Tag Archives: public meeting

Joint Release of Federal Recovery Plan for Salmon and Steelhead and Conservation Strategy for California’s Ecosystem Restoration Program

noaa cdfw logos

SACRAMENO, Calif. – NOAA Fisheries and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today jointly released two plans to restore populations of salmon and steelhead in California’s Central Valley: NOAA Fisheries’ Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Plan and CDFW’s Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) Conservation Strategy.

The two plans are complementary in that CDFW’s conservation strategy presents a broader framework for restoring aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems throughout the Central Valley, while the federal recovery plan focuses on the recovery of endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, threatened Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, and threatened Central Valley steelhead.

A shared goal of both plans is to remove these species from federal and state lists of endangered and threatened species. The recovery plan provides a detailed road map for how to reach that goal. It lays out a science-based strategy for recovery and identifies the actions necessary to restore healthy salmon and steelhead populations to the Central Valley.

“Establishing clear priority watersheds, fish populations and actions is essential to achieve recovery,” said Maria Rea, NOAA Fisheries Assistant Regional Administrator for California’s Central Valley Office. “Implementation of this plan will depend on many parties working collaboratively to pool resources, expertise and programs to recover Chinook salmon and steelhead populations that are part of California’s natural heritage.“

Recovery plans required by the Endangered Species Act are guidance documents, not regulatory requirements, and their implementation depends on the voluntary cooperation of multiple stakeholders at the local, regional, state and national levels.

“The Sacramento Valley joins together a world-renowned mosaic of natural abundance: productive farmlands, meandering rivers that provide habitat and feed salmon and steelhead, wildlife refuges and managed wetlands, and cities and rural communities,” said David Guy, President of the Northern California Water Association. “The recovery plan is a positive step forward–through efficient management of the region’s water resources, water suppliers throughout the Sacramento Valley will continue to work with our conservation partners to help implement the recovery plan and improve ecological conditions in the Sacramento River for multiple species and habitat values.”

The ERP conservation strategy was developed by CDFW collaboratively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries to help guide environmental restoration and establish adaptive management to improve restoration success in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its watershed. The approach of conservation strategy is to restore or mimic ecological processes and to improve aquatic and terrestrial habitats to support stable, self-sustaining populations of diverse and valuable species.

“It is critical we make strategic investments in our natural resources,” said Charlton H. Bonham, Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “The funding of these high-priority restoration projects is not only an example of the coordinated effort between state and federal governments, but an example of California’s continued efforts to minimize the effects of drought on fish and wildlife. Central Valley salmon and steelhead deserve nothing less.

California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.’s 2014-15 budget provided CDFW with $38 million to implement enhanced salmon monitoring, restore sensitive habitat, improve water infrastructure for wildlife refuges, expand the fisheries restoration grant program, and remove barriers for fish passage. Some of that money will be used on projects recommended by the federal recovery plan.

Dick Pool of the Golden Gate Salmon Association said, “We thank and congratulate the scientists of NOAA Fisheries for their outstanding work in developing the Central Valley Recovery Plan. GGSA and the salmon industry particularly appreciate the fact that the plan includes both short range and long range actions that can reverse the serious salmon and steelhead population declines. GGSA has identified a number of the same projects as needing priority action. We also commend the agency for its diligent efforts to engage the other fishery agencies, the water agencies and the salmon stakeholders in the process. We look forward to assisting in finding ways to get the critical projects implemented.”

The federal recovery plan and state conservation strategy work together as a blueprint of how at-risk species can be restored to sustainable levels.Restoring healthy, viable salmon and steelhead runs will preserve and enhance the commercial, recreational and cultural opportunities for future generations. As the fish populations grow and recover, so too will the economic benefits and long-term fishing opportunities for everyone.

“The Recovery Plan provides a clear framework to better coordinate and align restoration projects in the Delta, the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and their tributaries to achieve greater conservation outcomes,” said Jay Ziegler, Director of External Affairs and Policy for The Nature Conservancy. “We are pleased to see the integration of multiple habitat values in the Plan including the importance of expanding lateral river movements to enhance floodplain habitat and recognition of the importance of variable flow regimes to benefit multiple species.”

The development of a recovery plan is an important part in the successful rebuilding of a species because it incorporates information from a multitude of interested parties including scientific researchers, stakeholders and the general public. Since 2007, NOAA Fisheries has held 14 public workshops, produced a draft for public comment, and met with strategic stakeholders to guide the plan’s development and ensure a comprehensive and useful document.

