiense
      • California tiger salamander
      Ensatina eschscholtzii
    • 10. Which pond is better CTS habitat?
    • 11. Identification/Morphology
      • Eggs/Embryos
        • Attached to vegetation or other materials
        • Resemble grapes in a cluster
        • Detectable Dec-Feb
      • Larvae
        • predators from day 1
      • Metamorphs
        • Muddy color patterns
        • Remnant gill stubs
        • Fat, 4-6 inches
    • 12. Morphology/ID (cont’d)
      • Juveniles
        • Resemble adults but smaller
      • Adults
        • 6-10 inches
    • 13. Aquatic Habitat
        • Knee-deep pools necessary to support breeding
        • Should hold water at least until May but June/July preferred
        • Ponds must dry up to control predator populations
        • Area size will affect productivity and resources (insects) to support metamorphs
          • 1 sq. meter needed for every metamorph.
    • 14. Aquatic Habitat (cont’d)
      • Vegetation not necessary or as important within or around pond as it is with CRLF.
      • Water quality:
        • Limits on salinity
        • The muddier the better to decrease vulnerability to predators
        • BUT this could have adverse effects on oxygen availability to eggs.
    • 15. Upland Habitat
      • Grassland preferred
      • CTS find their way into plugged gopher holes but prefer ground squirrel burrows-pix of CTS with baby ground squirrels.
      • Also found in oak woodlands
      • Chaparral and shrublands
    • 16. Reproduction/Migration
        • Breeds in ponds
        • Larvae aquatic (<1 yr)
        • Juveniles (2-5 yrs)
        • Juveniles completely terrestrial
        • Adults return to ponds only to breed
    • 17. Amphibian Movements
      • CTS Documented moving 1-2 km into uplands
        • Dispersed between ponds up to 670 m apart
      Age Class Density Distributions at Olcott Lake Trenham and Shaffer 2005 ( Ecol. Appl .) Adults Subadults Dispersal versus Distance Trenham et al. 2001 ( Ecology )
    • 18. Corridor Considerations
      • Corridor width
        • Narrow corridors may be highly lethal
      • Pond spacing
        • Increase pond density to maintain connectivity
      • Types of ponds
        • Mix of temporary and permanent ponds
      • Upland habitats
        • Floodplain habitat may be less suitable
        • Agriculture may be suitable migratory habitat (but consider seasonality of cultivation)
    • 19. Habitat Preferences-Comparison
      • Tiger salamander
        • Temporary ponds (also permanent ponds)
        • Grassland and oak woodland uplands
        • Ground squirrel and gopher burrows
      • Red-legged frog
        • Permanent ponds without fish or bullfrogs
        • Springs and seeps (non-breeding habitat)
        • Burrows and refuges in dense vegetation
    • 20. NRCS Pond Restoration Design Specifications
      • Alameda County NRCS has a program to restore existing stock ponds
      • They will provide support and work with USFWS for Wildlife Friendly Ponds for participating land owners
      • They have specifications which are also available for our use.
      • Pete Van Horn 925-371-0154 ext 116
    • 21. Conclusion
      • Excellent workshop
        • Great Networking
          • Alameda CTY water district, env. Consultants, USFWS, NRCS
        • Greater understanding of biological background
        • Current information on mitigation and protection measures directly from a USFWS agent (no longer at USFWS)
        • Workbook from Deb available to anyone.
