First thing in the morning, our team of biologists head out to the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project construction site to inspect for animals that may have wandered onto the construction site overnight. The inspectors help to ensure that none of the rare and endangered species in the area end up in the path of the day’s construction activities.
Sometimes they find critters that need to be taken off site to a safe place. In fact, to date, our environmental inspectors have relocated western pond turtles, Alameda whipsnakes, California tiger salamanders, and many other species to a nearby, safe habitat away from construction.
Other times they find evidence that something passed through, but didn't stick around. This last week, our inspectors found the paw print of a mountain lion at the edge of a water holding pond. Also known as a cougar, puma, or panther, mountain lions are solitary predators of other large mammals, such as deer and elk. Males can weigh up to 200 pounds, while females could reach 140.
Glimpses of these creatures have been seen by project personnel, but thankfully, none of our biologists have encountered the feline while making their rounds. But it serves as a reminder that we are not alone out here in the watershed, and we must continue our vigilance to help protect the animals and plants in the Southern Alameda Creek Watershed while we continue with construction of this important water reliability project.