All posts by kmacinty

New Native Trout Challenge Kicks Off in 12 Western States

Deep in the West, under a secret rock in a cool stream, lies a prize worth finding. Anglers of all skill levels are invited to participate in the Western Native Trout Challenge and put the lure of the West on their bucket list. In addition to earning bragging rights and Western Native Trout Challengeprizes at the Expert, Advanced and Master Levels, participants will help the Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) conserve 21 species of native trout.

The 12 states where these native trout can be found are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The state fish and wildlife agencies in each of the 12 states are partnering on the effort, along with the U.S. Forest Service, the federal Bureau of Land Management and Trout Unlimited.

“California’s Heritage Trout challenge takes anglers on an amazing fishing journey across the state,” said Kevin Shaffer, Fisheries Branch Chief for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.We’re pleased to partner on this new Western Native Trout Challenge that encourages an experience across the western states, which will promote a love of fishing, our western streams and rivers, and these amazing native fishes.”

Native trout are the embodiment of the West. The wild rivers, alpine lakes and trickling arroyos — the fiber of Western geography — are the habitat for the redband, the cutthroat and the Gila.

The Western Native Trout Challenge invites anglers to help celebrate this legacy by catching native trout and char in each of the 12 Western states, at their own pace. There are three levels of achievement. Participants who catch six trout species across four states will earn “Expert Caster” rewards. Those who catch 12 trout species across eight states will earn “Advanced Caster” rewards. And those who catch 18 species across all 12 states will not only enjoy the adventure of a lifetime, but will also be designated as a “Master Caster” with rewards to match.

Anglers can get details on which fish to catch and where to find them by registering online at WesternNativeTroutChallenge.org. Registration is $25 per adult and is free for those 17 and under. The vast majority (92%) of the fee will go toward helping conserve native trout populations for future generations to also enjoy.

“We’re thrilled to be launching this fun way to support native trout conservation across the West,” said WNTI Coordinator Therese Thompson. “For every $25 program registration fee, $23 will go directly back to conservation projects that are helping native trout populations thrive. We want anglers to learn about these unique species and where they can go to catch them. In addition, catching the selected species helps conserve them by promoting angling and fishing license sales for native trout species, which also supports conservation efforts. It’s a wonderful way to help conserve these beautiful species, in beautiful places, at your own pace.”

The Western Native Trout Challenge is complementing a similar effort in some states. Anglers can participate in the Western Native Trout Challenge at the same time they participate in state specific programs, including the Arizona Trout Challenge, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Nevada Native Fish-Slam, Utah Cutthroat Slam and the Wyoming Cutt-slam.

Learn more, and register at WesternNativeTroutChallenge.org.

Follow the action on:

  • Twitter: @WNativeTrout
  • Instagram: @WesternNativeTrout
  • Facebook: /westernnativetrout

The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) is a program of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) and a nationally recognized partnership under the National Fish Habitat Partnership program that works cooperatively across 12 Western states to conserve 21 native trout and char species across their historic range. Since its inception in 2006, WNTI has directed more than $29 million in federal, public and private funds to serve 139 priority native trout conservation projects. WNTI and partners have removed 87 barriers to fish passage, reconnected or improved 1,130 miles of native trout habitat and put in place 30 protective fish barriers to conserve important native trout populations.

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

Lydia Saldaña, WAFWA, (817) 851-5729

Reward Offered in North State Elk Poaching Case

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Californians Turn in Poachers and Polluters Program (CalTIP) is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the poacher responsible for killing four Roosevelt elk in Humboldt County last December.

On Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, CDFW wildlife officers responded to a poaching report in the Maple Creek area, southeast of Blue Lake. There they discovered four dead Roosevelt cow elk and evidence that they had been killed with a firearm. One elk was pregnant.

CDFW closely manages the state’s Roosevelt elk herds. A limited number of hunting permits are available for this species in Humboldt County and some hunters wait more than a decade to be successful in the drawing. Elk hunting season was not open at the time these animals were shot, and CDFW is asking the public for help with any information that may help bring the poachers to justice.