CDFW will be investing considerable resources in improving water conservation on public wildlife refuges in the Central Valley and protecting important salmon stocks that contribute to the state’s fishery. The department has also recently released a restoration grant solicitation which includes salmon and steelhead watersheds in the Central Valley. The solicitation can be found here. Applications are being accepted until August 12, 2014.

More on the NOAA Fisheries Recovery Plan and the CDFW Ecosystem Restoration Program

Contact:
Jim Milbury, NOAA Fisheries Communications, (562) 980-4006
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Communications, (916) 651-7824

CDFW to Hold Public Meetings on Proposed Low-Flow Closure of the Russian River

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold two public meetings to discuss the proposed low-flow closure changes to the Russian River and North Central Coast streams.

The first meeting is Wednesday, July 30 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, 5550 Skylane Blvd., Suite A, in Santa Rosa. The second meeting is Thursday, July 31 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Gualala Community Center, 47950 Center St. in Gualala near the intersection of Center Street and South Highway 1.

A CDFW representative will detail the proposed regulation changes. Following the short presentation, interested parties can make comments and provide input that will help shape CDFW’s final recommendation to the Fish and Game Commission, which CDFW anticipates presenting at the Commission’s meeting in Van Nuys in December.

The Russian River and other North Central Coast streams provide critical life-stage habitat for coastal Chinook salmon, coho salmon and steelhead trout. All three of these species are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Coho salmon is also listed under the California ESA.

CDFW is preparing regulatory changes for Title 14, Chapter 3, Article 4, section 8, part (b) to add low-flow fish restrictions to the Russian River and base the closure of North Central Coast streams on one or more stream gauges on rivers that are more representative of these North Central Coast streams than the current regulated flows of the Russian River. These proposed regulatory actions are based upon fishery impact concerns that have arisen during the past three years of drought conditions. During the past two winters, salmon entering these streams were forced to congregate into the remaining pools below restricted passage areas, and then were subject to heavy angling pressure. In both years the Russian River and North Central Coast streams have dropped to mere trickles, yet have remained open to fishing till an emergency closure was enacted by the Fish and Game Commission in February 2014. This emergency action expired on April 30, 2014.

The two public meetings are being led by CDFW to solicit public comments regarding the regulatory changes that are proposed to protect these ESA-listed fish while still providing sport fishing opportunities. In addition to these public meetings, individuals and organizations may submit comments in writing. The written comments can be sent by email to ryan.watanabe@wildlife.ca.gov, or by mail addressed to CDFW, Bay Delta Region, Attn: Ryan Watanabe, 5355 B Skylane Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95403.

 

Media Contacts:
Ryan Watanabe, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (707) 576-2815
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW to Host Public Meeting Regarding Pacific Halibut Management

A young blonde woman standing on a dock holds a large Pacific halibut.
CDFW scientific aid takes data from a Pacific halibut. Ed Roberts/CDFW photo

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites the public to attend an informational meeting Monday, June 2 to discuss Pacific halibut management in California.

The meeting is scheduled from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the City of Eureka Wharfinger Building in the Bay Room, located at 1 Marina Way in Eureka.

The meeting will provide information on recent Pacific halibut management and science, and include a discussion on recreational fishery management measures for 2015. The public is encouraged to provide input to managers and representatives that will assist in the development of future Pacific halibut management for 2015 and beyond.

Pacific halibut fishing regulations are developed through a collaborative regulatory process involving the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the National Marine Fisheries Service, other West Coast states, the Fish and Game Commission and the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

Please visit the CDFW website for more details regarding Pacific halibut management: www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/pacifichalibut.asp.

Media Contacts:
Deb Wilson-Vandenberg, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-2892
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191

Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project Under Way With Public Input

Public Invited to Submit Comments on the Scope of Environmental Documents

The California Department of Fish & Game (DFG) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have begun the process of developing environmental reviews for the restoration of the Ballona Wetlands in west Los Angeles County. The documents will review potential designs for the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve and evaluate their likely impacts on wildlife, water pollution, local traffic and other factors.  The public is encouraged to submit suggestions for the environmental review at a scoping meeting planned for August 16, 2012.

The Ballona Wetlands was at one time a large wetland complex that covered more than 2,000 acres along the coast near Los Angeles, from Playa del Rey to Venice. Today, the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve encompasses 600 acres owned by the State of California and offers one of the largest opportunities for repairing lost coastal wetlands in Los Angeles County. The site contains important habitat and is identified as a high priority for restoration in the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Plan and the regional strategy of the Southern California Wetland Recovery Project.

