CDFW News has moved!

Dear readers,

We recently moved the CDFW News blog to our website at If you previously subscribed to receive new posts by email, you’ll continue to receive them. (If you’d like to unsubscribe, you’ll find a link at the bottom of the next email message.)

We plan to leave the previous three years’ posts here on WordPress as a public archive.

Thanks for joining us!

-Angela Barlow, CDFW Webmaster

Owens Pupfish Given New Chance

A species of fish once declared extinct has not only survived but is expected to thrive thanks to a five-year effort to restore habitat and translocate more than 700 Owens pupfish.

In early April biologists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Reno Office (USFWS) moved the pupfish from five different habitats in the Owens Valley to the River Spring Lakes Ecological Reserve in Mono County. These fish, once surviving in under an acre of habitat, now have several square miles of marsh to live in. Prior to the translocation, CDFW completed the removal of non-native fish from the reserve to ensure the future of the pupfish.

“This release represents the culmination of years of dedication and hard work by numerous former and current biologists,” said CDFW Fisheries Supervisor Russell Black. “This population will become the largest and most genetically fit population of Owens pupfish since World War I and is a great victory for conserving the species.”

“The translocation of a mix of Owens pupfish from five other populations to this new habitat creates optimism that the future for pupfish is bright,” said Marc Jackson, USFWS field supervisor. “Partners in the Owens pupfish recovery effort are planning additional translocation projects to restore them to more sites within their historic range.” 

CDFW biologists Nick Buckmaster and Rosa Cox, along with USFWS biologists Kaylan Hager and Andy Starostka spent two days trapping, measuring and collecting Owens pupfish from the five extant populations. Once the desired number of males and females were gathered at each site, the pupfish began their hour-long trip to their new home. Buckmaster, the project’s leader, recently revisited the reserve to check the progress of the fish and was pleased with what he found.

“They’re spawning successfully,” said Buckmaster. “This introduction is an important step toward securing Owens pupfish against extinction and ensuring the continued existence of one of the most imperiled fish species in North America.”

Imperiled is a fitting word when describing the Owens pupfish. The species was declared extinct in 1940, then rediscovered in 1964 near Bishop only to face extinction again in 1969 when legendary fishery biologist Phil Pister saved the pupfish days before their habitat would dry up. Buckmaster says Pister’s essay on the subject titled ‘Species in a Bucket’ is commonly read by biology students and one of the most downloaded articles from Natural History Magazine.

“Since 1969, the species has been on life support, tenuously occupying a couple acres of habitat,” said Buckmaster. “This restoration provides the first opportunity for us to introduce Owens pupfish into habitat that is both stable enough to support them for the long haul and large enough to support a robust population in 100 years. This is a major win for a decades-long project to rescue Owens pupfish from extinction.”


Media Contact:
Tim Daly, CDFW Communications, (916) 201-2958

CDFW Recognizes California Invasive Species Action Week

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is inviting all Californians to learn about – and join the fight against – harmful non-native plants and animals that threaten our state’s natural resources.

The eighth annual California Invasive Species Action Week (#CISAW) runs from Saturday, June 5 through Sunday, June 13, 2021. Historically, agencies, non-profits and volunteer organizations across the state have teamed up to host events for CISAW. This year features both in-person and virtual events including webinars, videos and Facebook live events. Please visit to view the schedule.

All Californians can help stop the spread of invasive species by taking small, everyday actions, such as landscaping with native plants, not releasing unwanted pets into the wild, reporting invasive species findings, and cleaning, draining and drying gear when recreating in bodies of water. The Action Week website lists simple actions Californians can take all year long while visiting natural areas, boating or fishing, or at home.  

Additionally, the winners of CDFW’s annual California Invasive Species Youth Art Contest will be announced on social media during CISAW. The theme of this year’s contest was “Be an Invasive Species Detective!” 

The mission of CDFW’s Invasive Species Program is to reduce the impacts of invasive species on the wildlands and waterways of California. The program is involved in efforts to prevent the introduction of these species into the state, detect and respond to introductions when they occur and prevent the spread of those species that have established.  For questions or more information about CISAW, please contact

Photo credit: Friends of Five Creeks


Media Contacts
Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 825-7120 
Elizabeth Brusati, CDFW Invasive Species Program  

June 2021 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

All calendar items are subject to change as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to adhere to all safety protocols including physical distancing, wearing masks and frequent hand washing.