“This poacher shot these animals and left them for dead,” said CDFW Law Enforcement Division District Capt. AJ Bolton. “The vast majority of hunters are ethical and law-abiding citizens, but this is poaching, plain and simple.”

CDFW extends its thanks to four non-governmental hunting organizations that pledged the reward money to help solve this case. Those organizations are California Bowmen Hunters, California Houndsmen for Conservation, the Oranco Bowmen from Ontario and the Orange Belt Field Archers.

Wildlife officers are continuing their investigation, including processing evidence left at the crime scene. CDFW asks that anyone who has any information regarding this poaching crime to contact the statewide tip hotline, CalTIP, at 1 (888) 334-2258. Tips can also be sent via text to CALTIP, followed by a space and the message to tip411 (847411). CalTIP is a confidential secret witness program that encourages the public to provide CDFW with information leading to the arrest of poachers and polluters. CalTIP operates closely but independently from CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division and is funded exclusively from private donations.

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Media Contacts: 
Warden John Fraley, CDFW Law Enforcement, (707) 445-6493
Captain Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-6692

 

Inland Salmon Seasons Approved at Fish and Game Commission Meeting

California’s inland salmon anglers can look forward to a better salmon fishing season than last year. A projected return of 379,600 spawning Sacramento River fall-run Chinook Salmon to Central Valley rivers has allowed fishery managers to return to a two salmon daily limit with four salmon in possession. This is a welcome increase over last year’s regulations, which restricted anglers to one salmon per day and two in possession.

The Klamath River fall Chinook Salmon ocean abundance forecast of 274,200 adults allows anglers a daily limit of two Chinook salmon, no more than one of which may be greater than 22 inches, and a possession limit of six, of which only three may be greater than 22 inches.

“It is excellent that the predicted Central Valley returns are high enough to offer anglers the opportunity to take two salmon daily and four in possession,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Fisheries Branch Chief Kevin Shaffer. “Klamath River fall Chinook Salmon returns are predicted to be above average, and that should provide good angling opportunity.”

State and federal fisheries managers crafted conservative ocean seasons to return even more Sacramento fall-run Chinook Salmon back to the spawning grounds than normal this fall. This is required under the federal Fisheries Management Plan because long-term stock abundance has fallen below minimum management goals after several recent years when spawning salmon returns were too low. Inland fishing seasons adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission reflect this ongoing effort to rebuild stocks while providing angling opportunity.

The following bag, possession limits and seasons were adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission at its meeting earlier this week.

Central Valley Rivers:

Daily limit of two fish per day and a possession limit of four fish. On the American and Feather rivers, the general season opener is July 16. On the Sacramento River below Deschutes Road Bridge to the Red Bluff Diversion Dam, the season opens Aug. 1 and closes Dec. 16. From below the Red Bluff Diversion Dam to the Carquinez Bridge, the season opens July 16 and closes Dec. 16. Chinook Salmon fishing opportunity was expanded on the Mokelumne and Feather River. On the Feather River, the season change will extend fishing opportunity by additional two weeks. On the Mokelumne River, almost 10 miles of additional habitat is open to salmon fishing.

Klamath River Basin:

Daily limit of two Chinook Salmon, no more than one of which may be greater than 22 inches, and a possession limit of six, of which only three may be greater than 22 inches. The Klamath River adult fall run Chinook Salmon quota is 7,637 adults and the season opens Aug. 15 and closes Dec. 31, while the Trinity River opens to salmon fishing on Sept. 1 and closes Dec. 31. Seasons and areas with defined sub-quotas are subject to closure once the quota is reached in each subsection.

The 2019-2020 sport seasons, dates, locations, bag limits and gear restrictions will be published in the 2019-2020 Sport Fishing Regulations Supplement, which will be posted on the CDFW website in May. Additional season information can be found on CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage or by calling CDFW’s ocean salmon hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the Klamath-Trinity River hotline at (800) 564-6479.

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Media Contacts:
Kevin Shaffer, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916)-327-8840 

Wade Sinnen, CDFW Northern Region, (707) 822-5119 
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (208) 220-1160

CDFW Awards $48.5 Million for Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration, Protection and Scientific Study Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 38 projects to receive funding for multi-benefit ecosystem restoration and protection projects under its Proposition 1 and Proposition 68 grant programs.