The area is currently off-limits to the public. After restoration, the site will be open to residents and visitors for walking, biking, birdwatching and learning about nature. The project may involve removing the concrete levees on Ballona Creek to restore river and marsh habitat between Marina del Rey and the Westchester Bluffs, west of Lincoln Boulevard.  Due to construction costs logistics and wildlife management needs, the project would take several years to build even after it is approved.

DFG and the Corps will hold a scoping meeting on Thursday, August 16, from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at the Fiji Gateway entrance to the Ballona Wetlands (13720 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292. The site is across from Fisherman’s Village and the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors).

Members of the public are invited to attend, speak to agency representatives and provide input for the environmental review. The agencies expect to examine the impacts to aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, water quality, land use and planning, noise, public services, recreation, sea-level rise, traffic and others.

Written comments on the scope of environmental review, or additional issues may be submitted at the scoping meeting or sent to the address listed below. Comments will be accepted until September 10, 2012

Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project
C/O Donna McCormick
1 Ada, Suite 100
Irvine, CA  92816 or by email to Donna.McCormick@icfi.com

Additional information on the project and the environmental review process is available on the Ballona Wetlands Restoration website at: www.ballonarestoration.org.

Media Contacts:
David Lawhead, DFG Region 5, (858) 627-3997
Donna McCormick, ICF International, (949) 333-6611
Dr. Daniel P. Swenson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, (213) 452-3414

DFG to Hold Public Meeting on Pacific Halibut Management

Media Contacts:
Deb Wilson-Vandenberg, DFG Marine Region, (831) 649-2892
Carrie Wilson, DFG Communications, (831) 649-7191
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) invites the public to attend a meeting to discuss the management of California’s Pacific halibut fisheries. The meeting will be held on May 16, 2012 at the Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation and Conservation District Conference Room, 601 Startare Drive in Eureka, from 6 to 8 p.m.

DFG staff will provide current information on Pacific halibut management and ocean fisheries in California, and will discuss the possible need for changes in the recreational fishery in 2013. The public is encouraged to provide input to managers and representatives which will aid in the development of future Pacific halibut management.

Pacific halibut fishing regulations are developed through a collaborative process involving DFG, the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Fish and Game Commission, the International Pacific Halibut Commission, the states of Oregon and Washington, and the public.

When additional information becomes available on proposed regulation changes, or other opportunities arise for public comment regarding Pacific halibut, DFG will post details on its website at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/groundfishcentral.

DFG Holds Public Meetings on Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan Process

Media Contacts:
Carrie Wilson, DFG Communications, (831) 649-7191
Mary Patyten, DFG Marine Region, (707) 964-5026

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) will be holding two public meetings to share information about the Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan (FMP) process. The meetings, which will be held in Oxnard and Carlsbad, will provide the public and interested organizations with an opportunity to learn more about DFG’s plans to develop a comprehensive Spiny Lobster FMP.

DFG photo by Dianna Porzio

The public feedback from these meetings will help inform the Spiny Lobster FMP process and aid in the plan’s development.

“The spiny lobster is a prime candidate for an FMP,” said Senior Biologist Kristine Barsky, who will coordinate the FMP process. Barsky has worked predominantly with invertebrate species such as lobster during her 37 years with DFG’s Marine Region.

The Spiny Lobster FMP is being developed in accordance with the Marine Life Management Act of 1998, as the spiny lobster supports important commercial and recreational fisheries and plays a key role in the Southern California kelp forest ecosystem.

“DFG is committed to making this process transparent, objective and accessible to all, with the goal of completing an adaptable FMP that will ensure a sustainable lobster resource and healthy fisheries,” said Barsky.

The agenda is identical for both public meetings so interested parties need only attend one meeting. Members of the public can provide comments in person at either of the following locations and times:

Oxnard: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Open house begins at 6 p.m.
Public meeting will be held from 6:30-9 p.m.
Oxnard Performing Arts and Convention Center
Ventura Room
800 Hobson Way
Oxnard, CA 93030
www.oxnardpacc.com/directions.html

Carlsbad: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Open house begins at 6 p.m.
Public meeting will be held from 6:30-9 p.m.
Grand Pacific Palisades Hotel
Grand Ballroom
5805 Armada Drive
Carlsbad, CA 92008
www.grandpacificpalisades.com/map-directions

Written comments may also be submitted after the meetings, either by e-mail through the Lobster FMP web site (www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/lobsterfmp/) or by regular mail to:

Department of Fish and Game
Attn: Lobster FMP
1933 Cliff Drive, Suite 9
Santa Barbara, CA 93109

For more information about these meetings, the Spiny Lobster FMP process or to be added to the list server, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/lobsterfmp/.

