California Fish and Game Commission Adopts Master Plan for Fisheries, Endorses Ocean Litter Strategy, Announces Prosecutor of the Year and Approves Duck Stamp Projects at June Meeting

At its June 2018 meeting in Sacramento, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) took action on a number of issues affecting California’s natural resources.

The Commission voted unanimously to adopt the 2018 Master Plan for Fisheries: A Guide for Implementation of the Marine Life Management Act. The plan advances comprehensive marine ecosystem management using the best available science, meeting stock sustainability and ecosystem objectives, integrating Marine Protected Areas into fisheries management, engaging stakeholders, collaborating with partners, advancing socioeconomic and community objectives, and adapting to climate change.

With a unanimous vote, the Commission endorsed the California Ocean Protection Council’s 2018 California Ocean Litter Prevention Strategy. The document provides a holistic, collaborative strategy for addressing ocean litter in California, with a focus on reducing land-based litter at its source.

The Commission honored Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada with the 2017 Prosecutor of the Year Award for his skill and commitment in prosecuting a wide variety of fish, wildlife and environmental crime cases.

The Commission approved a list of proposed Duck Stamp projects for fiscal year 2018-19.  These projects are aimed at protecting, preserving, restoring, enhancing, and developing migratory waterfowl breeding and wintering habitat, and conducting waterfowl resource assessments and other waterfowl related research.

The Commission adopted the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) recommendation to issue zero sage grouse hunting permits for all four hunting zones.

CDFW provided an update to the Commission on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a fatal neurologic disease of deer and elk that has been detected in 24 states. The disease has not been detected in California, where CDFW actively tests animals and is in the process of creating a CWD action plan. To prevent the accidental importation of CWD into California, state law prohibits hunters from importing carcasses from out-of-state with a skull or backbone still attached.

The Commission denied a petition to repeal hunting of American badger and gray fox and denied a petition to increase the striped bass daily bag limit to three and reduce minimum size to 12 inches in anadromous coastal rivers and ocean waters south of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The California Fish and Game Commission was the first wildlife conservation agency in the United States, predating even the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries. There is often confusion about the distinction between CDFW and the Commission. In the most basic terms, CDFW implements and enforces the regulations set by the Commission, as well as provides biological data and expertise to inform the Commission’s decision-making process.

Media Contact:
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824

 

Humboldt Deputy District Attorney Honored for Protecting Natural Resources

Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada has been selected as the 2017 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year, the California Fish and Game Commission and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced.

The California Fish and Game Commission recognizes a courtroom champion of fish and wildlife each year. The Prosecutor of the Year award honors a currently seated district attorney or deputy district attorney who tirelessly prosecutes crimes against fish, wildlife, natural resources and the environment in California courts.

“CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division is grateful for Deputy District Attorney Kamada’s service, exceptional effort and leadership on poaching and environmental crime prosecutions,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of Law Enforcement. “We hold him up as an example to others.”

FG Commission Prosecutor of the Year 2018 (1 of 1)

Kamada began working at the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office in 2014, assigned as the lead prosecutor on all environmental cases for the county. Kamada, who was raised in Humboldt, appreciates and understands the importance of the county’s diverse fish and wildlife species and the habitats upon which they depend.

In 2015, Kamada formed the Humboldt County Environmental Crimes Task Force, a group of state and local agency representatives that meets several times a year to address ongoing environmental crimes, promote interagency communication and problem solving. Task Force members are encouraged to speak directly with Kamada about cases. Kamada has also frequently accompanied CDFW wildlife officers on general patrol and on search warrant services.

Kamada has shown considerable skill and commitment in prosecuting a wide variety of fish, wildlife and environmental crime cases, including the following:

  • In 2015, wildlife officers contacted a man near the Eel River after observing him driving on a river bar while shining a high-powered light and discarding litter on the river bar. A search warrant served on the subject’s residence led to the discovery of evidence of spotlighting and poaching activity. Following the successful prosecution of the case by Kamada, the suspect was sentenced to three years of probation and 200 hours of community service, as well as being prohibited from hunting, mandated to complete the hunter safety program and forfeiting three firearms, ammunition, knives and unlawfully possessed deer parts.
  • Working with the Humboldt County Environmental Crimes Task Force, Kamada has successfully prosecuted egregious violations of various Fish and Game and Health and Safety Code laws associated with marijuana cultivation. He ensures that mandated property restoration work is included in court dispositions and then follows up – in some cases personally – to confirm the work was indeed completed.
  • Kamada prosecuted a poacher who attempted to shoot a wildlife officer, resulting in a 20-year prison sentence for the shooter. The incident occurred in 2016, when an officer came across a pickup truck whose occupants were spotlighting deer in a remote area of Humboldt County. When the officer attempted a traffic stop, one of the occupants began shooting from the bed of the truck while the driver sped away. During the course of the pursuit, 10 shots were fired at the officer. The truck eventually crashed and the suspects fled into the woods on foot, evading immediate capture. In August 2017, after many months of investigation and surveillance, the suspect who shot at the officer turned himself in.
  • In 2018, Kamada prosecuted an unusual case involving largescale poaching of Dudleya, a succulent plant that grows in a unique ecological niche along the Humboldt County coastline. The suspects were foreign nationals who poached 2,300 Dudleya for sale overseas. Kamada dedication to the case ultimately led to felony convictions on conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor and false filing with the state, as well as misdemeanor convictions for removal of plant material from public lands and commercial sales of those plants.

