|The High Speed Rail (HSR) has begun construction in the San Joaquin Valley, and the section between Bakersfield and Fresno crosses through diverse valley floor habitats. Permitting for the project has addressed nine state and/or Federally listed threatened or endangered species, and five wetland habitats. HSR is committed to landscape level habitat restoration and preservation, and Westervelt Ecological Services has been working since 2016 to secure 8 properties totaling over 2,200 acres to aid in achieving the conservation objectives required in the project permits.
This session will look at the challenges and opportunities associated with securing, restoring, and preserving this scale of habitat spread across the southern San Joaquin valley. In addition, many of these sites have required habitat enhancement or restoration activities to improve species habitat or increase wetland acreage/function. Performing habitat enhancing activities on sites occupied listed species can prove complicated from both a permitting and implementation standpoint. This talk will be co-presented by Westervelt and CDFW, and will provide insights in the planning process as well as share on-the-ground examples of how work was conducted in habitat occupied by San Joaquin Kit Fox, California tiger salamander, burrowing owl, Tipton kangaroo rat, and San Joaquin antelope squirrel.