All posts by DanaMichaels2013

California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Marketing Specialist

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Nov. 30 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $2.6 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 12 approved 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:

  • A $310,000 grant to the California Waterfowl Association for a cooperative project with the North American Wetlands Conservation Council to construct water conveyance infrastructure and restore wetlands and upland habitats on 507 acres of privately owned property, approximately seven miles south of Oroville in Butte County.
  • A $385,000 grant to the U.S. Forest Service for a cooperative project with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to restore five meadows, stabilize head-cuts and fill sections of incised stream channels. This project will restore channel form, floodplain connectivity, stream bank stability and meadow vegetation on Stanislaus National Forest lands, seven miles northeast of Pinecrest in Tuolumne County.
  • $340,000 for in-fee acquisition of approximately 12 acres of land by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and a Transfer of Jurisdiction of the land by CDFW to the San Joaquin River Conservancy (SJRC), to protect riparian habitat and provide future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities within the San Joaquin River Parkway, near the City of Fresno in Madera County.
  • A $400,000 augmentation to an existing grant to the Elkhorn Slough Foundation for a cooperative project with CDFW, California State Coastal Conservancy, DWR, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Santa Cruz County Public Works. This project will restore 46 acres of tidal marsh and five acres of perennial grasses on CDFW’s Elkhorn Slough National Marine Estuarine Research Reserve, two miles east of Moss Landing in Monterey County.

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

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Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, WCB Executive Director, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

Endangered Foxes Poisoned By Rodenticides

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is investigating the poisoning of two San Joaquin kit foxes found dead in Bakersfield last month. Although the foxes were found ten miles apart, the cause of death was the same: exposure to high levels of the second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide, brodifacoum, which resulted in severe internal bleeding and hemorrhaging. The carcasses were discovered by residents of Kern City and north Bakersfield who reported them to the Endangered Species Recovery Program (ESRP), a local conservation group that monitors kit foxes in the city and greater Central Valley. ESRP has been working closely with residents in both areas, as this urban kit fox population has declined in recent years due to a fatal outbreak of sarcoptic mange.

San Joaquin kit foxes are only found in California and are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. Despite the many obstacles kit foxes face in the wild, most notably due to habitat loss, they seem to be thriving in the Bakersfield area and have become beloved city residents. This urban population is increasingly more important to the survival of the species as natural habitats disappear. However, city living is risky. Urban kit foxes are more likely to die from vehicle strikes, dog attacks, entombment, diseases transmitted by domestic pets or invasive wildlife, and poisoning from anticoagulant rodenticides. Rodents are kit foxes’ primary food item, which makes them terribly vulnerable to poisons ingested by rodents. When they eat rodents that have been poisoned with these baits, they’re exposed to those rodenticides.

Due to their harmful impacts on non-target wildlife — including hawks, owls, bobcats and mountain lions — second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides are now restricted in California. Since July 2014, four of these chemicals can only be legally sold to and used by professional exterminators. CDFW urges residents to help protect kit foxes by using alternate means of rodent control such as exclusion, sanitation and trapping, and to ask any pest control professionals they employ to do the same.

To learn more, please visit our webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Living-with-Wildlife/Rodenticides. For more information, please call or email the CDFW Wildlife Investigation Laboratory at (916) 358-2954 or Stella.McMillin@wildlife.ca.gov.

If you find a San Joaquin kit fox that appears to be impaired, please contact the CDFW or ESRP at (661) 835-7810.

 

Media Contacts:
Stella McMillin, Wildlife Investigations Lab, (916) 358-2954
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

Turkey Vultures Poisoned by Euthanasia Drugs

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has confirmed that several turkey vultures have been poisoned from the veterinary euthanasia drug pentobarbital in the Simi Valley area of Ventura County.

Seven turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) were found dead or impaired in Simi Valley in October. Two of these were successfully rehabilitated by the Ojai Raptor Center, but the other five died. Pentobarbital exposure was confirmed in the digestive system of one of the dead turkey vultures. The source of the exposure remains unknown.

Pentobarbital is a drug used by veterinarians to euthanize companion animals, livestock and horses. If the remains of animals euthanized with pentobarbital are not properly disposed of after death, scavenging wildlife – such as turkey vultures and eagles – can be poisoned. Veterinarians and animal owners are responsible for disposing of animal remains properly by legal methods such as cremation or deep burial.

Turkey vultures are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and California Fish and Game Code. Improperly disposed-of euthanized remains are a danger to all scavenging wildlife.

Members of the veterinary and livestock communities are asked to share this information with colleagues in an effort to prevent further incidents.

CDFW also asks the public to pay attention to and report grounded turkey vultures and other raptors and scavengers.

Pentobarbital-poisoned birds appear to be dead. They have no reflex response and breathing can barely be detected. The birds appear intact, without wounds or obvious trauma. Anyone finding a comatose vulture should report the finding to CDFW at 916-358-2954.

Brown and black turkey vulture with pinkish-red face on the stub of a tree limb, seen from the back
Turkey vulture on the stub of a tree limb. USFWS photos

Media Contacts:
Stella McMillin,  CDFW Wildlife Investigations Lab, (916) 358-2954
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

 

Watch Out for Wildlife Week Reminds Motorists to Slow Down & Be Alert

Caltrans and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) remind motorists to remain alert for wildlife on roadways during Watch Out for Wildlife Week, which runs September 18-24.

