The NAFHA California Chapter reigns over the entire state of California. California contains 163,696 square miles and is the third-largest U.S. state, behind only Alaska and Texas. Our state is one of the most diverse areas of the North American continent in terms of herp habitat, with geography that includes the Pacific coast on the west, the Sierra Nevada mountains in the east, the Mojave and Colorado deserts in the southeast and the great Redwood and Douglas Fir forests in the northwest. The center of the state is dominated by the Central Valley which is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. California is also home to both the highest and lowest points in the contiguous United States, represented by Mt. Whitney at an elevation of 14,505 feet and the Badwater Basin in Death Valley at a negative elevation of 282 feet below sea level. Although California is generally thought of as being a hot arid region, nearly 40% of the state is forested.
As one would expect from such a diverse geography, California is also rich in herpetofauna diversity. Our region is home to 172 herpetological species which total 240 forms (species & subspecies), 65 of which are endemic to California.
Although we enjoy a great diversity of reptiles and amphibians in California, we also have the largest human population in the country. In some areas of our state the human impact on herp environments and habitats has been devastating, and remains a serious concern for the future. It is this concern that has inspired many of our California Chapter members to take advantage of opportunities to get involved with land managers, conservancies and state agencies in order to do whatever we can to promote better understanding and management of our native California herpetofauna. NAFHA California Chapter member involvement in projects such as the Tejon Ranch Conservancy, the Escondido Creek Conservancy, the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, and the California Amphibian and Reptile Species of Special Concern program, as well as the individual efforts of members to educate the public about our native wildlife and the importance of conservation, stand as a testament to the enthusiasm and dedication of our members towards achieving the goals of the NAFHA.
As is true with all other regional NAFHA chapters, the majority of our California Chapter members are amateur herpetologists and citizen scientists who dedicate much of their recreational time to searching for amphibians and reptiles in the field and documenting information for the HERP database. However, our California Chapter membership also boasts some heavy credentials with members who are professional herpetologists, field biologists, research biologists, biology teachers, authors of herp-related books, and webmasters of informative herp-related web sites.
2016 NAFHA California Chapter Board of Directors
President: Brian Hinds (Fundad)
Vice President: Matthew Gruen (mattg)
Conservation Officer: Lawrence Erickson (Calfirecap)
Education Specialist: Jeff Nordland (SurfinHerp)
Secretary: Derek Holt (El Garia)
International Board Members: John Lauermann (Ricrabt), Brian Hinds (Fundad)
Brian Hinds 2012-Present
Kent Vansooy 2009-2011
Jeff Lemm 2006-2008
California Chapter Record Count by County
Click here to view the current HERP record totals for the SoCal Chapter