Wildlife areas, ecological reserves and other properties may be closed due to wildfire damage. Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to check for closures before leaving on any recreational trip.

Various Days — Bat Talk and Walk Events, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, 45211 County Road 32 B, Davis (95618). Did you know that an estimated 250,000 bats live under the Yolo Causeway during the summer? Yolo Basin Foundation hosts popular Bat Talk and Walk events where you can learn all about these amazing and beneficial animals and watch the “flyout” of the largest urban colony of Mexican free-tailed bats in California! This summer, the talk portion will be held via Zoom and the walk portion will be an in-person event to view the flyout from under the Yolo Causeway at sunset. These events are held on various dates from June to September. For more information and to register, please visit

Various Days — Nimbus Hatchery Virtual Tot Time, 10 to 10:30 a.m. June 8, 15, 22 and 29. The popular story time program hosted by Nimbus Hatchery is back in a virtual format! Join us for nature-themed stories, songs, dancing and more! These free events are designed for ages 3-5. To register, please visit For more information, please contact Stephanie Ambrosia at or (916) 597-7752. 

1 — Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Closes Statewide, pursuant to the Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program (Section 132.8, Title 14, CCR). All commercial Dungeness crab gear must be removed from ocean waters by 12 p.m. (noon) on June 1. This closure does not apply to other commercial crab fisheries (e.g., rock crab) or to the recreational crab fishery. More information is available at

1 — California Grunion Season Opens. For more information, please visit

1 & 3 — Bat Talk and Walk Volunteer Training. You can get involved as a volunteer and view the bats of the Yolo Causeway several times throughout your summer! There are various volunteer positions available, both in-person and from home, and trainings to prepare you. Please visit to apply to volunteer.

2 — Big Game Drawing Deadline. The deadline to submit applications for elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and premium deer tags is June 2. Sales transactions must be completed before midnight. Hunters may apply at a CDFW license agent, online at or through telephone sales at (800) 565-1458. For more information, please visit

5 — Discovery Lab: Seeds! 1 to 2 p.m. Explore seeds up close in this virtual, livestreamed microscope lab. Reserve naturalists will share a sampling of native and invasive seeds found in California and highlight their unique adaptations for survival. This event is free and will be livestreamed to the Elkhorn Slough Reserve Facebook page. For details on how to view, please visit

5-13 — California Invasive Species Action Week. Everyone can help stop the spread of invasive species that damage California’s natural resources and economy. While most activities remain virtual this year, there is a schedule of lunchtime webinars and opportunities at to learn about actions you can take all year long. Students in grades 8 and higher can visit the Back Bay Science Center’s website at to participate in a Citizen Science project and virtual activity on aquatic invasive species. Watch CDFW’s Facebook page at all week for more information and helpful tips.

6 — Great Yolo Causeway Bat Count, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, 45211 County Road 32 B, Davis (95618). Would you like to volunteer to help with this annual daytime count of one of the largest bat roosts in California? Your efforts will build on our population monitoring program and increase our knowledge of the ecology of this colony of insect-eating Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis). All activities will be outdoors. Updates and logistical details will be sent to participants in the coming weeks and the tasks and teams will be finalized as the date draws closer. Several Zoom orientations will be offered in advance to make sure all your questions are answered. Please visit to sign up.

7 — Lost or Abandoned Commercial Dungeness Crab Trap Gear Retrieval Program Begins. Pursuant to the CDFW Director’s May 18, 2021 declaration, lost or abandoned commercial Dungeness crab trap gear can be retrieved under the Trap Gear Retrieval Program (Section 132.7, Title 14, CCR) beginning at 12 p.m. (noon) on June 7, 2021 until September 30, 2021. CDFW is currently accepting applications from qualified entities (sport or commercial fishing associations, harbors, port districts and non-profits). Program participants can receive compensation for retrieved gear from either the original owner or CDFW. More information is available at

10 — Invasive Species Webinar, 10 to 10:45 a.m. Find out what an invasive species is and how to fight back against its spread in this free Zoom webinar presented by the Nimbus Hatchery. To register, please visit For more information, please contact Stephanie Ambrosia at or (916) 597-7752. 

16— Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Applications on Sale for Fall Elk Hunts. Ninety-two SHARE elk tags will be available during 60 elk hunts offered through the SHARE program. An $11.50 non-refundable application fee (plus handling fees) will be charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit

16-17 — California Fish and Game Commission Meeting, time to be determined. The meeting is to be held via webinar/teleconference due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit

26  Recreational Ocean Salmon Season Opens from Point Arena to Pigeon Point. For more information, please visit the Ocean Salmon webpage at or call either the CDFW Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (800) 662-9825.

26 — Aquatic WILD Virtual Workshop, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This one-day workshop for elementary school teachers takes a deep dive into aquatic habitats and their animals! Participants leave with the Aquatic Wild guide to hundreds of fun and engaging lessons and activities and skills to lead field investigations at their school or on the Elkhorn Slough Reserve. This workshop is free, but registration is required. For more details and to register, please visit

29  Recreational Ocean Salmon Season Opens from the Oregon/California State Line to Point Arena. For more information, please visit the Ocean Salmon webpage at or call either the CDFW Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (800) 662-9825.


Media Contact:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8907

Disease Outbreak at Hot Creek Trout Hatchery Halts Fish Planting by Mono County Facility

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has suspended all fish planting from the Hot Creek Trout Hatchery in Mono County as a bacterial outbreak has been detected at the facility.

Fish pathology experts have confirmed an outbreak of Lactococcus garvieae in some trout at the hatchery. CDFW has quarantined the facility, halted all fish planting, and is preparing to expand testing and vaccinate the fish stocks. Lactococcus garvieae is the same disease that forced the quarantine and suspension of fish planting last year at three other CDFW trout hatcheries in Southern California and the eastern Sierra – the Mojave River Hatchery, Black Rock Trout Hatchery and Fish Springs Trout Hatchery. That outbreak ultimately forced the euthanization of 3.2 million trout at those hatcheries.

“Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t be worse with the holiday weekend coming up, Mule Days taking place in Bishop and a lot of people coming to fish the eastern Sierra this time of year,” said Jay Rowan, Acting Fisheries Branch Chief for CDFW. “We don’t yet know the extent of the outbreak at Hot Creek Hatchery, but we do have the advantage of some additional tools in our toolbox now versus a year ago, including recently developed vaccines that we started rolling out to fish at the three previously infected hatcheries earlier this month.”

The outbreak of Lactococcus garvieae, which is similar to streptococcus, has been reported in cattle and poultry farms as well as fresh and saltwater fish and shellfish hatcheries around the world. It had never before been detected in fish in California until the hatchery outbreaks last year. Hot Creek Trout Hatchery was originally quarantined with the other three hatcheries last year out of caution, but the quarantine was lifted after testing found no evidence of the disease.

Fish that are infected with Lactococcus garvieae can show symptoms including bulging eyes, lethargic or erratic swimming and increased mortality, or be asymptomatic and show no signs of infection depending on a several factors including water temperature and stress. Fish-to-human transmission of this bacteria is rare and unlikely but there are several documented instances associated with immunocompromised people consuming infected raw fish and unpasteurized milk products.

CDFW’s Hot Creek Trout Hatchery is located in Mammoth Lakes and raises four species of trout – rainbow trout, brown trout, Eagle Lake trout and Lahontan cutthroat trout – for recreational fishing. Fish from the hatchery are stocked in Mono and Inyo counties.

For real-time stocking updates, California anglers can refer to CDFW’s Fish Planting Schedule. This schedule is updated directly by CDFW hatchery staff. Although it contains current information, all fish plants are subject to change depending on road, water, weather and operational conditions.

For additional information, please see CDFW’s frequently asked questions about the L. garvieae outbreak. Also, members of the public can email questions to


Media Contacts:
Jay Rowan, CDFW Hatchery Program, (916) 212-3165
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 215-3858