All posts by korr2013

Newhall Ranch Project Re-Approved; Final Environmental Analysis Released Today

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) released the Final Additional Environmental Analysis (AEA) and re-approved the Newhall Ranch Resource Management and Development Plan and Spineflower Conservation Plan.

CDFW approved the project originally in December 2010 after preparing and certifying an environmental impact report. In 2015, the California Supreme Court identified two issues in need of further attention by CDFW. The court first directed CDFW to revisit its 2010 determination that the project’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would not be significant under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). And second, that two mitigation measures approved by CDFW authorizing collection and relocation of unarmored three spine stickleback, a native fish protected under state and federal law, violated protections afforded the species because it is designated as “fully protected” under the Fish and Game Code.

After that Supreme Court decision, the project proponent, The Newhall Land and Farming Company, proposed modifications to respond to the two issues. Additional environmental analysis for the revised project was released for public review in November 2016.

CDFW’s decision to certify the Final AEA and re-approve the project today follows a public review effort analyzing and disclosing the potential environmental effects associated with the proposed modifications. With respect to the project’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Newhall Land has developed a suite of 13 measures in a detailed reduction plan to achieve “Net Zero Emissions” for the project, thereby offsetting 100 percent of the project’s GHG emissions. Additionally, the California Air Resources Board reviewed the revised project and concluded that there is an adequate basis to determine it does not result in any net additional GHG emissions.

As to two mitigation measures originally approved by CDFW in 2010 to protect the unarmored three spine stickleback, Newhall Land has proposed modifications to the timing and construction methods for project bridges and bank stabilization infrastructure that will avoid all water contact during the construction of those facilities. These changes eliminate the need for the two stickleback protection measures originally approved by CDFW in 2010.

CDFW today certified the Final AEA with those two issues resolved and re-approved the project plan. This development will be the largest net zero GHG emissions project in the nation.

Please see www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/5/newhall for more information.

Media Contacts:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Free Fishing Days for 2017 will be July 1 and Sept. 2

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) encourages all Californians to give fishing a try for free on July 1 and Sept. 2.

CDFW annually offers two Free Fishing Days, typically around the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends. On these two days, people can fish without having to buy a sport fishing license. Free Fishing Days also provide an easy opportunity for licensed anglers to introduce non-angling friends and children to fishing and the outdoors.

All fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements and fishing hours and stream closures, remain in effect. Every angler must have an appropriate report card if they are fishing for steelhead, sturgeon, spiny lobster or abalone anywhere in the state, or for salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity river systems.

Anglers residing in urban areas also have opportunities to fish close to home. Some CDFW regions also offer Fishing in the City, a program that allows children to learn to fish in major metropolitan areas. For more information on the Fishing in the City program, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing-in-the-city.

All anglers should also check the rules and regulations at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations for the waters they plan to fish because wildlife officers will be on duty to enforce them. In addition, information on fish planting is available at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/fishplants and a fishing guide can be viewed at www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/guide.

For more information on Free Fishing Days, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/free-fishing-days.

Media Contacts:
Jay Rowan, CDFW North Central Region, (916) 358-2883
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

CDFW’s Invasive Species Program Announces Youth Art Contest Winners

The winners of the “Don’t Let it Loose!” Youth Art Contest have been announced by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Invasive Species Program.

As part of the California Invasive Species Action Week, 126 youths from across California submitted their original artwork. Participants were asked to send artwork depicting invasive species that might be released by pet/aquarium owners, how their release impacts our natural resources, or what one could do with unwanted pets/plants instead of releasing them. The top three posters from each grade division were selected by members of the CDFW’s Invasive Species Program and the poster which best exemplified the contest theme was selected as the CDFW Invasive Species Program Choice Award.

Noah Petersen (5th Grade), of Fresno (Fort Washington Elementary School), was named the winner of the Invasive Species Program Choice Award. Peterson created a poster outlining multiple ways to be a responsible pet owner and avoid letting invasive species loose.

The top winners of the 2017 Invasive Species Action Week Youth Art Contest divisions were:

Grades 2-4

First Place: Jennifer Kang, 7, Mountain View, Springer Elementary School

Second Place: CJ Andelman, 10, Santa Barbara, Homeschool

Third Place: Lucia Wilkinson, 7, Carmichael, Cowan Fundamental Elementary

Grades 5-8

First Place: Aaliyah Zamorano (6th Grade), Roseville, Excelsior Elementary School

Second Place: Jaya Wollenberger (6th Grade), Roseville, Excelsior Elementary School

Third Place: Maria Ramirez, 14, Santa Cruz, Mission Hill Elementary School

Grades 9-12

First Place: Esmé Kim Ison, 17, Santa Monica, Santa Monica High School

Second Place: Summer Knight, 15, Roseville, Woodcreek High School

Third Place: Alexa Aitchison, 16, Chula Vista, Eastlake High School

CDFW congratulates all the participants for their excellent work, and thanks the teachers, nature centers, volunteer organizations and parents who encouraged, educated and assisted the students.

For more information or to obtain artwork images, please contact the Invasive Species Program at invasives@wildlife.ca.gov.

Media Contacts:
Rachael Klopfenstein, CDFW Invasive Species Program, (916) 651-3122
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

 

June 2017 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

DATE — EVENT

Various Days — Bat Talk and Walk at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, various times, 45211 County Road 32B (Chiles Road), Davis (95618). Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is home to approximately 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats. From mid-June to mid-September, the Yolo Basin Foundation provides a program for people to learn about bats and watch the colony fly. Reservations are required. To register, please visit www.yolobasin.org. For more information, please email cquirk@yolobasin.org.

