May 2021 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

All calendar items are subject to change as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to adhere to all safety protocols including physical distancing, wearing masks and frequent hand washing.

Wildlife areas, ecological reserves and other properties may be closed due to wildfire damage. Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to check for closures before leaving on any recreational trip.

Various Days — Nature Bowl 2021: Family Challenge Edition. Hosted by CDFW’s North Central Region, the 2021 Nature Bowl has been reformatted into a virtual nature challenge to all California families with school-age students. Spring is here, and it’s time for rejuvenation, emerging from winter hibernation and getting outside for a healthy dose of nature. Your challenge is to work together as a family to compete in five nature-themed activities – and possibly win cool nature-related prizes. Nature Bowl runs through May 14, 2021. For more information and materials, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/nature-bowl or contact Genelle Treaster at genelle.treaster@wildlife.ca.gov.

Various Days — Nimbus Hatchery Virtual Tot Time, 10 to 10:30 a.m. May 3, 10, 17 and 24. The popular story time program hosted by Nimbus Hatchery is back in a virtual format! Join us for nature-themed stories, songs, dancing and more! These free events are designed for ages 3-5. To register, please visit us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_rXPHcz1nTe-h7R1PyeW1ag. For more information, please contact Stephanie Ambrosia at stephanie.ambrosia@wildlife.ca.gov or (916) 597-7752. 

Various Days — Vernal Pool Virtual Tours, 9 to 10 a.m. May 8 and 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 19. Explore these crucial, incredible habitats with Yolo Basin Foundation staff and volunteers through a virtual experience at the vernal pools of Grasslands Regional Park. Discover how vernal pools are naturally created, how they can be restored and how they provide unique habitat. Zoom in more closely to view amazing wildflowers and small creatures that call the vernal pools home. For more information and to register for these free events, please visit yolobasin.org/virtualwetlandtours.  

1 — Recreational Groundfish Season Opens for All Boat-based Anglers for the Northern and Mendocino Management Areas (Oregon-California State Line to Point Arena). Season opens for the following species: rockfish, cabezon, kelp and rock greenlings, lingcod, California scorpionfish (aka sculpin), leopard shark, soupfin shark and spiny dogfish, and other federally managed groundfish. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/groundfish-summary

1 — Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery Opens (until Nov. 15 or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier). For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/pacific-halibut.

1 — Virtual Tour of the Davis Wetlands, 10 to 11 a.m. Join Yolo Basin Foundation staff and docents to explore and learn about this managed, native California wetland ecosystem. Observe wildlife up close with our virtual spotting scope view! Registration is required to receive the Zoom event link. To register for this free event, please visit yolobasin.org/virtualwetlandtours.

3 — Archery Only Spring Wild Turkey and Additional Junior Spring Turkey Seasons Open (extending through May 16). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds

5 — Deadline for California Invasive Species Action Week Youth Art Contest. Students in grades 2-12 are invited to submit artwork on the theme, “Be an Invasive Species Detective!” All types of media are encouraged! Submit entries electronically by May 5, 2021. Find complete information at wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/invasives/action-week/poster-contest. Winners will be announced during California Invasive Species Action Week in June. Please send any questions to invasives@wildlife.ca.gov.

5-9 — World Migratory Bird Week at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Celebrate the diversity of birds migrating through Elkhorn Slough Reserve with an independent avian scavenger hunt, do-it-yourself crafts and an outdoor exhibit of bird artifacts. To find out more, please visit the event calendar at www.elkhornslough.org.

7 — International Migratory Bird Day Webinar, 10 to 10:45 a.m. What is the Pacific Flyway, and why is it key to the diversity of birds in California? Learn which migratory birds use the Pacific Flyway and how they move across the world in this free Zoom webinar hosted by Nimbus Hatchery Visitor Center naturalists. To register, please visit us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_8a2Mx7v4TSmf8J2x68m9vg. For more information, please contact Stephanie Ambrosia at stephanie.ambrosia@wildlife.ca.gov or (916) 597-7752. 

8 — Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Tour, 8 to 11 a.m., 45211 County Road 32 B, Davis (95618). Yolo Basin Foundation offers monthly tours of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, October to June. These tours are appropriate for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts and birders! Due to current guidelines, tours are limited to 20 people. Every individual must be registered to participate. For more information and to register, please visit yolobasin.org/wetlands-tours. There is a suggested donation of $10 per adult for tours. Donations support our wetlands education programs.

11 — California Fish and Game Commission Meeting, time to be determined. The meeting is to be held via webinar/teleconference due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit fgc.ca.gov.

