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    Focal Species Analysis and Habitat Characterization for the Lower Santa Clara River and Major Tributaries, Ventura County

    top – Least Bell’s vireo (photograph by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

    middle – Example of habitat conditions in the lower Santa Clara River corridor (photograph by Stillwater Sciences)

    bottom – Excerpt from habitat distribution map produced as part of this report.

    Stillwater Sciences was contracted by the California State Coastal Conservancy toestimate the current spatial extent of selected "focal" species’ habitat in the Santa Clara River mainstem (mouth to Ventura/Los Angeles County line) and major tributaries (Piru, Sespe, and Santa Paula creeks). A focal species approach applies the habitat needs of selected species that use the river help to focus analysis and synthesis of existing information. An analysis of the life history and habitat requirements of each focal species was used to identify the relative importance of various habitat features along the lower Santa Clara and to evaluate the degree to which restoration strategies may benefit these individual species, many of which have declined and may require habitat restoration to persist in the area.

    Selection criteria

    • Focal species were selected from a list of candidate species that currently occur or historically occurred along the lower Santa Clara River, based on their status under state and federal Endangered Species Acts, the occurrence of suitable habitat within the vicinity of the project area, and the ecological niche they represent. They cover a range of aquatic, riparian, and upland habitat requirements and represent various taxonomic groups and guilds within the river corridor ecosystem. A few of the selected species no longer occur in the project area, but were included because they might recolonize or be re-introduced if habitat is restored.
    • For each focal species, the different life history stages that occur in the Santa Clara River were identifed, as well as the habitats used by each of those life history stages, the ecological processes that create and maintain those habitats, and the management actions that influence those ecological processes and habitat conditions.


    The spatial extent of potential habitat was estimated using recent field studies, aerial photographic interpretation of riparian vegetation and channel planform evolution, reviews of scientific literature, and interviews with local experts.

    View the focal species maps using Google Earth

    Google Earth allows anyone to view spatial data, including satellite imagery and aerial photography. To view the vegetation mapping data, download and install Google Earth, then download the vegetation mapping KMZ files below. Once you've downloaded the files, you can double-click the file, which will launch the Google Earth application. Note: the vegetation mapping polygons were derived from 2005 aerial photography; imagery in Google Earth is updated constantly, thus the polygon boundaries may not match exactly with imagery in Google Earth.

    Focal species: FocalSpecies.kmz (1.13MB)

    Habitat types: Habtypes.kmz (1.1MB)

    Project Type: Baseline
    Conducted By: Stillwater Sciences
    Status: Complete

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