Individuals who cannot receive e-mail may sign up to receive the Lobster FMP news notices via mail. Please contact Rosalyn McFarland at (805) 568-1231 to provide your mailing address.

DFG to Host Public Meeting on Salmon

Media Contacts:
James Phillips, DFG Marine Region, (707) 576-2375
Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) invites the public to attend its annual salmon status update and outlook meeting in February. The outlook for 2012 ocean and river fisheries will also be discussed.

This year’s meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 28  from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd. in Santa Rosa.

The meeting will provide the latest information on California salmon escapement in 2011 and the outlook for sport and commercial ocean salmon fisheries in the coming season. The public is encouraged to provide input to a panel of California salmon scientists, managers and representatives, many of whom will be directly involved in the upcoming Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings in March and April.

Salmon fishing seasons are developed through a collaborative regulatory process involving the Council, the California Fish and Game Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service. The input will help California representatives negotiate a broad range of season alternatives at the Council meeting during the March 2-7 meeting in Sacramento.

The 2012 Salmon Information Meeting marks the beginning of the two-month long public management and regulatory process used to establish this year’s sport and commercial ocean salmon fishing seasons. A list of additional meetings and other opportunities for public comment is available on the ocean salmon webpage, http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/salmonpreseason.asp.

The meeting agenda and handouts will also be posted online as soon as they are finalized.

DFG to Hold Public Scoping Meetings on Proposed Trail at North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve

Media Contacts:
Bruce Forman, Interpretive Services, (916) 358-2353
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

Yellow-flowered meadow in front of green meadow, few trees and Mt. Lassen in the distance.
Table Mountain ER

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) will host two meetings in Butte County to take public input on the future of North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve. DFG staff will provide an overview of a proposed trail at this ecological reserve and then give the public an opportunity to express their interests and concerns about it. Current and prospective users of the Reserve are both welcome.

The public meetings will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21 at the Centennial Cultural Room, 1931 Arlin Rhine Memorial Drive in downtown Oroville and Tuesday, Nov. 22 at the Chico Creek Nature Center, 1968 East 8th Street in Chico.

This Reserve, which now has no trails, is managed by DFG for the protection of native plants and animals, and for public use and appreciation. It includes annual grasslands, vernal pools, creeks, waterfalls, rocky outcrops and cliffs, and is currently open daily to the public, but has no trails.

The proposed trail will first undergo various surveys and analyses under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), planned for 2012. Those will be followed by a Notice of Determination that is expected to go out for public review during late summer 2012. DFG does not plan to close access to other sections of the Reserve.

For more information please contact Bruce Foreman at (916) 358-2353 or bforman@dfg.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.

Public Meeting on Salmon and Steelhead to be Held on May 18

two salmon, underwater, close-up
American River Salmon

Media Contacts:
Kim Howlett, DFG Fisheries Branch, (916) 445-3935
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) will hold a meeting of the California Advisory Committee on Salmon and Steelhead in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 18. This meeting, hosted by the Fisheries Restoration Grant Program, is open to the public.

The Committee will discuss the Fisheries Restoration Grants Program, pending legislation regarding salmon and steelhead, AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards, and the status of the species in the Klamath, Shasta and Scott rivers.

An update on the Sacramento River System and Delta will include the Central Valley Steelhead Monitoring and Implementation Plan, the Draft Delta Plan III and the Trinity River watershed.

The public will have an opportunity to speak before the vote on each action item. The chair may limit speaking time.

The meeting will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the DFG Fisheries Conference Room at 830 S St., Sacramento (95811). Street parking is available. People on the north coast may participate by conference call from the DFG Coastal Watershed Planning and Assessment Office at 1455 Sandy Prairie Court, Fortuna (95540).

For more information please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/news/pubnotice/.

Restoring anadromous salmon and steelhead habitat is a commitment this program and partners have embraced. With the populations of some salmon at critically low levels, there are many opportunities for restoration projects that will directly benefit the salmon and steelhead trout in California.