11 — California Fish and Game Commission Wildlife Resources Committee Meeting, time to be determined. The meeting is to be held via webinar/teleconference due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit fgc.ca.gov.

11 — Vernal Pool Speaker Series: Plants of the Vernal Pools, 7 p.m. Take a closer look at the beautiful and unique plant species that call vernal pools home! Many of the gorgeous flowers that encircle vernal pools are fully protected and a rare treat to see. Carol Witham, botanist and vernal pool expert, will discuss the biology of these plants, why they grow in vernal pools and how to protect and safely view them. To register for this free event, please visit yolobasin.org/grpspeakerseries.  

14 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Lower American River Conservancy Program Proposal Solicitation Notice Closes. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. For more information, please visit wcb.ca.gov/programs/lower-american-river.

15 — Bat Talk and Walk Tickets On Sale. Did you know that an estimated 250,000 bats live under the Yolo Causeway during the summer? Yolo Basin Foundation hosts popular Bat Talk and Walk events where you can learn all about these amazing and beneficial animals and watch the “flyout” of the largest urban colony of Mexican free-tailed bats in California! This summer, the talk portion will be held via Zoom and the walk portion will be an in-person event to view the flyout. As in past years, there will be a few special nights for CDFW employees and their families. More information and registration links will be available at yolobasin.org/bats2021.

15-16 & 19 — Teachers on the Estuary Workshop, Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). This free hands-on estuarine science workshop focuses on developing inquiry-based lessons for middle and high school teachers. The 2021 TOTE Workshop focus will be climate change and blue carbon, and it will be held as two online learning sessions and one in-person field day at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve. During the field day, all state COVID protection protocols will be practiced, including mask wearing, physical distancing and a capacity on group size. To learn more and to register, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/teachers-on-the-estuary-workshop-2.  

20 California Wildlife Conservation Board Meeting, 1 p.m., via Zoom or teleconference. Public comment will be accepted per the agenda. For more information, please visit wcb.ca.gov.

21 — Endangered Species Day Webinar, 10 to 10:45 a.m. Find out which endangered species call California home and what their future may look like in this free Zoom webinar presented by Nimbus Hatchery Visitor Center naturalists. Learn about our native bees and discover what you can do to help them thrive! To register, please visit us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_RvlH50RnQXqfmoQCCyeS4A. For more information, please contact Stephanie Ambrosia at stephanie.ambrosia@wildlife.ca.gov or (916) 597-7752. 

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Media Contact:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8907

August 2020 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

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

Various Days — Yolo Basin Virtual Bat Fly Out Viewings, 8 p.m. Join the Yolo Basin Foundation on Aug. 5, 7, 11 and 13 on Facebook Live to watch 250,000+ bats as they leave their daytime roost under the Yolo Causeway at sunset to search for food. Registration is not required for these free events. To join, please visit www.facebook.com/yolobasinfoundation.

1 — Archery-Only and Falconry-Only Tree Squirrel Season Opens (extending through Sept. 11). For archery-only and falconry-only tree squirrel seasons, limits and zone maps, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/small-game.

1 — Surfperch Season Opens in San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. For current ocean recreational fishing regulations, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/regulations.

3 — Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program Public Hearing and Close of Public Comment Period. CDFW is proposing amendments in response to comments on the regulations originally released for public comment on May 15. CDFW will hold a public hearing on the proposed amendments at 10 a.m. and the public comment period will close at 11:59 p.m. Comments should address the proposed amendments, not elements of the original regulation package. Rulemaking documents and information on submitting public comments can be found at wildlife.ca.gov/notices/regulations/ramp. Public hearing details will be posted at wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/whale-safe-fisheries.

5 & 11 — Virtual Bat Chats, 6 p.m. The Yolo Basin Foundation is holding two virtual Bat Chats via Zoom. These 45-minute presentations will share unique insights about bats found in the area and provide an opportunity for participants to ask questions about these amazing and essential animals. Participants will also get a close-up, live view of three bat species native to California. Registration is $15 and each event is limited to 20 registered devices. To view the schedule and register online, please visit yolobasin.org.

