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: September 19, 2021

Sea Otter Surveys Get a High-Tech, COVID-Safe Update for 2021

After a 2020 cancellation of the annual sea otter census, the count was back on for 2021.

Date published: August 18, 2021

Research Spotlight: New Study Explores Nocturnal Nest Breaks and Predation Events for Dabbling Ducks

A new study by USGS scientists, in collaboration with the California Department of Water Resources and California Department of Fish and Wildlife, examined whether female ducks (hens) in Suisun Marsh, California leave their nest at night voluntarily or in response to a predator. They find that most nest breaks at night are initiated by the hen, but a quarter of nest departures are the result...

Publications

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Year Published: 2021

Kelp forest monitoring at Naval Base Ventura County, San Nicolas Island, California—Fall 2019, sixth annual repor

The U.S. Geological Survey conducts ecological monitoring of rocky subtidal communities at four permanent sites around San Nicolas Island. The sites—Nav Fac 100, West End, Dutch Harbor, and Daytona 100—were based on ones that had been monitored since 1980 by the U.S. Geological Survey and, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy, were combined or...

Kenner, Michael C.; Tomoleoni, Joseph
Kenner, M.C., and Tomoleoni, J., 2021, Kelp forest monitoring at Naval Base Ventura County, San Nicolas Island, California—Fall 2019, sixth annual report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1081, 97 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211081.

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Year Published: 2021

Development of demographic models to analyze populations with multi-year data—Using Agassiz’s Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) as a case study

We developed a model for analyzing multi-year demographic data for long-lived animals and used data from a population of Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) at the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area in the western Mojave Desert of California as a case study. The study area was 7.77 square kilometers and included two locations: inside...

Berry, Kristin H.; Yee, Julie L.
Berry, K.H., and Yee, J.L., 2021, Development of demographic models to analyze populations with multi-year data—Using Agassiz’s Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) as a case study: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1094, 55 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181094.

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Year Published: 2021

Distribution and abundance of Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus) on the upper San Luis Rey River, San Diego County, California—2020 data summary

We surveyed for Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus; flycatcher) along the upper San Luis Rey River, near Lake Henshaw, in Santa Ysabel, California, in 2020. Surveys were completed at four locations: three downstream from Lake Henshaw, where nest monitoring occurred from 2015 to 2019 (Rey River Ranch [RRR], Cleveland...

Howell, Scarlett L.; Kus, Barbara E.
Howell, S.L., and Kus, B.E., 2021, Distribution and abundance of Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus) on the upper San Luis Rey River, San Diego County, California—2020 data summary: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1140, 11 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1140.