All posts by ahughan

Fall Chinook Season Closed on Klamath and Trinity Rivers

CDFW reminds anglers that fall Chinook salmon fishing on the Klamath and Trinity rivers is prohibited beginning Aug. 15, 2017 on the Klamath River and Sept. 1, 2017 on the Trinity River. Angling for steelhead remains open on both rivers for the entire year.

Due to historically low stock projections of fall Chinook in the Klamath Basin for 2017, a full fishing closure was adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission earlier this year.

The fall Chinook fishing season is defined as Aug. 15 through Dec. 31 on the Klamath River and Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 on the Trinity River. All Chinook incidentally caught during these respective dates must be immediately returned to the river.

Fishing for steelhead trout remains open in designated areas. The daily bag limit is two hatchery steelhead and the possession limit is four hatchery steelhead. Hatchery steelhead can be identified by a healed adipose fin clip (the adipose fin is absent). All wild steelhead (with an intact adipose fin) caught must be immediately returned to the water. Please consult the 2017-2018 supplemental sport fishing regulations for further information on open areas and gear restrictions that may apply.

The low projected stock abundance of Klamath Basin fall Chinook this year is thought to have been caused by several environmental factors, including severe drought and poor ocean conditions. Klamath Basin fall Chinook are managed for conservation thresholds and long-term sustainability, and the closures this year are designed to maximize spawning escapement to rebuild future population abundance.

The Klamath fall Chinook stock will be re-evaluated in the winter and spring of 2018, at which time a new forecast and potential harvest quotas will be developed for 2018 in-river and ocean fisheries.   Klamath Basin fall Chinook regulations are typically adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission in April of each year.

Media Contacts:
Wade Sinnen, CDFW Northern Region, (707) 822-5119
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

 

Suspect Wanted for Attempted Murder of a Wildlife Officer Turns Himself In

Shawn Eugene Hof, Jr., suspected of attempting to shoot a California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officer in August 2016, has turned himself in.

Law enforcement officers from CDFW, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office continued their focused effort to find Hof by visiting areas he was known to frequent.

“We believe it was this focused effort with our partners that prompted him to turn himself in,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “The Department thanks our allied agency partners for their efforts that began a year ago. We’re relieved that the situation resolved itself without injuries to our officers or the public.”

CDFW also thanks the California Wildlife Officers Foundation, California Waterfowl Association, Defenders of Wildlife, Humane Society of the United States, Nature Conservancy, Sportfishing Alliance and private donors who collaborated on a reward for information leading to Hof’s arrest.

On Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016, approximately 12:40 a.m., a CDFW wildlife officer was patrolling in Carlotta in Humboldt County. The officer saw a pickup truck with several occupants using spotlights on Redwood House Road near Highway 36. The officer attempted an enforcement stop of the truck when the driver sped away. A pursuit ensued and a person in the rear of the truck, believed to be Hof, began shooting at the wildlife officer during the attempt to get away. The suspects crashed their vehicle into a tree before fleeing on foot into the woods, where they escaped.

The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office will assume the lead for deciding on charges then filing the case in Humboldt County.

Media Contact
Contact: Lt. Chris Stoots 916-651-9982

Settlement Agreement Signed for Panoche Valley Solar Project

Agreement Resolves Long-Running Disputes, Advances Renewable Energy Goals, Creates Jobs, and Preserves more than 26,000 Acres for Endangered Wildlife

The Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society (collectively the “Environmental Groups”), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and Panoche Valley Solar LLC (a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison Development, Inc.), have entered into a settlement agreement concerning the size and location of a solar project currently under development in California’s Panoche Valley. The agreement will help advance renewable energy in the state, create local jobs, and protect the environment. Once final, the settlement will permanently conserve more than 26,000 acres for wildlife habitat.

Initially, 247 MW of solar generation was planned for development in the Panoche Valley, but now approximately 100 MW is instead proposed for development at a site in Imperial County, California. Development at the Imperial County site will have less impact on threatened and endangered species and their habitat. The relocation of that portion of the project is subject to approval by Southern California Edison (SCE) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The settlement will also resolve several legal challenges commenced against the project by the Environmental Groups.

The Panoche Valley Solar Project was first proposed in 2009 and as planned would have directly impacted nearly 5,000 acres of high quality and uniquely important habitat. This settlement will reduce the size of the project in the Panoche Valley to slightly more than 1,300 acres and permanently conserve approximately 26,418 acres in and around the Panoche Valley.

The Environmental Groups assert that the Panoche Valley has the last intact, but unprotected, grasslands in the San Joaquin Valley and is home to many rare and endangered species including the giant kangaroo rat, the San Joaquin kit fox, and the blunt-nosed leopard lizard.

The valley is also designated an Important Bird Area of Global Significance by the National Audubon Society and Birdlife International because the grasslands provide essential habitat for myriad resident and migratory bird species. All of these species have been under threat from the expansion of housing developments, agriculture, oil and gas exploration, and drought.

Sarah Friedman, Sierra Club’s Senior Campaign Representative for the Beyond Coal Campaign, said:

 “As we work toward lowering carbon pollution, it’s critical that new clean energy development is not done at the expense of endangered animals and their habitat. The Panoche Valley is critical habitat for three highly endangered species, and the development throughout the valley as originally planned would have been devastating. This settlement agreement came about after years of work to preserve the endangered wildlife and delicate habitat in this valley.”

