2014-2015 California Duck Stamp Art Contest Winner to be Chosen at Judging Event

The winning design for California’s 2014-2015 Duck Stamp will be selected at a judging event scheduled June 24 in Davis. Fourteen artists from around the country submitted original art for consideration for the stamp.

The contest, sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), required entrants to paint, draw or sketch the species chosen by the California Fish and Game Commission, which this year is the scaup.

The contest will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the CDFW Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Headquarters, 45211 County Rd 32B (Chiles Road) in Davis. The judges’ panel, which will consist of experts in the fields of ornithology, conservation, art and printing, will choose first, second, and third place winners and an honorable mention.

Since 1971, the California Duck Stamp Program’s annual contest has attracted top wildlife artists from around the country. All proceeds generated from stamp sales go directly to waterfowl conservation projects throughout California.

In past years, hunters were required to purchase and affix the stamp to their hunting license. California has moved to an automated licensing system and hunters are no longer required to carry the stamps in the field because proof of purchase prints directly onto the license. However, CDFW will still produce the stamps, which can be requested by interested individuals on CDFW’s website at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/collectorstamps/.

Contacts:
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958
Melanie Weaver, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3717

CDFW Completes 2014 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey

A mallard drake takes flight from calm waters

Mallard drake. Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed its 2014 waterfowl breeding population survey. The resulting data indicate the total number of breeding ducks (all species combined) remains similar to last year. The number of breeding mallards, however, has declined 20 percent compared to 2013.

The total number of breeding ducks is estimated at 448,750 compared to 451,300 last year. This estimate is 23 percent below the long-term average. The estimated breeding population of mallards is 238,700, a decrease from 298,600 in 2013, which is below the long-term average. CDFW attributes the decline to very low precipitation and poor habitat conditions. However, many other species increased in number this year.

“Habitat conditions were poor the last two years in both northeastern California and the Central Valley and the production of young ducks was reduced as a result, so a lower breeding population was expected in 2014,” said CDFW’s Waterfowl Program Biologist Melanie Weaver. “We would expect another low year of duck production from these two important areas in California in 2014. However, habitat conditions in northern breeding areas are reported to be better than average.”

CDFW has conducted this survey using fixed-wing aircraft since 1955. The California Waterfowl Association, under contract with CDFW, assists CDFW by surveying a portion of the transects using a helicopter. The population estimates are for the surveyed areas only, although surveyed areas include the majority of the suitable duck nesting habitat in the state. These areas 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 surveyed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Alaska and Canada, and these results should be available in July. CDFW survey information, along with similar data from other Pacific Flyway states, is used by the USFWS and the Pacific 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.

Media Contacts:
Melanie Weaver, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3717
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

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.

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