    • 22. How This Affects PG&E CTS and Service Territory Overlap
      • Electric:
      • Transmission Lines: 6300 miles
      • Transmission Towers: 45,000
      • Substation 283
      • PG&E Owned Land 6300 acres
      • Distribution Lines: 32,000 miles
      • Gas
      • Distribution Lines: 15,500 miles
      • Transmission Lines: 3200 miles
      CTS Range
    • 23. CTS Critical Habitat Within PG&E Service Territory
      • Electric
      • Transmission Lines: 65 miles
      • Transmission Towers: 332
      • Distribution Lines: 170 miles
      • Gas
      • Distribution Lines: 3 miles
      • Transmission Lines: 35 miles
      CTS Critical Habitat
    • 24. CTS Habitat Near Substations (Cotati) Breeding Pool
    • 25. Where they like to hang out They have to travel through our substation in order to get to the field
    • 26. CRLF found in SPCC pond in North Dublin Substation (part of Tri-Valley)
    • 27. SPCC pond along migration route Need exit ramps in three corners
    • 28. Santa Rosa Plain Conservation Strategy Study Area
      • Dec. 1, 2005, ACOE, US EPA, North Coast RWQCB, various Env. Groups.
      • Guidelines to USFWS and CDFG on Mitigation for Individual projects
      • Current mitigation cost for 1 acre of CTS habitat is $135K
      • Map of area available-incorporate into E-Screen mapquide tools???
    • 29. Santa Rosa Plain Conservation Strategy Area and PG&E Facilities Overlap-Available under Admin layer on internal MapGuide
    • 30. CTS Study 2004 Metcalf-Moss Landing Reconductoring Project .
    • 31. Fulton-Santa Rosa 115 kV right-of-way
    • 32. Fulton-Santa Rosa 115 kV Reconductoring Project Vernal pools
    • 33. Wooden planks used to avoid crushing burrows
    • 34. Tri-Valley Mitigation Ponds for CRLF and CTS
    • 35. M ITIGATION AND M ONITORING E FFORTS FOR C ALIFORNIA RED-LEGGED FROG ( R ANA DRAYTONII ) AND C ALIFORNIA TIGER SALAMANDER ( A MBYSTOMA CALIFORNIENSE ): S UCCESSFUL B REEDING IN A C ONSTRUCTED P OND KEVIN D. WISEMAN 1 , DEBIE MONTANA 2 , JOSEPH E. DRENNAN 1 , AND KARLA R. MARLOW 1 1 Garcia and Associates (GANDA) 2601 Mission St., Suite 600, San Francisco, California 94110 2 Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), 3401 Crow Canyon Road, San Ramon, California 94583 INTRODUCTION SURVEY METHODS RESULTS DISCUSSION Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) Tri-Valley 2002 Capacity Increase Project facilitated increased current and future demand for electricity by constructing and operating two new distribution substations, 13.4 miles of 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission lines, and related upgrades to existing facilities in the Cities of Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, and San Ramon, and in portions of unincorporated Alameda and Contra Costa Counties adjacent to these cities. As part of mitigation requirements by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for this project, PG&E was required to construct and manage a 0.29 acre (~20 x 80 m) pond and 3.9 acres of surrounding upland habitat to enhance populations of federally threatened California red-legged frog ( Rana draytonii ) and California tiger salamander ( Ambystoma californiense ). The objectives of the survey effort were to evaluate colonization and breeding success of both amphibian species using the mitigation pond by conducting annual surveys and monitoring. The mitigation pond was created in the dry season (late fall) in 2005, adjacent to an unnamed tributary of Tassajara Creek near Dublin, California (Figure 2). The pond is located approximately 0.6 km northeast of the North Dublin Substation by way of an unpaved access road within open annual grassland habitat that is grazed and largely undeveloped. Currently, the pond is surrounded by a barbed wire fence which excludes cattle from entering the pond. An unnamed, ephemeral drainage to Tassajara Creek runs adjacent to the pond. Rana draytonii were known from the immediate area, and were documented breeding in a nearby pond, located approximately 80 m to the southeast (CDFG 2008). Ambystoma californiense is also known to occur within the area, and one adult was discovered during the grading of an unpaved access road to the site in July 2005. Figure 1. Location