Kim Delfino, Defenders of Wildlife’s California Program Director, said:

 “The Panoche Valley is a globally important landscape and is the only remaining intact habitat for endangered upland San Joaquin Valley species like the giant kangaroo rat, San Joaquin kit fox and the blunt-nosed leopard lizard. The new agreement recognizes the significant conservation value of the Panoche Valley, reduces the size of the project in this unique valley and moves half of the project to a better site outside of the valley. When projects are planned ‘smart from the start’ it ensures that we will not sacrifice California’s natural heritage to meet our clean energy goals.”

Shani Kleinhaus, Environmental Advocate with the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, said:

“Birds and bird-enthusiasts should applaud this outcome. Our agreement helps achieve California’s goals of energy independence, and at the same time preserves critical grassland habitat that is home to 130 bird species, including species that are suffering steep population decline such as the burrowing owl, the mountain plover, and tricolored blackbirds.”

Charlton H. Bonham, Director of CDFW, said:

 “Con Edison Development’s leadership and the environmental groups deserve a lot of credit for opening a dialogue with the Department and asking whether it was better to negotiate and collaborate than litigate. Now these lands will be conserved in perpetuity for some of California’s rarest animals without a loss of one megawatt. This settlement shows that it is possible to balance the environment and the economy to achieve ambitious renewable energy goals.”

Mark Noyes, President and Chief Executive Officer of Panoche Valley Solar LLC, said:

 “This settlement with the CDFW and the Environmental Groups to lessen the impact of the PVS solar project on Panoche Valley is reflective of Con Edison Development’s corporate value of concern for the environment and commitment to continue the development of clean energy generation in a responsible manner. We will work diligently with the other parties to obtain the

remaining approval of SCE and the CPUC so that the conditions of the settlement can be fully implemented for the benefit of the Panoche Valley ecosystem and the citizens of California.”

Media Contacts:

  • Thomas Young, Deputy Press Secretary, Sierra Club, young@sierraclub.org, (719) 393-2354
  • Catalina Tresky, Communications Associate, Defenders of Wildlife, ctresky@defenders.org, (202) 772-0253
  • Shani Kleinhaus, Environmental Advocate, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, Advocate@scvas.org, (650) 868-2114
  • Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937
  • Christine Nevin, Director, Business & Media Relations, Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses, nevinc@conedsolutions.com, (914) 286-7094

 CDFW Reminds Anglers that White Sharks are Protected from Fishing

 

As the summer months approach and with increased sightings of White Sharks off Southern California beaches, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is issuing a reminder that White Sharks are a protected species under both state and federal fisheries laws and regulations.

“White Sharks are regularly found in Southern California in summer months, usually heading to Mexico in the winter,” said John Ugoretz, CDFW’s Pelagic Fisheries and Ecosystem Program Manager. “With relatively warm water last year, the sharks may have stayed closer and in greater numbers. Many anglers are wondering if they can catch a White Shark but, as a top level predator critical to the marine ecosystem, White Sharks are protected.”

In 1994, White Sharks received special protected status in California law, which prohibits take of White Sharks, except by special permit and some commercial incidental take allowances. Additionally, state regulations protect White Sharks from recreational fishing. Federal regulations implemented in 2004 prohibit White Shark retention in California, requiring their immediate release if caught. Under these protections, it is illegal to fish for or purposely attract White Sharks and they must be released immediately if incidentally caught while fishing for other species.

These laws and regulations are in place because of White Shark biology. As a top-level predator with naturally low reproduction, white sharks are susceptible to overfishing. Additionally, nearshore areas in northern Baja and Southern California are known as a “nursery ground” for juvenile White Sharks. Most of the sharks observed off Southern California beaches are sub-adults that typically feed on fish. Sharks in this high human population area can be particularly vulnerable to capture and incidental take.

According to CDFW Law Enforcement Division Captain Rebecca Hartman, “it is illegal not only to catch and keep a White Shark, but to pursue one as well.” This means intentionally pursuing or otherwise attracting White Sharks is prohibited.

With White Sharks near Southern California beaches, CDFW Wildlife Officers will be looking for people trying to catch them. “We want to protect the sharks and the public,” said Captain Hartman. “Our biggest concern is that someone will accidentally hurt themselves or someone else while illegally trying to catch a White Shark.”

To learn more about White Sharks in California, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/White-Shark.

Media Contacts:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937
John Ugoretz, CDFW Marine Region, (805) 568-1226
Rebecca Hartman, CDFW Law Enforcement, (310) 678-4864

 

# # #

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its May 25 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $11.5 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 11 funded projects will benefit fish and wildlife – including some endangered species – while others will provide public 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, landowners and the local community. The state funds for all these projects come from bond measures approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Funded projects include:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  • A $600,000 grant to the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District for a cooperative project with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority to acquire approximately 213 acres of wildlife habitat, to maintain a migration corridor for the Northeastern Simi Hills mule deer herd, to enhance wildlife linkages and to provide future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities in the Simi Hills, near Simi Valley in Ventura County.
  • Two grants totaling $4.8 million to Save the Redwoods League to acquire conservation easements over approximately 11,000 acres of land for the conservation and protection of managed forest lands and forest reserve areas that include Douglas fir, old growth redwood, riparian corridors, coastal watersheds and riverine habitats, and support salmonids and other rare wildlife species within the Garcia and Navarro River watersheds near Yorkville in Mendocino County.
  • A $3.5 million grant to the Truckee Donner Land Trust to acquire approximately 600 acres to provide wildlife-oriented public use opportunities and help preserve montane meadow, wildlife corridors and habitat linkages just northwest of Truckee in Nevada County.

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

Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, WCB Executive Director, (916) 445-0137
Mary Delaney, WCB Executive Office, (916) 445-0137