Tidewater gobies are endemic to California and are typically found in lagoons, stream mouths, and estuarine habitats separated from the ocean. Their decline has been attributed to habitat loss, water quality degradation, water diversions, and non-native species predation. Stillwater’s expertise and current handling permit allows us to quickly mobilize and conduct protocol-level surveys to document the presence of this species in sampling marsh and slough habitats and assist our clients through the regulatory process of working in bay and coastal waters where an endangered species may be present.
Four Stillwater fisheries biologists have been formally trained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on tidewater goby Endangered Species Act consultation (Section 7), field survey protocol, sampling technique, identification, habitat assessment, and current threats to the species recovery. In addition to our field expertise, we assisted in the development of guidelines to evaluate, modify, and develop estuarine restoration projects for tidewater goby habitat with the Arcata office of the USFWS.
In addition, we are involved in conducting research in several lagoon systems in California where goby are either currently known to exist, or likely occurred historically, including Gannon Slough (Humboldt County), Pudding Creek (Mendocino County), Redwood Creek (Marin County), San Francisco Bay (San Francisco County), Pescadero and San Gregorio creeks (San Mateo County), Salinas River (Monterey County), Santa Clara River (Ventura County), and Malibu and Topanga creeks (Malibu County).
Tidewater goby is listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. Critical habitat has been designated and a recovery plan is in effect. Stillwater fisheries biologists hold a federal permit to handle this species.
Because of its endangered status, any work that may affect tidewater goby requires consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. This consultation typically requires protocol-level surveys to document the status of tidewater gobies in the area. For this project, we conducted protocol-level surveys as well as provided rescue and relocation of fishes in the dewatered area prior to stabilizing levee walls, which was threatening the integrity of a gas pipeline crossing in Gannon Slough.