There are some excerpts from the 2008 biological effectiveness monitoring report that should be shared. First, about giant garter snakes (GGS):
As was the case in 2006 and 2007, several cases of movement between tracts and relatively long-distance movements were observed in 2008. A female captured in early-June in the North Drainage Canal between the Atkinson and Ruby Ranch tracts was recaptured six weeks later approximately 1.07 kilometers (0.67 mile) to the north in the Q Drain at the Vestal tract. Two males first captured in the Q Drain at Vestal in mid-May were recaptured at nearby tracts to the north; one was recaptured five weeks later in the Q Drain between the Huffman West and Huffman east tracts approximately 950 meters (0.59 mile) away, and the other was recaptured about twelve weeks later in the Q Drain at the Bennett South tract approximately 2.02 kilometers (1.25 miles) away. Another male, first captured in the Q Drain between Huffman West and Huffman East tracts in early July, was recaptured five weeks later in the managed marsh at the Bennett South tract approximately 900 meters (0.56 mile) to the north. Additional instances were noted in which individuals were recaptured in managed marsh habitats after initially being captured in adjacent ditches or drains; this occurred in one instance at the Lucich North tract and in two instances at the Lucich South tract.
Movements observed between years show a similar pattern. For example, two females were captured in 2008 after previously being captured at neighboring tracts during the prior year. The first was captured in the Q Drain at the Vestal tract in mid-May after last being captured in early-July of 2007 in the Q Drain at Huffman West, approximately 887 meters (0.55 mile) to the north. The second was captured in late May in the Q Drain at Bennett South after last being captured in late July of 2007 in the Q Drain at Vestal, approximately 1.92 kilometers (1.19 miles) to the south.
One of the key elements of the 2003 NBHCP is the importance of hydrological connectivity and movement corridors for GGS. It is so gratifying to see that the Conservancy’s biological monitoring team has confirmed these movements.
As to Swainson’s hawks, the excerpt that stands out is this one:
Of the 105 known nesting territories in the survey area, 51 were active and 54 were inactive (i.e., neither adult was observed on the nesting territory) in 2008. Of the 51 active sites, 42 were occupied by breeding pairs that successfully nested (i.e., reared young to fledging), producing a total of 64 fledglings. Of the pairs that did not successfully reproduce, eight nested but failed to rear young to fledging and one occupied the territory but did not nest.
The number of active territories increased by seven from 2007 to 2008; and the number of successful nests increased by eight. The total number of young fledged increased by 16 from 2007 to 2008.
We’ve had some years that weren’t so hot. One year, for instance, we had a late-spring tornado in the northeast corner of the Basin and lost just about every Swainson’s hawk nest up there. This hurt the numbers. And we’ll have off years again. But the key here is that over time, we must provide full mitigation for the losses caused by urban development. It’s just good to see these numbers.