Initiative Aims to Speed Coho Salmon Recovery in California Coastal Watersheds from Santa Cruz to Mendocino Counties

Coho salmon are getting a boost from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) strategic plan to prioritize salmon restoration and habitat improvement projects in coastal watersheds from Santa Cruz to Mendocino counties. In most of these watersheds, coho salmon are in severe decline or locally extinct due to human alterations to land and water resources.

The Priority Action Coho Team (PACT) is designed to focus much needed restoration to help maintain, stabilize and increase localized coho salmon populations. The approach of the PACT initiative is to identify and implement specific short-term actions, drawing from existing state and federal coho salmon recovery plans, to bring immediate benefits.

“PACT employs six strategies emphasizing planning actions and collaboration to accelerate coho salmon recovery from Santa Cruz to Mendocino counties,” said Kevin Shaffer, CDFW Branch Chief. “We look forward to working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) and our many partners on collaborating to recover this amazing fish.”

Watersheds where PACT restoration projects are being implemented include Scott Creek in Santa Cruz County and the Russian River in Sonoma County, where a range of projects to restore and improve stream and estuarine habitat have been carried out. These initiatives include recovery actions such as stream habitat restoration, water conservation, captive rearing and fish rescue, together with improvements to permitting, regulatory and enforcement processes.

PACT was developed jointly by CDFW and NOAA Fisheries, and is part of several initiatives to accelerate the implementation of ecological restoration and stewardship projects in California. Complimentary efforts include the Cutting the Green Tape initiative recently launched by the California Natural Resources Agency, other state agencies and the North Coast Salmon Project.

More information about the PACT process, as well as the link to the report, can be found on the CDFW website.

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Media Contacts:
Stephen Swales, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 376-1746
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (208) 220-1169

April 2020 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

All calendar items are subject to change as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

1 — Recreational Groundfish Season Opens, for all boat-based anglers in the San Francisco Management Area (Point Arena, Mendocino County to Pigeon Point, San Mateo County) and the Central Management Area (Pigeon Point, San Mateo County to Point Conception, Santa Barbara County). For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/groundfish.

1 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Stream Flow Enhancement Program Meeting, 10 a.m., via Skype or teleconference. For more information, please visit wcb.ca.gov.

2 — 150th Anniversary of the California Fish and Game Commission and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

4 — Recreational Ocean Salmon Season Opens from Pigeon Point to U.S./Mexico Border. For more information, please visit the ocean salmon webpage at wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon or call either the CDFW Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (800) 662-9825.

11 — Recreational Ocean Salmon Season Opens from Horse Mountain to Pigeon Point. For more information, please visit the ocean salmon webpage at wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon or call either the CDFW Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (800) 662-9825.

14 — CDFW-OSPR California Oil Spill Study and Evaluation Program Monthly Seminar Series, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., “Dry Stream Channel Assessment.” CDFW-OSPR scientist Daniel Orr will present some of his research regarding injury assessment of dry streams. Online attendance is free. To join via Skype go to meet.wildlife.ca.gov/bryand.duke/csgweop8. To join via phone dial (916) 210-1965, 94138#. For more information or to receive a calendar invite, please email Bryand Duke at bryand.duke@wildlife.ca.gov.

15 — 2020-21 Hunting Items on Sale. Hunters can purchase 2020-21 hunting licenses, tags, validations and apply for the annual Big Game Drawing. Items may be purchased online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales or by phone at (800) 565-1458. Sales transactions for the Big Game Drawing applications must be completed before midnight on June 2, 2020. Please contact a local CDFW license sales office for more information.

15 — Deadline to Submit Lobster Trap Loss Affidavits. Commercial lobster fishermen must submit an affidavit reporting trap loss for the 2019-2020 season. Forms can be found at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/filehandler.ashx?documentid=141218 and can be returned either by email to lobster@wildlife.ca.gov or by mail to 3883 Ruffin Road, San Diego, CA 92123.

15-16 — California Fish and Game Commission Meeting, time to be determined, teleconference/webinar only. For more information, please visit fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2020.

25 – General Trout Opener. The general trout season opens one hour before sunrise on many waters throughout the state – including all streams, lakes and reservoirs in Inyo and Mono counties, except those listed by name in the Special Regulations portion of the 2020-2021 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations. Anglers are advised to check specific area and water regulations and opening dates.

30 — Deadline to Report Spiny Lobster Report Cards. Divers and hoop netters who were issued report cards for spiny lobster must report either their harvest or effort by April 30, 2020. Report card holders who fail to return their Spiny Lobster Report Card or report their harvest online by the deadline will be assessed a $21.60 non-return fee when they purchase a spiny lobster report card for the following season. People may report online or mail their report card to the address printed on the report card. To report online, please visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/customersearch/begin.

