New Website Highlights Potential Restoration Alternatives at Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, State Coastal Conservancy and the Annenberg Foundation today announced a joint website to provide an initial outline of potential restoration alternatives at Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve on the Los Angeles County coast. The website builds on a prior site, and also features scientific studies, history of meetings and information about the wetlands.

The website, ballonarestoration.org, provides an early overview of proposed alternatives that will be presented in a draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) that is anticipated to be released before the end of 2014. Upon release, interested parties and members of the public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the EIR/EIS.

Because this website precedes the EIR/EIS, the proposed alternatives are subject to change. The state and private partners created the site to provide as much information as possible to interested parties.

In January 2013, the Annenberg Foundation entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the aforementioned state partners that proposes to enhance the state’s existing goal of establishing Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve as a thriving wildlife habitat and an outdoor education destination for local communities.

Media Contacts:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

CDFW Celebrates 10 Years of Landmark Environmental Law

Media Contacts:
Dr. Brenda Johnson, Habitat Conservation Planning, (916) 653-0835
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

rolling hills and sparse oak woodland behind a field of poppies and native grasses

Hidden Falls Park near Auburn, CA. Loren Clark photo.

vernal pool in a green and yellow grassland under a cloudy sky

Vernal pool near Sheridan, CA. Loren Clark photo

Highway interchange under construction

Palm Drive Interchange, a NCCP project in southern California.

Tall, red-flowering shrub in dry rocky landscape and hills.

Petroglyph Trail in April. Bill Halvert photo

The Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP) Act of 2003 is 10

Small reservoir with Mt. Diablo in a beautiful orange sunrise

Marsh Creek Reservoir in east Contra Costa County. Kristin McCleary photo

years old and the organizations that make it work commend its value and effectiveness. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and its partners, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and members of the California Habitat Conservation Planning Coalition, celebrate what they have accomplished since the Legislature passed the NCCP Act of 2003.

This environmental act is the only state law in the nation designed to actively protect ecosystems using a science-based, stakeholder-driven approach. Natural Community Conservation Plans balance the conservation and long-term management of diverse plant and animal species with compatible, economically beneficial land uses.

“These plans create ‘win-win’ situations by permanently protecting vast regions of habitat while streamlining the permitting process for carefully sited development and infrastructure projects,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “They also ensure the process is open to public input.”

To date, nine large, regional plans have been approved through the CDFW NCCP Program. Together they will permanently protect more than two million acres of wildlife habitat. More than one million acres have already been protected in reserves. Seventeen other plans that will protect millions of additional acres of habitat are now being prepared. These 26 plans specifically identify more than 700 species of plants and animals, and many unique natural communities, for conservation in perpetuity. CDFW has helped direct more than $254 million in federal funds to NCCP reserve land acquisition and more than $27 million for plan preparation. California has also provided nearly $12 million to help local organizations and agencies implement approved plans.

Information on the success of NCCPs in California and regional habitat conservation planning in general can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/habcon/nccp and www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/hcp-overview.html.

Wildlife Conservation Board funds environmental improvement and acquisition projects

Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, WCB Executive Director, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

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At its Sept. 4 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $8.6 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 10 funded projects will provide benefits to fish and wildlife – including some endangered species – while others will provide the public with access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, land owners and the local community. The funds for all these projects come from bond initiatives approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Some of the funded projects include:

  • A $172,000 grant to the Tehama County Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with the landowners and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to initiate planning, design, and environmental review on two ranches in Tehama County: the Leininger Ranch and the C&R Ranch, approximately 10 miles east and 17 miles west of the City of Corning, respectively.
  • A $1.4 million grant to the River Partners for a cooperative project with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Department of Water Resources and others to restore approximately 599 acres of riparian habitat at the confluence of the Tuolumne and San Joaquin rivers in Stanislaus County.
  • A $3 million grant for a cooperative project with the River Partners, Department of Water Resources and the Packard Foundation, to acquire in fee approximately 466 acres of valley floodplain and riverine habitat for protection of threatened and endangered species located approximately 10 miles west of the City of Modesto, just south of the confluence of the Tuolumne and San Joaquin rivers, in Stanislaus County.
  • A $1 million grant to the River Partners for a cooperative project with the City of San Diego to restore approximately 100 acres of riparian and oak woodland habitat on City of San Diego property just upstream of Lake Hodges, near Escondido in San Diego County.

For more information about the WCB please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

DFG to Hold Public Meeting on Coho Salmon

Media Contacts:
Neil Manji, DFG Northern Regional Manager, (530) 225-2363
Jordan Traverso, DFG Communications, (916) 654-9937

One juvenile coho salmon swims above rocks in Northern California stream.

Juvenile coho salmon

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) will be in Fort Jones on August 16 to discuss coho salmon in the Shasta and Scott valleys. A community meeting will be held that day from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Fort Jones Community Center on 11960 East Street. DFG will provide an update on the status of coho salmon and request that certain landowners temporarily reduce diversion amounts to maintain water for rearing coho at strategic locations.

Although this past spring and early summer were unusually wet, stream conditions in key locations of the Shasta and Scott river watersheds important to rearing coho salmon are deteriorating.

Coho salmon in the Shasta and Scott River watersheds are currently listed as a “Threatened” species under the Federal and State Endangered Species Acts. Biologists have been monitoring coho salmon populations in the Shasta and Scott rivers since 2001 and results indicate precipitous declines in their numbers.

Coho salmon must stay in fresh water for approximately 18 months before entering the ocean to grow and mature. Young coho salmon need cold well-oxygenated water to survive as well as the ability to move from one location to another as conditions change.

In 2011, more than 800 coho salmon spawned in the Scott River and its tributaries. This represents the largest adult returns in some time, as well as strong juvenile production. Protecting these fish is an essential step in recovering the species.

For the past several weeks, DFG has been performing annual fish rescue activities by removing coho and other fish species from drying sections of streambed and relocating them. So far this season, 2,885 coho salmon have been captured and relocated from Kidder and Patterson creeks. DFG staff believes fish rescue will be required in other tributaries of the Scott and Shasta rivers unless additional water for these fish is made available.

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