Washington Ground Squirrel

Washington-Ground-Squirrel_WDFW_460.jpg
Photo Credit: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Overview

  • Species Common Name Washington Ground Squirrel
  • Species Scientific Name Urocitellus washingtoni
  • Federal Listing Status Species of Concern
  • State Listing Status Endangered

Ecoregions

Special needs

Washington ground squirrels are found in shrub-steppe or grassland habitat. They occupy sites with deep, loose, sandy loam soil suitable for burrows and with abundant forbs. They require sufficient patch size to maintain a colony and corridors that provide connectivity between colonies. Populations do fluctuate, and conservation planning needs to maintain areas occupied at peak numbers. The role of isolated colonies is also important as insurance against disease outbreaks and refuges from wildfires.

Limiting factors

Habitat loss and fragmentation are the main factors limiting Washington ground squirrel populations.

Conservation actions

Maintain habitat patches. Restore habitat connectivity where possible. Consider translocations as a recovery tool for instances of management and conservation concern. Consider experimental habitat creation or restoration in appropriate locations and soil/vegetation types. Conduct invasive species management in shrub-steppe habitat.

Key reference or plan

USFWS Oregon Office Washington Ground Squirrel Profile