of the Tri-Valley Mitigation Pond. Figure 2. The Tri-Valley Mitigation Pond, February 12, 2008. REFERENCES ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Following the pond’s creation in 2005, annual surveys for R. draytonii and A. californiense were initiated in 2006 and continued in 2007-2008. Surveys consisted of daytime surveys focused on detecting egg masses, salamander larvae and tadpoles (Fig. 3), and nighttime surveys focused on detecting adult frogs when they are most likely to be observed (Fellers and Kleeman 2006). Surveys were conducted in accordance with standard protocols for both species (USFWS 2003, 2005). Survey Area. In addition to the mitigation pond, the study area also included a 1000 m reach of an unnamed tributary to Tassajara Creek (see Figure 7) which is a relatively narrow (~1-3 m), ephemeral, low-gradient drainage. Mark-recapture study. In 2008, a mark-recapture study of California red-legged frogs was initiated at the Tri-Valley Mitigation Site in order to identify individual frogs and facilitate population estimation. We implanted passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags (Biomark ® 8.5 mm, #TXP148511B; Figure 4A) into adult frogs (Figure 4B) following methods used by Fellers and Kleeman (2007) and Bulger et al. (2003). During subsequent surveys, frogs are captured, measured (SUL, weight) and the frogs serial identification number is recorded using a reader device (Biomark ® Pocket Reader) which detects the signal of the PIT tag. Figure 3. Larval surveys at the Tri-Valley Mitigation Pond, March 11, 2008. Figure 4A. Figure 4B. We observed successful breeding by both California red-legged frog and California tiger salamander for the first time in the mitigation pond in 2008. Rana draytonii adults were observed in the mitigation pond during surveys conducted in 2006 (n=1) and 2007 (n=5), however both species did not use the mitigation pond for breeding until the third wet season, despite favorable habitat conditions in 2006 and 2007. CALIFORNIA RED-LEGGED FROG On February 12, 2008, ten R. draytonii egg masses were observed at the southeastern end of the mitigation pond, estimated to have been deposited between January 31 and February 9 (Figure 5). Egg masses were deposited 170-410 cm (mean=321 cm) from shore and maximum depths at egg mass locations ranged from 26-50 cm (mean=38.7 cm) (Figure 6). Nine of ten egg masses were attached to dead bulrush fronds near the water surface. One egg mass was apparently unattached. Egg masses were located at the northeast and north edges of the mitigation pond (Figure 7). No evidence of breeding (egg masses or tadpoles) was observed in the tributary. Fig. 5. Rana draytonii egg mass. Fig. 6. Microhabitat of 10 R. draytonii egg masses. Figure 7. Locations of R. draytonii observed during surveys in 2008. CALIFORNIA TIGER SALAMANDER A total of five tiger salamander larvae were observed during dip-netting surveys conducted on May 18, 2008, which confirms successful breeding in the mitigation pond. Four larvae were found in the mitigation pond and one was found in a small (~1m 2 ; 25 cm deep) isolated pool in the tributary downstream of the mitigation pond (Figures 9, 10). The larva found in the tributary was much smaller (70 mm total length [TL]) than those in the mitigation pond (92, 93, 98, and 132 mm TL), perhaps due to higher productivity found in the pond compared to the tributary, or temporally separated breeding periods between habitats. A total of 30 adults (>55 mm SUL) were observed during seven surveys in 2008, some of which are likely repeat observations of individual frogs (Figure 7). However surveys conducted on February 21, March 11, May 18, and June 12 resulted in eight, 15, one, and six individual adult CRLF, respectively. Captured adult frogs ranged in size from 72-117 mm SUL (mean=96.9 ± 16.1 mm, N=11) and weighed 50-200 g (mean=104.5 ± 49.5 g; Figure 8). Fourteen adult frogs were observed in the mitigation pond and 16 frogs were observed in the tributary (Figure 7). Thirteen of 16 (81%) adult frogs observed in the tributary were located in the reach downstream of the mitigation pond, where bank gradients are higher and pools are more abundant than the reach upstream of the pond (Figure 7). Only one