Various Days Guided Wetland Tours at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). A wildlife naturalist will lead a group, school or organization on a half-mile route through diverse wetlands. General information includes wildlife identification, behavior patterns and conservation efforts. Tours can be customized to include requested information. The minimum group size is 18 people and reservations are required. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

Various Days — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Multiple Hunting Opportunities. Wild pig, deer, bear, turkey, dove and quail hunts are available through the SHARE program. A $10.50 non-refundable application fee (plus handling fees) will be charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

Weekends — Ecological Reserve Tours at Elkhorn Slough. Volunteers lead walks every Saturday and Sunday at 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. The day use permit fee is $4.12 per person, ages 16 and older (permits may be purchased on-site). Groups of five should please notify staff that they are coming and groups of 10 or more can request a separate tour. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/places-to-visit/elkhorn-slough-er.

3-11 — California Invasive Species Action Week Begins. CDFW will kick off the fourth annual California Invasive Species Action Week on June 3. The goal of Action Week is to promote public awareness of invasive species issues and to encourage public participation in the fight against California’s invasive species and their impacts on our natural resources. CDFW will be partnering with other departments, agencies, organizations and volunteer programs across California to host more than 40 educational and “action” events including invasive species removals, habitat restoration projects, quagga mussel surveys, field outings, public presentations and youth activities. All events are open to the public, although some require registration. A schedule of events planned for around the state can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/CISAW.

12 — Wildlife Conservation Board Streamflow Enhancement Program Public Workshop, 10 a.m., Natural Resources Building, First Floor Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). Staff will conduct a public workshop featuring an overview of the program and highlighting new elements in the proposed 2017 Proposal Solicitation Notice, which is expected to be released July 3. Staff will be available to answer program questions and provide project consultation. For more information, please contact Brian Cary at (916) 324-7487 or visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

20 — California Fish and Game Commission Tribal Committee Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Howonquet Hall Community Center, 101 Indian Court, Smith River (95567). For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2017/index.aspx.

21 — California Fish and Game Commission Fishing Communities Meeting, 3 p.m., Howonquet Hall Community Center, 101 Indian Court, Smith River (95567). For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2017/index.aspx.

21-22 — California Fish and Game Commission Meeting, 9 a.m. both days, Howonquet Hall Community Center, 101 Indian Court, Smith River (95567). For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2017/index.aspx.

23 — CDFW Conservation Lecture Series, “Canary in the Cannabis Field: How the Fisher Illuminated the Conservation Concerns from Cannabis Cultivation on California’s Forest Lands,” 10 a.m. to noon., Natural Resources Building, First Floor Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). As part of the Conservation Lecture Series, Dr. Mourad Gabriel will discuss the effects of cannabis cultivation on forest ecosystems, focusing on the fisher as an indicator of negative impacts. Attendance is free. To register and for more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/lectures.

24 — Trout Fest 2017 at the Hot Creek Hatchery, 121 Hot Creek Hatchery Road, Mammoth Lakes ( 93546). Trout Fest is a free event that introduces youths to the basics of trout fishing, including basic fishing knots, casting, and how to clean and cook trout. Equipment is provided and no outside gear is allowed. Fishing is for youths 15 and under. For more information, please email troutfest@wildlife.ca.gov or visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/hatcheries.

Media Contact:
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

Sacramento River Between Keswick Dam and the Highway 44 Bridge Closed to Fishing

Regulations went into effect as of May 26, 2017 to close a 5.5 mile stretch of the Sacramento River to all fishing, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced. An emergency regulation had expired on Mar. 30, 2017, but was made permanent upon adoption of the Fish and Game Commission and filing with the Secretary of State.

The Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon population suffered an estimated 95 percent loss of juvenile natural production for the years 2014 and 2015 due to low reservoir storage and elevated water temperatures caused by the pervasive drought. Winter-run Chinook return to their natal rivers and streams every year to spawn.

“The prolonged drought that ended in 2017 has had a dramatic impact on winter-run, including the 2014 brood year, which will return as adults to spawn this year,” said CDFW Fisheries Branch Chief Kevin Shaffer. “It is vital to protect this year’s predicted small return of spawning adults and their young, and, over the next few years, to rebuild the stock and prevent extinction of winter-run Chinook.”

Maximizing adult spawning numbers is critical to the population. CDFW fisheries staff have evaluated recent winter-run Chinook spawning locations and have concluded that the majority of spawning occurs in the recently closed section above the Highway 44 bridge to Keswick Dam.

Although fishing for winter-run Chinook in this reach of the Sacramento River is not allowed under current regulations, incidental by-catch by anglers who are not targeting salmon has been documented and is significant, especially during low flow periods. Even if returned to the water, incidental by-catch stresses the fish, resulting in the potential loss of adults before spawning. A total fishing closure in the holding and spawning areas of winter-run Chinook is necessary to ensure this endangered fish population has the highest chance of survival.

As adopted by the Fish and Game Commission and in effect as of May 26, 2017:

Sacramento River below Keswick Dam, subsection 7.50(b)(156.5)

(B) From 650 feet below Keswick Dam to Deschutes Road bridge.

  1. From 650 feet below Keswick Dam to the Highway 44 bridge.

January 1 through March 31 with a bag limit of two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead and four hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead in possession.

Closed to all fishing from April 1 to July 31.

Open from August 1 through December 31 with a bag limit of two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead and four hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead in possession.

  1. From the Highway 44 bridge to the Deschutes Road bridge.

All year with a bag limit of two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead and four hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead in possession.

Media Contacts:
Kevin Shaffer, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 327-8841
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 201-2958