The California tiger salamander (CTS) is a vulnerable amphibian native to Northern California. It breeds in ponds and vernal pools, entering the water with heavy rains in December and January. Shortly after producing and depositing eggs, adults leave the pond and disperse to underground burrows, spending the remainder of the year. Juveniles grow to nearly adult size over the next few months and then spread to terrestrial burrows in late summer, returning years later to breed as adults. Both aquatic and upland terrestrial habitat is critical to the species' survival.
The California red-legged frog (CRF) is California's most prominent native ranid frog. It breeds in ponds, wetlands and slow-moving streams. Furthermore, it is listed as a federally threatened species by the USFWS. The CRF occurs within numerous habitat types, including oak woodland, annual grassland, riparian, and wetland habitats.
The Alameda whipsnake (AKA Alameda striped racer) (AWS) is a long, slender snake with a dark dorsal color, usually black, dark brown, or charcoal, and a ventral color of yellow or orange, often including a salmon color along the last portion of the snake's underside. It has yellow stripes along both sides of its body but not on top. It has relatively large eyes and hunts visually, seeking out and capturing lizards by rapid bursts of speed. A member of the racer family, this subspecies of the California racer occurs in Alameda, Contra Costa, and parts of Santa Clara counties.
The burrowing owl (BUOW) occurs in open grassland habitat most often associated with colonies of CA ground squirrels upon which the owls rely for burrow systems. BUOWs nest and seek refuge underground within burrows and will often use artificial structures (culverts, pipes, broken cement) as a refuge and nesting site.
The smallest fox species in California, the San Joaquin kit fox (SJKF), occurred historically throughout a large part of the Central Valley of California north to the Delta. Limited sightings of foxes occur in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, where a significant amount of appropriate habitat remains intact.
The State threatened Swainson's Hawk (SWHA) occurs throughout the Central Valley of California in alluvial riparian and annual grassland habitat. It may also nest in oak savannah and open grasslands containing adequate nesting trees along the western edge of the Central Valley within the coastal range. SWHA nests can also be found within the eastern portions of Contra Costa and Alameda counties in CA in appropriate habitats. Most SWHA are migratory, congregating in large flocks in the fall and leaving the State for wintering grounds in Central and South America.
Vernal Pool fairy shrimp (VPFS) occur in shallow seasonal and vernal pool environments within Alameda and Contra Costa counties. VPFS is listed as threatened by the USFWS. The species has evolved to adapt to seasonal pools and drought conditions by developing eggs (cysts) that can last within the dry duff of a seasonal pool for decades. The eggs hatch when pools fill, shrimp grow into adults, breed and deposit eggs, and complete their life cycle before the pool dries.