8 — General Deer Hunting Season Opens. California’s 2020 general deer season will open in Zone A on Saturday, Aug. 8, and in Zone B-4 on Saturday, Aug. 22. The opener for zones B1-B3, B5, B6, C1-C4, D6 and D7 is Saturday, Sept. 19. More information about general deer season opener dates, end dates and additional hunts is available at wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer. Please remember to report your deer tags! All deer tags you purchase, whether you hunt or not, must be reported. Successful hunters must report their tags within 30 days of their successful hunt or by Jan. 31, 2021, whichever is first. Hunters who are unsuccessful or who do not hunt are required to report by Jan. 31, 2021. Hunters are reminded that as of July 1, 2019, nonlead ammunition is required when taking any wildlife for any purpose in California.

8 — First General Season for Black Bears Opens in Deer Hunting Zone A. General black bear season will open concurrently with the general deer hunting season in deer zones A, B, C, D, X8, X9A, X9B, X10 and X12 and extend through Dec. 27. Please note these deer zones have varying opening season dates. General season for black bears opens in deer hunting zones X-1 through X-7b on Oct. 10 and extends through Dec. 27. CDFW shall close the season earlier if 1,700 bears have been reported taken. For daily updates on reported bear harvest, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/bear or call toll-free (888) 277-6398. Please visit fgc.ca.gov/Regulations/Current/Mammals for a description of the current mammal hunting regulations.

9  Last Day of Recreational Ocean Salmon Season from the Oregon/California State Line to Horse Mountain. Recreational ocean salmon fishing closes in the area between the Oregon/California state line and Horse Mountain after Aug. 9. Recreational ocean salmon fishing remains open to the south, between Horse Mountain and the 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 — CDFW-OSPR California Oil Spill Study and Evaluation Program (COSSEP) Monthly Seminar Series, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The seminar this month is entitled “Evaluation of Subchronic and Developmental Toxicity of the Dispersant Corexit 9500.” CDFW-OSPR scientist, Ellen Faurot-Daniels will present research regarding injury assessment of shorelines. Online attendance is free. Attendees can join via Microsoft Teams Meeting or by phone at (916) 535-0984, conference ID 859 512 379#. For more information or to receive a calendar reminder, please email Bryand Duke at bryand.duke@wildlife.ca.gov.

15 — Spiny Lobster Report Cards Go on Sale. Sport lobster fishermen and fisherwomen can purchase a Spiny Lobster Report Card for the 2020-2021 lobster season on CDFW’s Online License Sales site at wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/online-sales or, if open for business, at CDFW license counters, sporting goods stores and tackle shops. Please note that CDFW license counters are currently closed indefinitely due to COVID-19 concerns. Before heading to a CDFW facility, please contact the regional headquarters office to determine if that facility has reopened.   

15 — Falconry-Only Pheasant, Quail, Chukar, Ptarmigan and Sooty (Blue)/Ruffed Grouse Seasons Open (extending through Feb. 28, 2021). For zone maps and other upland game season information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

15 — Archery-Only Quail, Chukar and Sooty (Blue)/Ruffed Grouse Seasons Open (extending through Sept. 4). For zone maps and other upland game season information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

15 — Archery Season for Black Bears Opens. Bear may be taken with bow and arrow beginning Aug. 15 in those areas defined in 365(a) as the Northern California, Central California, Southern Sierra, Southern California and Southeastern Sierra areas and shall close on Sept. 6. CDFW shall close the season earlier if 1,700 bears have been reported taken. For daily updates on reported bear harvest, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/bear or call toll-free (888) 277-6398. Please visit fgc.ca.gov/Regulations/Current/Mammals for a description of the current mammal hunting regulations and American black bear hunt zone boundary descriptions. The bag and possession limit for either archery or general season is one adult bear per hunting license year. Cubs and females accompanied by cubs may not be taken.

18 — California Fish and Game Commission Tribal Committee Meeting. The meeting is to be held via webinar/teleconference due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit fgc.ca.gov.

19-20 — California Fish and Game Commission Meeting. The meeting is to be held via webinar/teleconference due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit fgc.ca.gov.

26 California Wildlife Conservation Board Meeting, 10 a.m., via Microsoft Teams Meeting or teleconference. Public comment will be accepted per the agenda. For more information, please visit wcb.ca.gov.

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Media Contact:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 817-0434

Little brown myotis

All for the Benefit of Bats: CDFW Celebrates “Bat Week” in California

October 24-31 is Bat Week, an annual international celebration of these fascinating winged mammals and the important role they play in our environment.

California is home to 25 species of bats, ranging from the commonly found Mexican free-tailed bat, a medium-sized bat that makes its home in caves, attics, under bridges and in abandoned structures, and canyon bat, smallest of California’s bats with a wingspan of about seven inches, to the western mastiff bat, which has a wingspan of almost two feet.