Commission President Eric Sklar also offers high praise for Kamada’s efforts, noting, “Without strong prosecutors such as Deputy District Attorney Kamada, our natural resources would be at increased risk. We thank him for his important work and his commitment to safeguarding California’s biodiversity for the future.”

Media Contacts:
Valerie Termini, California Fish and Game Commission, (916) 653-4899
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-6692

 

Minnesota Artist Wins 2018-19 California Duck Stamp Art Contest

A painting by Mark Thone of Shakopee, Minn., has been chosen as the winner of the 2018-19 California Duck Stamp Art Contest. The painting, which depicts five black brant, a species of goose, in flight over an estuary containing eel grass, will be the official design for the 2018-19 stamp.

“It is interesting that a guy from the Midwest has such an interest in black brant, but they are so unique, and they were the subject of one of my first duck stamp contest entries in another state,” said Thone, a professional artist. “With this painting I wanted to show them in an estuary in a typical California setting that reflects their connection to eel grass, which they eat.”

2018-19 Duck Stamp second place with ribbon

Following the contest held Tuesday in Davis, the judges praised the anatomical accuracy of Thone’s painting, with one also noting that the birds “filled the frame” of the painting in a fashion that will highlight the species on the stamp.

Artists from around the country submitted entries for the contest, sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Erik Fleet of Julian placed second, Roberta “Roby” Baer of Redding placed third and Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Ind. received honorable mention.

2018-19 duck stamp contest third place with ribbone

The top four paintings will be displayed at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s 48th Annual Classic Wildlife Art Festival, which is scheduled July 21-22 in Sacramento.

Since 1971, the California Duck Stamp Program’s annual contest has attracted top wildlife artists from around the country. The contest is traditionally open to artists from all 50 states in order to ensure a wide pool of submissions. All proceeds generated from stamp sales go directly to waterfowl conservation projects throughout California.

2018 Duck Stamp honorable mention with ribbon

In the past, hunters were required to purchase and affix the stamp to their hunting licenses. Today, hunters are no longer required to carry the stamps because California’s modern licensing system prints proof of additional fees paid directly onto the license. However, CDFW still produces the stamps, which can be requested on CDFW’s website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps.

The species for the 2019-20 California Duck Stamp Art Contest will be the northern pintail.

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

CDFW Accepting Proposals for Restoration Projects that Provide Greenhouse Gas Benefits

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting proposals for wetland restoration projects to provide greenhouse gas benefits under its Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program.

For Fiscal Year (FY) 2017-18, $12.75 million is available from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund for projects. The Proposal Solicitation Notice released today focuses on restoration of coastal tidal wetlands, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta wetlands, and mountain meadows, to provide greenhouse gas benefits and other co-benefits.

“Working wetlands provide a natural benefit with their ability to capture carbon, pure and simple,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “This greenhouse gas reduction effort combined with the critical ecological and hydrological benefits of restored wetlands and meadows is a win-win for our resources. We are excited to continue the momentum of our initial efforts and fund more work, which will provide long-lasting results.”

The FY 2017-2018 Proposal Solicitation Notice, application instructions and other information about the grant program are available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Watersheds/Greenhouse-Gas-Reduction.

Proposals must be submitted online at https://watershedgrants.wildlife.ca.gov. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at 4 p.m.

This is the second solicitation since the establishment of CDFW’s Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program in 2014. The first grant cycle was completed with approximately $21 million being awarded to 12 projects to restore or enhance approximately 2,500 acres of wetlands and mountain meadows for the purposes of greenhouse gas benefits.

The Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.

For more information, visit the California Climate Investments website at www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov.

Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, CDFW Watershed Restoration Grants Branch, (916) 445-1285
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

CDFW’s SHARE Program Offering 31 Additional Elk Hunts

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is accepting applications for 31 elk hunting opportunities offered through the Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program.

The hunts will occur at various times between Aug. 15 and Dec. 24, 2018, on 28 select properties in Colusa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino and Siskiyou counties. Specific details for all 31 elk hunts can be found at https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/SHARE. CDFW will be accepting applications through Monday, July 24.

The SHARE program was created to provide additional hunting, fishing and other recreational access on private lands in California by offering incentives to private landowners. Participating landowners receive liability protection and compensation for providing public access to or through their land for wildlife-dependent recreational activities.

All elk tags will be distributed through a random draw process. While hunters may take only one elk per year in California, these hunts offer additional opportunities beyond those issued through the general Big Game Drawing. SHARE hunt applications can be purchased by anyone with a valid 2018 California annual hunting license from any CDFW license office or online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales.

An $11.62 non-refundable application fee will be charged for each hunt application. Applicants may look up their draw results and download their hunt packets on July 28 by entering their customer information on CDFW’s website at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales.

Media Contacts:
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824
Victoria Barr, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-4034

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News