Pick Our Brain - December 2013

We never hear about other Delta ‘critters’ like Swainson’s Hawk, riparian brush rabbits, etc. Aren’t they important to the estuary as well?

Yes, fish aren’t the only species of concern in and around the Delta. The draft Bay-Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) has done an extensive analysis of potential species of concern in and near the Delta. The BDCP list of covered species includes five mammals and 11 species of birds:


  • Riparian brush rabbit
  • Riparian woodrat
  • Salt marsh harvest mouse
  • San Joaquin kit fox
  • Suisun shrew


  • California black rail
  • California clapper rail
  • California least tern
  • Greater sandhill crane
  • Least Bell’s vireo
  • Suisun song sparrow
  • Swainson’s hawk
  • Tricolored blackbird
  • Western burrowing owl
  • Western yellow-billed cuckoo
  • White-tailed kite
  • Yellow-breasted chat

But these aren’t the only species of concern; the list also includes two reptiles, two amphibians, seven invertebrates, and 18 species of plants. They are, however, only a fraction of the 500 wildlife species found in and around the Delta including tule elk (in Suisun Marsh), beavers, river otters, sea lions, muskrats, mink, ospreys, bald eagles, ducks, geese, swans, ibis, herons, and egrets to name a few.

For more information about the threatened and endangered species in the Delta and Central Valley see the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office species web page.