California-red legged frog was observed during daytime conditions, as compared to 29 individuals observed during nighttime surveys, similar to results observed by Fellers and Kleeman (2006). Three adult female California red-legged frogs were PIT-tagged during a nighttime survey on June 12 at the mitigation pond, none of which were recaptured during subsequent surveys. Tadpoles were commonly observed during surveys conducted in February, March, and May. On August 13, three juvenile CRLF were observed in a small pool (~1m 2 ) located within the tributary adjacent to the mitigation pond (Figure 7). The juveniles were found in 8 cm of water that was completely covered in duckweed ( Lemna sp.), and appeared to be the only source of standing water within the one kilometer reach of the tributary and the mitigation pond, which had completely dried by August 13. Fig. 8. Length and weight of captured R. draytonii adults (n=11). Figure 9. Locations of A. californiense larvae observed during surveys in 2008. Figure 10. A. californiense larva We would like to thank the many individuals who contributed to this project in numerous ways including: Mark Schexnayder, Ken DiVittorio, John and Carol Garcia, Daniel Marquez, Betsy Bolster, Jones and Stokes, Brian Galey, Jeff Steinman, Pierre Fidenci, Jeff Alvarez, and Brad Shaffer. The three-season lag time between pond creation and successful breeding by R. draytonii we observed at the Tri-Valley Mitigation Site is consistent with results from other studies conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area. For example, Alvarez et al. (in press) found that for 22 constructed ponds at Los Vaqueros Reservoir, R. draytonii eventually bred in all but one pond within 1-108 months (mean=23.9 months). At a mitigation pond created in 2006 near Montara, California, R. draytonii eventually bred on the second wet season in 2008 (Jason Minton, pers. comm.). Alvarez, J.A., M.A. Shea, and C. Dunn. In Press . Colonization of constructed mitigation ponds by California red-legged frogs. J. of Herpetology. Bulger, J.B., N.J. Scott Jr., and R.B. Seymour. 2003. Terrestrial activity and conservation of adult California red-legged frogs ( Rana aurora draytonii ) in coastal forests and grasslands. Biol. Conservation (110):85-95. California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG). 2008. California Natural Diversity Database, October update. Fellers, G.M. and P.M. Kleeman. 2006. Diurnal versus nocturnal surveys for California red- legged frogs. Journal of Wildlife Management 70(6):1805-1808. Fellers, G.M. and P.M. Kleeman. 2007. California red-legged frog ( Rana draytonii ) movement and habitat use: implications for conservation. J. of Herpetology 41(2):276-286.
    • 36. Tri-Valley Mitigation Requirement
      • Wetland Mitigation Site
      • A 0.33-acre wetland mitigation site was
      • created on Moller ranch, north of the North Dublin Substation
      • The site was constructed according to specifications detailed in Conservation Measure #1 of the BO.
      • A five-year monitoring plan was established by PG&E and implemented beginning in April 2006.
      • A healthy CRLF was observed at the wetland mitigation site on July 11, 2006, and no bullfrogs ( Rana catesbeiana ) have been observed at the site thus far.
      • In order to ensure that the success criteria have been met, annual monitoring of the site
      • will continue during the April through May growing season, and monthly monitoring from April through August will continue to determine the hydroperiod of the wetland.
      • An annual report is submitted to the USFWS by November 30 of each year during the five years of monitoring.
      • Upland Habitat (80 Acres). In addition to the 33 acres of upland habitat preserved
      • pursuant to the provisions of the 2002 BO, an additional 47 acres of upland habitat were
      • preserved on Moller Ranch and will be managed in perpetuity for SJKF, CRLF, and CTS.
    • 37. Where’s the Pond???
    • 38. Pond Construction Begins
    • 39. Vegetation Planting
    • 40. Newly Constructed Pond
    • 41. Tri-Valley Pond in Summer
    • 42. 1 st CRLF Found in Mitigation Pond
    • 43. Mitigation Pond Surveys CTS Larvae CRLF Egg Mass I found 12 my first time out!!!