Throughout my internship experience with USFWS, I had the opportunity to join in on educational opportunities to learn more about a variety of species. One of these educational opportunities were participating in field trips. Although I participated in a lot of field trips, one of my favorites was when we went to Gaviota State Park. At Gaviota State Park, you are surrounded by two different environments which allows a variety of species to coexist in very near proximity. One of the environments that we got to visit was the beach. This beach had a river that flowed into it. In this river we had the opportunity to see a Brown Pelican, but also Tidewater Goby fish! This was such an amazing opportunity because I had only ever heard of them since they are a federally endangered species. I never thought I would have the opportunity to actually see them. However, it was not easy finding them. Tidewater Goby fish are small, fast, shy, and blend in with the sediment. Therefore when we approached the river, we had to approach it light footedly and slowly so that we wouldn’t spook them. Once we got to the edge of the river, we leaned over and waited for them to come out. It was fascinating to see them swimming around in groups curious of who was looking down at them.
The second environment that we got to visit was amount a mile away from the beach, but still within the state park. We had to hike about a mile on a dirt trail into a little meadow. Initially, we were looking for California Red legged Frogs, but unfortunately we didn’t find any. However, we did end up finding Tree Frogs! It was awesome to see these little guys in their natural environment all huddled up. As we kept walking around the little meadow, we saw an invasive American Bullfrog leap out from the bushes and dive into the water. Instantly, we tried looking for it, but as we stared into the water what we ended up seeing was three invasive crayfish. This was NOT a good sign. It was probably the reason as to why we couldn’t find any California Red Legged Frogs. Although it was sad to see invasive species in a place where such an important species use to thrive in, it was still exciting to see how other species were able to put up a fight and coexist in this environment.
Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service
Location: Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office