WRA Welcomes Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse Expert Katie Smith

Katie Smith, a leading expert in the salt marsh harvest mouse (SMHM), joins WRA, Inc. as a wildlife biologist. “We are thrilled to have Katie join our team and share her expertise in endangered species ecology, especially her expertise with the salt marsh harvest mouse and its critical habitat, to assist our clients with projects located in sensitive tidal marsh and shoreline areas in northern California,” said Geoff Smick, President.

Katie comes to WRA with more than a decade of experience including tenure at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and is finishing a PhD in Ecology at the University of California, Davis.  Katie also holds a master’s in biology from New Mexico State University and a bachelor’s in wildlife conservation from the University of California, Davis. She has partnered with CDFW on several projects for her graduate work, focusing on improved wetland management in the San Francisco Bay Estuary, particularly  conservation of the SMHM.

With WRA, Katie uses her extensive experience to foster a collaborative relationship among all stakeholders when it comes to conservation in San Francisco Bay ecosystems.  She is regarded as one of the leading authorities on the ecology of the SMHM and other rodents throughout the region. Her expertise is critical for evaluating the SMHM habitat and for understanding their behavior.

Katie is also active in the conservation community, serving on the board of The Western Section of the Wildlife Society and on several committees for the American Society of Mammalogists.  As a speaker, Katie is recognized for her research on SMHM at conferences at the international, national, and regional levels. Her presentations have earned awards including the 2017 Employee Excellence Award for Scientific Excellence from CDFW, and Best Oral Presentation by an Early Career Scientist at the 2017 CDFW Science Symposium. She is equally decorated on the academic front and has secured over $500,000 via fellowships with the University of California, Davis, Delta Science Council, and other research grants.  Katie has authored a number of SMHM publications and two were published in the August 2018 San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science journal (Towards Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse Recovery: Research Priorities and Towards Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse Recovery: A Review). Most recently, Katie had a SMHM article published in the California Waterfowl Magazine.

SMHM Capabilities

WRA works with public and private clients to offer a wide variety of biological, permitting, and construction phase services related to SMHM, including:

  • Habitat assessments
  • Section 7 permitting
  • Conservation measures to avoid and minimize species impacts
  • Habitat restoration design
  • Habitat modeling and mapping
  • Long-term monitoring of habitat restoration
  • UAV (drone) habitat mapping and analysis
  • Conservation bank development
  • Support for enhancement plans
  • Permit compliance guidance and construction monitoring
  • Environmental training for project staff


For more information about our services, please contact Rob Schell, Senior Wildlife Biologist.