The awards, totaling $48.5 million, were made under two separate solicitations for projects focused in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and watersheds statewide.

CDFW participated in a joint solicitation in 2018 with the Delta Science Program and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for scientific studies projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Through this effort, CDFW awarded 11 projects a total of $7.3 million through its Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Proposition 1 Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program.

CDFW conducted a second solicitation in 2018 with funding available from both Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Proposition 1 and Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Proposition 68 funding, resulting in the award of $41.2 million to 27 projects statewide, outside of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Of the $41.2 million, approximately $23.9 million was awarded through the Proposition 1 Watershed Restoration Grant Program. Approximately $17.3 million was awarded through the Proposition 68 grant program which includes three separate focuses: Rivers and Streams, Southern California Steelhead and Habitat Improvement Projects.

“This year represents new opportunities for important projects getting off the ground, including long-planned efforts to support recovery of critical species and respond to new ecological challenges,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “We look forward to continuing statewide restoration and protection efforts of our state’s watersheds.”

The awarded projects represent priorities outlined in the two solicitations, as well as the California Water Action Plan, State Wildlife Action Plan, Sacramento Valley Salmon Resiliency Strategy, Delta Plan, California EcoRestore, Safeguarding California Plan, the California Biodiversity Initiative and the fulfillment of CDFW’s mission. This year marks CDFW’s first allocation of Proposition 68 funding and the fifth of 10 planned annual allocations of Proposition 1 funding.

Projects approved for funding through the Proposition 1 Watershed Restoration Grant Program and Proposition 68 grant programs include:

Acquisition Projects:

  • Van Arken Community Forest Project ($1,861,312 to Sanctuary Forest)
  • Scott Ranch Acquisition, Napa County ($1,000,000 to Land Trust of Napa County)
  • Acquisition and Monitoring Program for Critical Fish and Wildlife Habitat in and Around the Angelo Coast Range Reserve, Upper South Fork Eel River ($806,022 to Angelo Coast Range Reserve, University of California, Berkeley)
  • Arcata Community Forest (Jacoby Creek Tract) Expansion – Swaner 114 acres ($760,300 to City of Arcata)
  • Sierra Valley Mountain Meadow Conservation Project ($648,077 to Feather River Land Trust)
  • Mendocino Pygmy Forest Protection Project ($347,843 to Mendocino Land Trust)

Implementation Projects:

  • Santa Ana Bridge Replacement – a Component of the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project ($13,426,938 to Ventura County Watershed Protection District)
  • Rim Fire Watershed Health Improvement Project ($3,641,211 to Tuolumne River Trust)
  • Oroville Wildlife Area Flood Stage Reduction and Restoration Project ($3,139,136 to Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency)
  • Hotelling Gulch Aquatic Restoration ($2,038,942 to Salmon River Restoration Council)
  • Oroville Wildlife Area Flood Stage Reduction and Restoration Project – New Vegetation Plantings ($1,716,847 to Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency)
  • Jameson Creek Fish Passage Improvement and Restoration Project ($1,704,990 to City of Fortuna)
  • Big Canyon Habitat Restoration and Adaptation Project, Phase II ($1,196,444 to Newport Bay Conservancy)
  • Martin Slough Enhancement ($1,106,982 to California State Coastal Conservancy)
  • Post-Fire Restoration of Coast Range Headwaters for Multiple Benefits at Pepperwood Preserve ($838,135 to Pepperwood Foundation)
  • Lagunitas Creek Floodplain Restoration for Coho Recovery, Phase II ($593,040 to Salmon Protection and Watershed Network)

Planning Projects:

