Tree Voles! Flying Squirrels! Birds Birds Birds! And Wolverine?
Whether furred, feathered, or finned, the array of wildlife in the Klamath-Siskiyou region is remarkable.
The forests, wildlands, and rivers of the Klamath-Siskiyou provide refuge for a remarkable variety of wildlife. Northern spotted owls still nest in our ancient forests. Pacific fishers still roam the vast backcountry. Salmon and steelhead still migrate down our wild rivers and return to mountain streams to spawn.
Tree-dwelling critters like the red tree vole and flying squirrel rarely touch the forest floor and rely on the habitat networks and corridors our landscapes provide. Researchers continue to scour the high country for the wolverine, a rare carnivore that is only known to inhabit the most remote areas of the west.
River otters frolic in the region’s many rivers, and black bears find solace in the vast open spaces. Some lucky hikers might catch a glimpse of seldom-seen species like a pine marten or Pacific fisher who prefer to hide out deep in old-growth forests.
The wide variety of forests in the Klamath-Siskiyou offer a home to many feathered friends. Spotted owls, which are in decline range-wide, are producing young owlets at a greater rate in the Klamath-Siskiyous than elsewhere in their range. Rare and elusive species like the coastal marbled murrelet that nest in large trees near the beach or the highly maneuverable northern goshawk can still be found here. A fantastic display of neotropical migrant birds also find a home in the wilds of southern Oregon and northern California.
Source Habitat and the Siskiyou Crest
Many imperiled wildlife species rely upon large blocks of intact forest to provide habitat and sustenance necessary to thrive and reproduce. These large blocks of habitat often provide a “source habitat” for wildlife contributing to population stability and recovery. Conservation efforts in the KS have protected large wildlife habitat hotspots associated with the Kalmiopsis, Marble Mountains, Siskiyou Crest, Trinity Alps, and the Cascade Range.
Green Sturgeon are truly a prehistoric creature, possessing a skeleton that is more cartilage than bone and rows of bony plates for protection rather than scales.
The marbled murrelet (Brachyeamphus marmoratus) is a pacific seabird that nests in trees in older coastal forests in North America and Asia.
The northern spotted owl ( Strix occidentalis caurina ) has been at the center of forest management debate because of its dependence on classic old-growth forest characteristics for roosting, foraging and nesting, its role as an ‘indicator species’ for forest health, and the continual fragmentation and loss of its habitat throughout the Pacific Northwest.
The Pacific fisher (Martes pennanti), an ecologically important forest carnivore, lives in low elevation old-growth forests of the northern United States and Canada.
Pacific lamprey (Lampetra tridentata) is a parasitic eel-like species that has no true jaw, bones or fins.
The red tree vole (Arborimus longicaudus) is a small rodent found in the coastal mountains and western Cascades of Oregon.
Siskiyou Mountains salamander (Plethodon stormi) is endemic to northern Siskiyou County, California, and southern Jackson Country, Oregon.
North American wolverines have been listed as a threatened species in Oregon by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife since 1989. In December 2000, KS Wild and a coalition of groups, led by the Center for Biological Diversity, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to list this wildlands-dependent forest carnivore.
The east-west ridgeline of the Siskiyou Crest Mountains provides a vitally important wildlife corridor, linking the Cascades and the Coast Ranges and increasing the wildlife diversity in the area. Indeed, the Siskiyou Crest allows genetic flow between the large wildlands of the region and provides for mobility and habitat niches in the face of climate change.
By protecting the ecosystems on which they depend, we can safeguard fish and wildlife.
Serious threats which must be addressed if the biological diversity of the region is to remain intact. Logging and road building activities pose a major threat to salmon and steelhead habitat in the tributaries that feed the five main rivers. International mining interests have plans to build destructive the headwaters of our most pristine salmon-bearing streams in the Pacific Northwest – the Wild and Scenic Smith and Illinois Rivers.
By preventing the logging of our old-growth forests we are protecting many species, but especially sensitive, at-risk species such as the Northern Goshawk, the marbled murrelet, Northern spotted owl, Pacific fisher, the red tree vole, green sturgeon, and Coho salmon.
KS Wild also collaborates with our conservation allies to petition the US Fish and Wildlife service to list at-risk species as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. These include the Siskiyou Mountain Salamander, Pacific Fisher, Wolverine, and Lamprey.