CDFW Completes 2013 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey

Media Contacts:
Melanie Weaver, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3717
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed its 2013 waterfowl breeding population survey. The resulting data indicate the overall number of breeding ducks has decreased by 15 percent.

“Habitat conditions are poor in both northeastern California and the Central Valley, so below-average production for all waterfowl species is not a surprise,” said CDFW waterfowl program biologist Melanie Weaver.

Mallards, the most abundant duck in the survey, decreased 23 percent, from 387,100 in 2012 to 298,600 this year.

The total number of ducks of all species decreased from 529,700 last year to 451,300 this year. This estimate is 23 percent below the long-term average.

The decline was attributed to low precipitation, especially in the spring, with some areas only receiving 34 percent of average rainfall since Jan. 1.

CDFW biologists and warden-pilots have conducted this survey using fixed-wing aircraft since 1955. The California Waterfowl Association, under contract with CDFW, assists CDFW by surveying some transects by helicopter.

The population estimates are for surveyed areas only, although those areas include the majority of California’s suitable duck nesting habitat. They include wetland and agricultural areas in northeastern California, the Central Valley from Red Bluff to Bakersfield, and the Suisun Marsh.

The majority of California’s wintering duck population originates from breeding areas in Alaska and Canada that are surveyed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).The results from these surveys should be available in July. CDFW survey information, along with similar data from other Pacific Flyway states, is used by the USFWS and the Flyway Council when setting hunting regulations for the Pacific Flyway states, including California.

The federal regulation frameworks specify the outside dates, maximum season lengths and maximum bag limits. Once CDFW receives the USFWS estimates and the frameworks for waterfowl hunting regulations from the USFWS, CDFW will make a recommendation to the Fish and Game Commission regarding this year’s waterfowl hunting regulations.

DFG Completes 2012 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey

Contacts:
Melanie Weaver, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3717
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

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The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has completed its 2012 waterfowl breeding population survey. The results show that although the overall number of breeding ducks decreased, the number of mallards – the most abundant duck in the survey – increased 21 percent since last year.

“Surveys indicated an increase in mallard abundance and habitat conditions were good in most of northeastern California and good throughout the Central Valley, so we expect above-average production for all waterfowl species,” said DFG Waterfowl Program Biologist Melanie Weaver.

The total number of ducks (all species combined) decreased from 558,600 last year to 524,500 this year. The decline was attributed to lower numbers of gadwall and cinnamon teal. This estimate is 11 percent below the long-term average. The breeding population of mallards increased from 314,700 in 2011 to 381,900 this year. Mallard numbers are above their long-term average.

DFG biologists and pilots have conducted this annual survey using fixed-wing aircraft since 1955. The survey covers most of the suitable waterfowl nesting habitat in the state, including wetland and agricultural habitats in northeastern California, the Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley, Suisun Marsh, Napa-Sonoma Marshes, the Delta and some foothill areas.

Most of California’s wintering duck population originates from breeding areas surveyed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Alaska and Canada, and the results of those surveys should be available in July. DFG survey information, along with similar data from other Pacific Flyway states, is used by the USFWS when setting hunting season frameworks for regulations in California and other Pacific Flyway states.

The Federal regulation frameworks specify the earliest and latest permissible hunting dates, maximum season lengths and maximum bag limits. Once DFG receives the USFWS estimates and the frameworks for waterfowl hunting regulations from the USFWS, DFG will make a recommendation to the Fish and Game Commission (FGC) regarding this year’s waterfowl hunting regulations. The FGC traditionally sets waterfowl hunting regulations at their August meeting.

Oregon Wildlife Artist Wins 2011 California Duck Stamp Contest

Media Contacts:
Shannon Roberts, DFG Communications, (916) 323-1478
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

A painting of a male and female Barrow’s Goldeneye in a marine setting has been chosen by a panel of judges as the winning entry in the 2011 California Duck Stamp Contest. The painting by Shari Erickson of Beaver Creek, Ore., beat out 15 other entries to become the official design for the 2011-2012 stamp.

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“I absolutely love Barrow’s Goldeneye. They’re my favorite bird to paint, which is really what provoked me to enter this duck stamp contest,” Erickson said. A nature and wildlife artist since 1985, Erickson has been entering duck stamp contests since 2009. This is her first win.

Artists from around the country submitted entries for this year’s contest, sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Game. Robert Steiner of San Francisco took second place and Douglas Snyder of Chicago, Ill., took third. Honorable mentions were given to Tom Crain of Branson, Mo., and Clark Sullivan of Swartz Creek, Mich.

The judges noted that while all of the top entries were of extraordinary quality, the detailed and accurate marine habitat depicted in Erickson’s painting definitely gave it an “edge” over the competition.

All five paintings will be displayed at this year’s Pacific Flyway Decoy Association show in Sacramento, July 15-17.

Until implementation of the automated licensing system this year, waterfowl hunters were required to affix the annual state duck stamp to their licenses. The stamps will now be mailed, upon request, to license-holders at the end of the hunting season.

All proceeds generated by stamp sales are earmarked for waterfowl habitat conservation projects.

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