  • Bellota Fish Screen and Passage Improvement Project ($1,952,559 to Stockton East Water District)
  • Harvey Diversion Fish Passage Restoration 100% Designs ($1,019,271 to California Trout)
  • Cannibal Island Restoration Intermediate Designs ($802,886 to California Trout)
    Lower San Luis Obispo Creek Fish Passage Design and Habitat Improvement Project ($459,798 to Central Coast Salmon Enhancement)
  • Wildlife Corridor at Liberty Canyon ($400,000 to National Wildlife Federation)
  • Restoring the Deer Creek Headwaters at Childs Meadow ($374,588 to Point Blue Conservation Science)
  • Elk Creek Restoration Feasibility Study ($347,204 to Smith River Alliance)
    Rowdy Creek and Dominie Creek Fish Passage Improvement Planning Project ($273,146 to Tolowa Dee-ni Nation)
  • Advancing Restoration Strategies for Hydrologic Connectivity in Williams Creek ($268,862 to Humboldt County Resource Conservation District)
  • Scott Creek Lagoon and Marsh Restoration ($237,690 to Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission)
  • Restoration planning at the Sespe Cienega in Fillmore ($237,570 to Santa Clara River Conservancy)

Projects approved for funding through the Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program include:

Scientific Studies:

  • Reconnecting Delta food webs: evaluating the influence of tidal marsh restoration on energy flow and prey availability for native fishes ($1,107,041 to State Water Contractors)
  • Quantifying genetic and epigenetic variation in Delta smelt that may enable adaptation to future environments ($934,616 to University of California, Davis)
  • Effects of Multiple Environmental Stressors on Ecological Performance of Early Life Stage Sturgeon ($957,427 to University of California, Davis)
  • Monitoring and Modeling Pathogen Exposure in Salmon Migrating to the Delta ($847,041 to University of California, Santa Cruz)
  • Delta Wetlands and Resilience: blue carbon and marsh accretion ($819,998 to San Francisco Estuary Institute)
  • Enhancing predictive capability for phytoplankton response to natural and operational induced variability of phytoplankton blooming in the Delta. ($784,970 to San Francisco State University)
  • Quantifying Biogeochemical Processes through Transport Modeling: Pilot Application in the Cache Slough Complex ($570,602 to University of California, Davis)
  • Developing an eDNA metabarcoding protocol to improve fish and mussel monitoring in the San Francisco Estuary ($419,742 to University of California, Davis)
  • The role of wetlands in pelagic food webs: metagenomics reveals how wetland plant detritus may promote zooplankton growth and survival ($399,171 to University of California, Davis)
  • Trade-offs and Co-benefits of Landscape Change Scenarios on Human and Bird Communities in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta ($248,077 to Point Blue Conservation Science)
  • Developing a new molecular isotopic tool to examine Delta food webs ($211,907 to University of California, Santa Cruz)

General information about CDFW’s Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 Restoration Grant Programs, as well as a schedule of locations and dates for workshops, once available, can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/grants.

Funding for these projects comes from Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 bond funds, a portion of which are allocated annually through the California State Budget Act. More information about Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 is on the California Natural Resources Agency website.

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Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, CDFW Watershed Restoration Grant Branch, (916) 445-1285
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Great Start to the Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery

The 2019 recreational Pacific Halibut season is off to a strong start! Since opening day on May 1, many north coast anglers have braved less-than-perfect weather and ocean conditions and were successful in pursuing this highly prized fish. Preliminary catch data available to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) through the first five days of the fishery indicates almost 2,500 pounds of fish were caught.

“This is a level of success more typically seen during the summer months,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Melanie Parker.

Again this year, the public can follow the progress of catch through the season compared to the quota on the CDFW Pacific Halibut webpage, which is updated weekly. The fishery is scheduled to be open through Oct. 31, or until the quota has been met, whichever comes first. The 2019 quota is 39,000 pounds, approximately 8,000 pounds greater than last year.

Up-to-date information on the status of the season can also be obtained by calling the National Marine Fisheries Service Halibut Hotline at (800) 662-9825 or the CDFW Recreational Groundfish Regulations Hotline at (831) 649-2801.

State regulations for Pacific Halibut automatically conform to federal regulations using the process described in the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.95.  Federal regulations for Pacific halibut were published in Federal Register 84, section 17960, on April 29, 2019 and took effect as of that date.

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Media Contacts:
Melanie Parker, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-2814
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988