Bats – which are the only mammals that can fly – can be found in just about every corner of California. They serve several hugely important functions, including pest management, pollination of rare plants and seed dispersal.

About two-thirds of bats are insectivorous. Each night, a bat will consume between 50 and 100 percent of its own weight in insects. They protect our food crops and timber industry – worth more than $57 billion per year – and if it weren’t for bats, farmers might need to use far more chemical pesticides than they do now. Nationwide, the service bats provide to American agriculture by suppressing insect populations has been valued at an estimated $4 billion to $50 billion per year.

Unfortunately, population declines have caused 17 of California’s 25 native bat species to receive some level of state or federal protection. And the threat is only increasing.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) biologists are preparing for the possibility of the introduction of a fungus known to be deadly to bats. In June 2019, the fungus that causes White-nose Syndrome (WNS) was detected in low levels for the first time in Plumas County. The fungus – Pseudogymnoascus destructans – grows in and on bats’ skin during winter hibernation and spreads quickly through bat colonies. WNS has killed more than six million bats elsewhere in the U.S. and minimizing its impacts on California’s bats is a top priority for CDFW’s Nongame Wildlife Program.

“Given the huge impact WNS has had on eastern populations of bats, and its occurrence now in Washington state, it is essential to be vigilant for signs of an outbreak of the disease in California so we can take appropriate action, when needed,” says Scott Osborn, CDFW’s lead for WNS response.

Californians can learn more about WNS, including how to report bats that could be suffering from the disease, on CDFW’s website.

In addition to reporting bats that might be suffering from WNS, other ideas to promote bat conservation can be found on the Bat Week 2019 website. For example:

  • You can report bat sightings using the North American Bat Tracker, and help biologists document the location and health of existing bat colonies.
  • You can take an urban bat walk in many communities. Contact your local nature center, museum, zoo or other educational institution to see if a bat expert is available to lead a walk.
  • You can build a bat house for your own yard, helping to promote a healthy environment in your own backyard.
  • You can plant a bat-friendly garden that attracts night pollinators, like moths, that bats like to eat.

“In addition to the important ecosystem functions they provide, bats are simply amazing animals,” says Osborn. “They occupy a completely unique niche among animals: they fly, they use echolocation to navigate at night and capture insects in complete darkness, and many hibernate to escape the harsh conditions of winter when their insect prey is unavailable. When you consider all these adaptations are packaged in an animal that weighs about as much as a nickel, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe.”

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Media Contacts:
Scott Osborn, CDFW Nongame Wildlife Program, (916) 324-3564

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

August 2019 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

Various Days — Bat Talk and Walk at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. Various times, 45211 County Road 32 B, Davis (95618). Each year, from June through September, the Yolo Basin Foundation offers “Bat Talk and Walk” tours. The tour begins with a 45-minute indoor presentation on bat natural history, after which attendees are shuttled to the outdoor viewing area to witness firsthand the spectacular aerial performance of the Mexican free-tailed bats. Pre-registration is required at http://yolobasin.org. For more information, please contact Corky Quirk at cquirk@yolobasin.org.

Various Days — Ecological Reserve Tours at Elkhorn Slough. Volunteers lead walks every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 11 a.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 or more 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.

Various Days — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadlines for Multiple Hunting Opportunities. Wild pig, deer, bear, turkey, dove and quail hunts are available through the SHARE program. A $11.00 non-refundable application fee (plus handling fees) is charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

Various Days — Guided Wetland Tours, By Reservation, at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Rd., Gridley (95948). A wildlife naturalist will lead your group, school or organization through the diverse wetlands of the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. General information includes wildlife identification, behavior patterns and conservation efforts. Your experience can be catered to include requested information, along a half-mile, walking route. Minimum group size is 18 people. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

3 — Archery-Only and Falconry-Only Tree Squirrel Season Opens (extending through Sept. 13). For archery-only and falconry-only tree squirrel season and zone descriptions, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/current/mammalregs.aspx#307. To view a map of tree squirrel hunting zones, please visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/filehandler.ashx?documentid=109005&inline.

7-8 — California Fish and Game Commission Meeting, scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday and 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Natural Resources Building, Auditorium, First Floor, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento, CA 95814. For more information, please visit https://fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2019.

