USGS Western Ecological Research Center

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Michael Casazza

   Research Wildlife Biologist

Michael Casazza
Dixon Field Station
800 Business Park Drive, Suite D
Dixon, CA 95620
Phone: (530) 669-5075
Fax: (707) 678-5039
Mike Casazza holding a captured California Clapper Rail.


My research program at the Dixon Field Station focuses on the ecology of threatened and endangered species in a variety of ecosystems.  This includes primary ecological research on the endangered California Ridgway's Rail in SF Bay, the endangered San Francisco Gartersnake, the threatened Giant Gartersnake in the Central Valley of California, the California state-listed Greater Sandhill Crane, and the Greater Sage-Grouse.  My research has targeted studies which provide critical species information to land managers responsible for maintaining diverse and healthy wildlife populations while trying to help recover special status species. Understanding key life history traits of special status species can lead to management options promoting species recovery. 

My research team at Dixon employs a multi-disciplinary approach to all of our work including participation on several collaborative efforts.  We participated in the San Francisco Bay Goals Project beginning in 1995 and culminating in 2000 with a vision of the habitat needed to sustain healthy fish and wildlife populations in and around San Francisco Bay.  We are currently serving on the Great Basin Integrated Landscape Monitoring  (GBILM) Team for USGS to help link ecosystem drivers to on the ground monitoring programs. In addition, I am a co-investigator on a Sagebrush Ecosystem project examining the impacts of livestock grazing on sagebrush habitats in coordination with principal investigators from two other Science Centers. Bridging the gap between population biology and landscape level management is a primary goal of our research team’s effort.  Current animal handling permits include: California State Collecting Permit, Federal Banding Permit, Authorization to capture and mark the federally listed (threatened) giant garter snake and endangered California clapper rail in addition to other non-sensitive species. I have wide-ranging experience in radio-tagging numerous animals including snakes, waterfowl, shorebirds, and other migratory and non-migratory birds. 


1995     M.S.  California State University, Sacramento Thesis: Habitat use and movement of Northern Pintails wintering in Suisun Marsh, CA

1988     B.S.  Wildlife Biology, U.C. Davis

  • Wildlife Biologist, USGS, Western Ecological Research Center, Formerly USFWS, NPWRC, Dec 1988-Present
  • Student/Technician, Northern Prairie Research Field Station, Oct 1984-Dec 1989

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