CALFED Bay-Delta Program heading
  • Governor Brown
  • John Laird, Resources Secretary
  • Joe Grindstaff, CALFED Director

Delta Species of Concern

The Delta is a lush habitat for plants and animals, many of which are found only in the Delta. Unfortunately, many Delta species have been declared "threatened" or "endangered."  Scientists have been working to determine how best to return key Delta species to better health and more abundance.

Plants

More Plants Information

The Deltaís lush, green environment belies the fact that many of its native plants are threatened and endangered species. One of those is the Palmate-Braced Birdís-Beak or Cordylanthus palmates, an annual in the snapdragon family. Its habitat of seasonally-flooded saline-alkali soils in lowland plains and basins is shrinking due to reclamation, leading to the Palmate-Bracted Birdís-Beakís listing as an endangered species.

Mammals

More Mammals Information

The status of the tiny San Joaquin kit fox that was once a common sight in the semi-arid San Joaquin Valley from north of Modesto to near Bakersfield is precarious. By 1930, the kit fox had been eliminated from the northern portion of its range and was found in declining numbers from Merced south along the Coast Range. Populations survived in Kings, San Luis Obispo and Kern counties, mostly west of Interstate 5.

Fish

More Fish Information

The plight of the tiny Delta smelt, long considered the canary in the mineshaft for the California Delta, has made headlines for years as it appears to be heading for inevitable extinction. Actions on many fronts Ė legal, legislative, political and scientific Ė are at play to try to preserve the Delta smelt. Other fish species that have experienced rebounds from dwindling populations are Chinook salmon and steelhead.

Birds

More Bird Information.

The return of a husky-voiced little songbird that was once common in the Central San Joaquin Valley but not heard for more than 60 years is one result of a restoration success of the CALFED Bay-Delta Program. The story of the least Bellís vireo or vireo belie pastilles had a happy ending, but there are still many other birds listed as threatened or endangered who call the Delta home.

Amphibians/Invertebrates/Reptiles

More Amphibian and Reptile Information

The giant garter snake or thamnophis gigas, is the victim of decline from a number of factors: habitat loss and fragmentation, flood control activities, changes in agricultural and land management practices, predation from invasive species, parasites, water pollution and continuing threats. It is listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Endangered Species Act in its habitat of the Central and Sacramento valleys.