Project Synopsis

To comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), projects that may have potential impacts to species listed under the ESA require species surveys for presence/absence, population growth, and trends. The Yuma East Wetlands, a large-scale riparian and wetland restoration project along the lower Colorado River and managed by the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, underwent transformative changes from a stranded floodplain dominated with invasive saltcedar to a mosaic of native wetlands and riparian forests. To comply with the ESA and the Section 404 permit under the Clean Water Act, southwestern willow flycatcher, Yuma clapper rail and yellow-billed cuckoo were monitored on an annual basis. Additionally, breeding bird surveys were conducted to evaluate recovery and population trends and comply with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

On the Navajo Nation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs needed to determine presence and absence of Mexican spotted owls in proposed habitat to initiate grazing management plans. Mexican spotted owl surveys were conducted in Tsegi Canyon near Kayenta, Arizona to evaluate presence and absence and breeding status. Presence of owls will help guide grazing management practices to comply with ESA.

Contributions from Heidi Trathnigg, as an employee of Fred Phillips Consulting, LLC

  • Served as the Project Manager and managed the field crew.
  • Surveyed southwestern willow flycatcher and Yuma clapper rail presence/absence surveys in the Yuma East Wetlands using standardized protocols for 8 years.
  • Participated in two years of yellow-billed cuckoo surveys.
  • Analyzed results and presented findings in a final report to US Fish and Wildlife Service and Arizona Game and Fish Department.
  • Conducted breeding bird surveys using area search methods developed by the Bureau of Reclamation Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program (LCR MSCP).
  • Delineated and mapped survey routes.
  • Assisted with four Mexican spotted owl surveys in Tsegi Canyon, Navajo Nation.