“Drivers can improve their own safety by simply slowing down and remaining alert while driving,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “We are committed to safety while being mindful of the environment, using signage, fencing, and undercrossings to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions along roadways, especially in wildlife corridors.”

“Between now and December, deer and other wildlife are more susceptible than usual to vehicle collisions,” said Marc Kenyon, CDFW’s Human-Wildlife Conflict Program Manager. “Soon, deer will start their annual migrations to winter range, bucks will be preoccupied competing for mates, and bears will be searching for food in preparation for hibernation. Such natural behaviors can lead these animals into the way of unsuspecting drivers. Drivers can prevent collisions with animals by being careful and paying attention.”

Wildlife experts offer the following tips for motorists:

  • Be especially alert when driving in wildlife areas, and reduce your speed so you can react safely.
  • Pay particular attention when driving during the morning and evening, as wildlife are most active during these times.
  • If you see an animal cross the road, know that others may be following.
  • Don’t litter. The odors may entice animals to venture near roadways.

The Watch Out for Wildlife campaign is supported by Caltrans, CDFW, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis.

Here are a few of examples of what Caltrans, CDFW, and their partners are doing to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, improve awareness of key issues, and improve ecological sustainability:

Highway 17 Laurel Curve Wildlife Crossing, Santa Cruz County

The Laurel Curve Crossing Project is a planned undercrossing that will enhance wildlife movement to either side of Highway 17. Highway 17 over the Santa Cruz Mountains is a four-lane road that has become heavily-traveled in recent years, particularly by people who commute between the Santa Cruz and San Francisco Bay areas. The part of Highway 17 that includes Laurel Curve is in an essential connectivity area for wildlife, cutting through prime habitat. Deer, bears, mountain lions and smaller wildlife attempt to cross the highway in their normal migration and foraging patterns, creating hazards for themselves and motorists. The Laurel Curve Wildlife Crossing project is a collaboration of several local and state partners including the Santa Cruz County Land Trust, Pathways for Wildlife, the UC Santa Cruz Puma Project, Caltrans, and CDFW. Funding sources include Advance Mitigation Program funds from the 2016 State Highway Operation and Protection Program.

Highway 89, Sierra County

On a stretch of Highway 89 between Truckee and Sierraville, a recently-completed $2.08 million project consists of two new 12-foot by 10-foot wildlife undercrossings, providing a safe path for animals to cross under the roadway. The project also includes four escape ramps and over 14,000 linear feet of deer fencing on both sides of the highway to help prevent wildlife-vehicle collisions.

Highway 246, Santa Barbara County

Six new highway undercrossings have been designed for California tiger salamanders and small animals to pass safely between breeding ponds and upland habitat on the opposite sides of Highway 246 between Buellton and Lompoc. This species is protected under both the state and federal Endangered Species Acts. In addition to the design and implementation of these six undercrossings, Caltrans has proposed a five-year monitoring study to assess the undercrossings’ effects on California tiger salamanders and other animals crossing the highway. The project is in the final stages and is expected to be completed this fall.

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Media Contacts:
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420
Patrick Olsen, Patrick Olsen, Caltrans Public Affairs, (916) 654-3633

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Aug. 24 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $24.5 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 15 approved  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:

  • A $317,000 grant to East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy (ECCCHC) and the acceptance of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition grant, and the approval to sub-grant these federal funds to the ECCCHC. This will fund a cooperative project with the East Bay Regional Park District to acquire approximately 40 acres of land for the protection and preservation of existing regional wildlife linkages and grassland habitats that support listed species identified in the ECCCHC/Natural Community Conservation Plan, south of the city of Antioch in Contra Costa County.
  • A $1.6 million grant to the California Department of Water Resources for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the San Joaquin River Conservancy (SJRC) to construct public access and habitat enhancements to a gravel pit pond adjacent to the San Joaquin River at the SJRC Sycamore Island property, approximately 3 miles downstream of the State Route 41 bridge in Madera County.
  • A $1.4 million grant to the Regents of the University of California for a cooperative project with University of California, Santa Barbara to construct an administrative and meeting hall, renovate research quarters, construct an outdoor kitchen and repair roads and other infrastructure and facilities needed to serve current and projected needs within the Sedgwick Reserve, 35 miles north of Santa Barbara near the town of Santa Ynez in Santa Barbara County.
  • A $20 million grant to assist a cooperative project with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority to acquire a multipurpose easement over approximately 9 acres of land for habitat restoration, open space preservation, and to provide potential future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities, four miles north of downtown Los Angeles in Los Angeles County.
  • A $384,600 grant to The Chaparral Lands Conservancy for a cooperative project with the California Department of Parks and Recreation to restore approximately 5 acres of sensitive vernal pool and sensitive maritime succulent scrub habitats on City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department property adjacent to Ocean Hills Parkway and Otay Mesa Road, in the community of Otay Mesa.

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

a muddy drive leads to a river with trees and grass on the banks
Photo courtesy of DWR
dried-out scrub brush and dead grass among fan palms, with arid mountains in the distance, under a blue sky
Photo courtesy of City of Los Angeles
wet, grassy vernal pool habitat damaged by mountain bikes
WCB photo by Don Crocker

 

Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, WCB Executive Director, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420