The California ground squirrel is the unsung hero of our grasslands. These industrious small mammals are ecological engineers, transforming the world around them with complex networks of underground burrows and manicuring the vegetation above ground. These burrows which can be compared to a 2000 sq ft house, just underground, provide many essential but out of view ecosystem services. Studies have found that a burrow system can support hundreds of other species including our endangered California tiger salamanders and California red-legged frogs, the charismatic burrowing owl, fence post lizards and a host of other native species. These burrows also replenish the ground water creating water highways that capture rain and direct it deep underground at a 20% higher rate than areas without burrows!