A tale of two valleys: Endangered species policy and the fate of the giant gartersnake

California Fish and Wildlife
By: , and 



By the mid-20th Century, giant gartersnakes (Thamnophis gigas) had lost more than 90% of their Central Valley marsh habitat and were extirpated from more than two-thirds of their range. This massive habitat loss led to their inclusion in the inaugural list of rare species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). Listing under the CESA provided giant gartersnakes legal protection and mechanisms for recovery, and subsequent listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (U.S. ESA) further fortified these protections. But how effective has listing under these endangered species acts (ESAs) been at achieving their goal of giant gartersnake recovery? Herein, we review relevant aspects of giant gartersnake ecology, illustrate how listing has benefitted giant gartersnakes and what challenges have been faced in slowing declines and recovering populations, and chart a course towardprovide options for improved conservation, management, and recovery of giant gartersnakes. Although listing as threatened under both state and federal ESAs has not yet achieved recovery of giant gartersnakes, the increased knowledge gained and mechanisms for protecting giant gartersnake habitat on private and public lands developed over the past 50 years has improved conservation of this endemic California snake.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A tale of two valleys: Endangered species policy and the fate of the giant gartersnake
Series title California Fish and Wildlife
DOI 10.51492/cfwj.cesasi.16
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 20 p.
First page 264
Last page 283
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Giant Gartersnake Range
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