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CA Press: Property owner builds ponds for tiger salamanders

This is a Press Information page entitled CA Press: Property owner builds ponds for tiger salamanders within the Press / News Items section of Caudata.org --- SANTA MARIA TIMES (California) 21 November 08 Property owner builds ponds for tiger salamanders (Sam Womack) Theyíre not furry or cuddly and they donít live ...

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Old 23rd November 2008   #1 (permalink)
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Default CA Press: Property owner builds ponds for tiger salamanders

SANTA MARIA TIMES (California) 21 November 08 Property owner builds ponds for tiger salamanders (Sam Womack)
Theyíre not furry or cuddly and they donít live very interesting lives. But the California tiger salamander made it onto the endangered species list and has since then disrupted many development projects.
However, one area property owner decided to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to learn more about the elusive amphibian in the hopes that further study would help with future projects on the property.
Jackson Family Wines, known formerly as Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates, created two new ponds on its 5,400-acre property in Los Alamos that may lure the spotted creature out for breeding purposes.
Jackson Family Wines signed an agreement with Fish and Wildlife to have their property excluded from the agencyís critical habitat designation in exchange for developing conservation measures to protect the salamander.
ďItís a very cooperative relationship,Ē said Lee Anne Edwards, the Jackson vice president of real estate.
She added that the company is a ďreally big land stewardĒ in its operations.
There were already four ponds on Jacksonís Los Robles Ranch before the most recent two were built to maximize the salamanderís use of the prime habitat.
ďNo oneís actually seen any salamanders on the property,Ē said Jim Youngson of Terrain Consulting. ďBut over the past five or 10 years approximately 100 larvae have been seenĒ in one of the most productive ponds on the ranch.
The newly constructed holes in the ground, designed to fill with rain water and groundwater in the winter and spring, are positioned less than 2,200 feet from another breeding pond and at least 600 feet away from Highway 101.
The distances are thought to be as far as the amphibian will travel for breeding and after hatching. However, the ponds are completely experimental, as very little is known about the salamanderís habits, Edwards said.
California tiger salamanders are hatched in seasonal ponds, where they mature for eight to 12 weeks before leaving the water and taking up residence in another animalís burrow until the need to breed brings them back to the pond, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
The black-colored critter with yellow or white spots or stripes was listed on the federal endangered species list in 2000, and 11,000 acres were listed as critical habitat in 2004.
One of Jacksonís new ponds is approximately 100 feet by 150 feet and 1 to 3 feet deep. The walls slope gently to give the mature salamanders an easier climb to a stolen burrow.
The second pond is 75 feet by 100 feet with a depth of 2 to 4 feet, and the bottom is lined with clay to help maintain the water level. It has steeper slopes and is surrounded by dirt mounds to help contain the predicted levels of natural water drainage.
About $100,000 has been spent on construction of the two new ponds, maintenance of the existing breeding ponds and continuing monitoring by FWS-approved consultants, according to Youngson.
The tree-lined property with rolling hills has been leased for cattle grazing and although the Jackson family would like to do something with the land, there are no plans in the pipeline, Edwards said.
The property, west of Highway 101, was purchased in 1998 for a vineyard, but once the amphibian was listed as an endangered species, the plan was stalled.
Now, the dry holes represent cooperation rather than regulation and Edwards said that perhaps with more knowledge of the salamander will come more efficient mitigation measures for all developers within the designated critical habitat areas.
http://www.santamariatimes.com/artic...ews/news01.txt



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Old 23rd November 2008   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: CA Press: Property owner builds ponds for tiger salamanders

Yay for cooperation! I know many people resent the government stepping in and telling them what to do (we just had this issue with a new piece of property willed to the Refuge). When there are options like this, people are less angry about it, and more willing to work with the government.



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Old 17th December 2008   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: CA Press: Property owner builds ponds for tiger salamanders

This is amazing. I love to hear about things like this. This is something that I've thought about doing once I am done with school, and I settle down (wherever it may be).



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Old 18th December 2008   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: CA Press: Property owner builds ponds for tiger salamanders

Quote:
Theyíre not furry or cuddly and they donít live very interesting lives.
Apart from the first point, I'd care to disagree.

Blackhawk



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