CDFW Cancels April 25 Clean-Up Day at the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area; Annual Hunter Outreach Meeting Postponed

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has cancelled the annual, volunteer clean-up day scheduled for April 25, 2020, at the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in Butte County as a result of government orders and best practices to combat the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

CDFW will reschedule the legally mandated, annual hunter outreach meeting on North Central Region Type A Wildlife Areas – which includes Gray Lodge and the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area Complex (Little Dry Creek Unit, Howard Slough Unit, and Llano Seco Unit) – originally scheduled for April 25, 2020 – once health directives and conditions allow.

At this time, both the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area and the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area Complex remain open to public use – fishing, hunting, birding, hiking, etc. – as long as social distancing of 6 feet or more can be implemented. Offices at those lands are closed to the public.

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Media Contacts:
Dave VanBaren, CDFW North Central Region, (530) 846-7500
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 215-3858

Helicopter Elk Surveys to Be Conducted in Mendocino County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is planning to conduct helicopter surveys of elk in Mendocino County on March 12, 13, 14 and 15.

Aerial surveying is a common technique used by wildlife biologists to count deer, elk, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep populations throughout the state.

Many of the elk living in Mendocino County are found on private property, which means residents, tourists and motorists passing through the area may notice low-flying helicopters surveying for elk over private property during these days.

For additional information regarding the Mendocino elk helicopter surveys, please contact Angela Moran at (707) 445-5363.

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Media Contacts:
Angela Moran, CDFW Northern Region, (707) 445-5363
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

Drawings Available for Nearly 100 Spring Wild Turkey Hunts on Public, Private Land

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering nearly 100 special hunts on both public and private land for the upcoming spring wild turkey season, which opens statewide March 28 and extends through May 3.

Young hunters have additional opportunities to bag a tom turkey. Junior hunting license holders 17 and younger can hunt March 21-22, the weekend before the general opener, and two weeks after the general season closes, May 4-17, using shotguns or any other legal method of take. CDFW is offering 27 special turkey hunts reserved just for junior hunting license holders.

California’s archery-only spring turkey season runs from May 4-17. CDFW is once again offering a drawing for seven, archery-only hunts throughout the general and archery seasons near Millerton Lake in Madera County.

CDFW’s SHARE Program, which provides public hunting access to private properties, is offering drawings for spring turkey hunts on two private ranches in Tulare County, the 722-acre River Ridge Ranch and the 975-acre Hart Ranch, including one hunt reserved for junior hunting license holders March 22 at the River Ridge Ranch.

With growing populations of wild turkeys in almost every part of the state, the spring turkey season has become one of the most anticipated events on the upland game bird hunting calendar.

Shooting hours for spring turkeys are from one half-hour before sunrise to 5 p.m. Both a hunting license and an upland game bird stamp validation are required to hunt wild turkeys, although an upland validation is not required of junior hunting license holders.

Hunters are limited to one bearded turkey per day with a season limit of three birds.

Nonlead shot is required when taking wildlife with a firearm anywhere in the state. These regulations apply to both public and private land, including all national forests, Bureau of Land Management and CDFW properties. For more information on hunting with nonlead ammunition, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/nonlead-ammunition.

Applications for CDFW’s special spring turkey hunting opportunities must be made through CDFW’s Automated License Data System (ALDS). Hunts are grouped into four separate drawings: Junior Hunts, General Opening Weekend Hunts, Archery-Only Hunts and Balance of Season Hunts. There is a $2.42 application fee and only one application per hunter is allowed for each drawing. Applications allow hunters to select their top three hunt choices in order of preference. Hunters may only be drawn once per application. The application deadline for these hunts is as follows:

  • Junior Hunts: Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020
  • Opening Weekend General Season Hunts: Saturday, March 7, 2020
  • Archery-Only Hunts: Sunday, March 8, 2020
  • Balance of the Season Hunts: Wednesday, March 11, 2020

To apply, visit CDFW’s online sales site, sign into your account, select the “Purchase Licenses” link and select “2019 – Hunting” from the menu on the left side of the page. The spring turkey hunt application items will be available under the “Drawings” section on the right side of the page. After submitting your application, checking out and completing payment, you will be able to download a receipt confirming your entries into the drawings.

For more details and descriptions of these hunts, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/turkey-hunts.

Hunters will also find the “SHARE Hunts Multi Choice Application” available in the same location online after signing into their accounts. The application fee for the Tulare County private ranch turkey hunts is $11.88 per hunt with all proceeds returned to participating landowners to pay for these hunts and additional opportunities.

For more details and descriptions of these SHARE hunts, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share#51518483-general-hunts and select the links for the River Ridge Ranch and the Hart Ranch.

Media Contacts:
Matt Meshriy, CDFW Upland/Small Game Program, (916) 373-8816
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908