February 2015 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

DATE — EVENT

Weekends — Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Docent-led walks are scheduled every Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Binoculars and bird books are available for the public to borrow at no cost. The visitor center and main overlook are fully accessible. Day use fee is $4.32 per person, ages 16 and older. Groups of 10 or more should schedule a separate tour. For more information, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/lands/er/region4/elkhorn.html.

Various Days — Guided Wetland Tours, By Reservation, at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). A wildlife naturalist will lead your group, school or organization through the diverse wetlands of the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. General information includes wildlife identification, behavior patterns and conservation efforts. Your experience can be adjusted to include requested information. The minimum group size is 18 people. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

Every Monday (except holidays)Volunteer Stewardship Field Crew Mondays at Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve,1700 Elkhorn Road, Royal Oaks (95076), 10 a.m. to noon. Help preserve natural habitat by collecting seeds, planting, helping to maintain trails and weeding introduced species. For more information, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/lands/er/region4/elkhorn.html or email www.elkhornslough.org.

Weekends — Sandhill Crane Wetland Tour at the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve. CDFW public tours are available to view greater and lesser sandhill cranes at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve outside of Lodi, W Woodbridge Road (95242). Tour registration is posted six weeks in advance. For more information about tour times during the first three Saturdays and Sunday of the fall and winter months, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/3/crane-tour.

1 — Guided Wildlife Tours at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948), 12:30 to 2 p.m. Docent-led walking tour through this premier birding location highlights the migratory waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. Tours are canceled in heavy rain. No reservations are necessary for groups of fewer than 12 people. Visitors must possess a valid hunting or fishing license or an annual lands pass (either must be purchased in advance). Visitors can otherwise choose to pay a $4.32 day use fee when they arrive. There is no cost for the tour. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

6 — Bighorn Sheep Lecture presented by Dr. Jeff Villepique,1-3 p.m. in the Natural Resources Building Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). This lecture is part of the Conservation Lecture Series which introduces participants to California’s diverse wildlife. Villepique, a CDFW wildlife biologist, will speak about the natural history and legal status of bighorn sheep in California, along with factors driving their population ecology. He will cover the unique adaptations of these rare mammals and distinctions among populations in the mountains and deserts of California, some of which are designated fully protected and others federally endangered. Villepique will also discuss his research into influences of wildfire, drought and predation risk on habitat selection by bighorn sheep in the Transverse and Sierra Nevada ranges. Diverse factors may limit bighorn populations but all may be imperiled by disease and, to a greater or lesser degree, by impacts of drought. This free event will also be webcast live. To register, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/lectures. For more information, please email cesa@wildlife.ca.gov.

7 — Sierra Bighorn Field Trip. Join biologists from CDFW’s Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Recovery Program to observe these rare and elusive animals in their winter habitat. Participants will meet at 9 a.m. at the Bishop CDFW office parking lot on the corner of Church Street and North Fowler Street in Bishop (93514). Participants should wear sturdy boots and bring sunscreen, snacks, water and binoculars if possible, and be prepared for a short hike. Space is limited, so please email asksnbs@wildlife.ca.gov or call (760) 872-3159 for reservations, directions or more information.

10 — San Diego Area Contingency Plan Sensitive Site Strategy Evaluation Program (SSSEP) public event, 8 a.m., at the San Diego River Mouth Sensitive Site.  Participants will meet in the public parking lot at Dog Beach, 5199 Voltaire St., San Diego (92107). This is a joint effort sponsored by CDFW’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response and the United States Coast Guard Sector San Diego. The SSSEP equipment deployment exercise will feature Oil Spill Response Organization participants from the Marine Spill Response Corporation and the National Response Corporation. The current site protection for the San Diego River will be deployed and evaluated. For more information, please contact Kris Wiese at (760) 681-6473 or by email at kris.wiese@wildlife.ca.gov.

11-12 — California Fish and Game Commission, Resources Building Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). Time to be determined. For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2015/index.aspx.

26 — Tricolored Blackbird Lecture presented by Dr. Robert Meese, 1-3 p.m. in the Natural Resources Building Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). This lecture is part of the Conservation Lecture Series which introduces participants to California’s diverse wildlife. California’s tricolored blackbird is a near-endemic passerine that forms the largest breeding colonies of any songbird in North America. Originally almost exclusively a marsh dweller, the tricolored blackbird now inhabits landscapes that differ fundamentally than the ones in which it evolved. Due to its gregarious nature and insect-dependence during the breeding season, the bird places huge demands upon lands within three miles of its breeding colonies. Through a multimedia presentation Dr. Meese will explore the bird’s natural history, field identification, history of research and population trends. Dr. Meese will also discuss the tricolored blackbird’s breeding and foraging habits, the relationship between insect abundance and reproductive success, the results of a recent statewide survey and the prospects for the species’ future. This free event will also be broadcast live. To register, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/lectures. For more information, please email cesa@wildlife.ca.gov.

26 — CDFW’s Annual Salmon Information Meeting, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd., Santa Rosa (95403). The public is invited to attend CDFW’s annual meeting on the status of California salmon populations and the outlook for 2015 ocean salmon fisheries. For more information, please contact Kandice Morgenstern at (707) 576-2879 or kandice.morgenstern@wildlife.ca.gov.