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Wildlife

Basin Topics > Wildlife

[Photo]: Bird of prey flying over Lake Tahoe   Copyright: Larry ProsserThe Lake Tahoe Basin supports a wide range of wildlife species that vary at different times of the year. The cnative wildlife community is a natural and integral component of the Lake Tahoe ecosystem.   It has been documented that 289 terrestrial (and semi terrestrial) vertebrates occur in the Lake Tahoe Basin as residents or regular visitors This total represents 217 bird, 59 mammal, 8 reptile, and 5 amphibian species . An additional 57 terrestrial species have been recorded in the Basin as accidental visitors or as species facing extinction from the Basin. Consequently, the Lake Tahoe Basin provides environmental conditions and habitats conducive for a somewhat diverse list of species, with opportunities to fulfill their respective life history requirements.
 
In general, all wildlife requires specific habitat elements such as food, cover, water, and space to survive and reproduce.   The availability of essential habitat elements is dynamic and varies in time and space, and the suitability of a habitat or a combination of habitats is dependant on a particular species' life history requirements.   Understanding the relationship between wildlife and habitat, the processes that create habitat, and the life history requirements of a wide diversity of wildlife species is at the heart of sound wildlife protection.
 
[Photo]: Lanhontan Cutthroat TroutUnfortunately, past and current land uses in the Basin have degraded the quality and quantity of wildlife habitats. Land uses like logging in the late 1800s, increased residential development in the late 1900s, and increased access to back country environments have created the need to reclaim wilderness habitat such that wildlife can be enjoyed by not only our generation, but generations of people into the future. Projects, programs, and research proposed for wildlife aim to improve wildlife habitats and extend our knowledge base of wildlife biology.

 
Since 1997, there have been increased efforts by to survey for sensitive species.   Survey efforts have focused on both Special Interest Species and other agency listed sensitive species.   Surveys conducted include California Spotted Owl, Northern Goshawk, Osprey, sensitive amphibians, waterfowl, Willow Flycatcher, furbearers, Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, and Bald Eagle.   Interagency cooperation has resulted in a coordinated and efficient field effort and has provided land management agencies with a more comprehensive knowledge base on the status of both Special Interest Species and other sensitive species.   A continuation of funding for Special Interest Species surveys along with interagency collaboration will prove to be valuable in land management decision-making and reporting on the status of sensitive species at the local and regional levels.