10 — General Deer Hunting Season Opens. California’s 2019 general deer season will open in zone A on Saturday, Aug. 10, and in zone B-4 on Saturday, Aug. 24. The opener for zones B1-B3, B5, B6, C1-C4, D6 and D7 is Saturday, Sept. 21. General deer season opener dates for other zones, season end dates and information about additional hunts are available on the CDFW website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer. Please remember to report your deer tags! All deer tags you purchase, whether you hunt or not, must be reported. Successful hunters must report their tags within 30 days of their successful hunt or by Jan. 31, 2020, whichever is first. Hunters who are unsuccessful or who do not hunt are required to report by Jan. 31, 2020. Hunters are reminded that as of July 1, 2019, nonlead ammunition is required when taking any wildlife for any purpose in California.

10 — The First General Season for Black Bears Opens in Deer Hunting Zone A. General black bear season will open concurrently with the general deer hunting season in deer zones A, B, C, D, X8, X9A, X9B, X10 and X12 and extend through Dec. 29. Deer zones A, B, C, D, X8, X9A, X9B, X10 and X12 have different deer season opening dates depending upon the deer zone. General season for black bears opens in deer hunting zones X-1 through X-7b on Oct. 12, and extends through Dec. 29. CDFW shall close the season earlier if 1,700 bears have been reported taken. For daily updates on reported bear harvest, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/bear or call toll-free (888) 277-6398. Please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/current/mammalregs.aspx for a description of the current mammal hunting regulations.

15 — Evenings at the Estuary Lecture: Stories of the Southern Sea Otter, Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). The Elkhorn Slough Reserve will host a panel discussion on Sea Otters in the Monterey Bay. Panelists Michelle Staedler (Monterey Bay Aquarium), Melissa Miller (CDFW) and Ron Eby (Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve) will share highlights from their research and conservation efforts. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period. This is a free community event and preregistration is not required.For more information, please contact Ariel Hunter at ariel.hunter@wildlife.ca.gov.

17 — Falconry-Only Pheasant, Quail, Chukar, Ptarmigtan and Sooty (Blue) Grouse/Ruffed Grouse Seasons Open (extending through Feb. 29). For zone maps and other upland game season information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

17 — Hunting with Air Guns – Advanced Hunter Education Clinic, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Hungry Valley State Recreation Area. This hands-on clinic will cover hunting with air gun related regulations, species, history, equipment, maintenance, sighting in and more. For more information about Advanced Hunter Education classes and to register for this clinic, please visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunter-education.

17 — Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area Annual Clean-up Day, 7 a.m. to noon, 9256 Highway 162, Butte City (95920). People will participate in cleanup activities on all three units of the wildlife area (the Llano Seco, Little Dry Creek and Howard Slough units) in preparation for the upcoming waterfowl season. Activities typically involve cleaning and brushing up hunting blinds, and improving area signage and field markers. Volunteers should bring gloves, work boots and sunscreen. Water and insect repellent will be provided. Barbecue lunch to follow. For more information or to register, please contact the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area office at (530) 982-2169.

17 — Archery Season for Black Bears Opens in each of the five American black bear hunt zones, Northern California, Central California, Southeastern Sierra, Southern Sierra and Southern California, extending through Sept. 8, 2019. CDFW shall close the season earlier if 1,700 bears have been reported taken. For daily updates on reported bear harvest, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/bear or call toll-free (888) 277-6398. Please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/current/mammalregs.aspx for a description of the current mammal hunting regulations and American black bear hunt zone boundary descriptions. The bag and possession limit for either archery or general season is one adult bear per hunting license year. Cubs and females accompanied by cubs may not be taken.

17 — Grasslands Wildlife Areas-Refuges Outreach Meeting, 9 a.m. to noon at the Grassland Environmental Education Center, 18110 W. Henry Miller Road in Los Banos (93635). CDFW staff and federal wildlife refuge managers will take comments and recommendations and provide updates on habitat conditions, availability of water for wetlands and possible impacts to hunter access on Type A wildlife areas that include Mendota, Los Banos, Volta, North Grasslands, the Merced National Wildlife Refuge and the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge. The Grassland Water District also will make a short presentation on refuge water supply. Please email sean.allen@wildlife.ca.gov if you are planning to attend so enough seating and refreshments can be arranged.

21 — Archery-Only Quail, Chukar and Sooty (Blue)/Ruffed Grouse Seasons Open (extending through Sept. 10). For zone maps and other upland game season information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

24 — Sunset Saturday, Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Participants can enjoy a sunset on the Slough, with the reserve open to the public until 8 p.m. All visitors must check in at the Visitor Center before entering the trails. 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). For more information, please contact Ariel Hunter at ariel.hunter@wildlife.ca.gov.

24-25 — Volunteer Training for School and Youth Program Guides, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076), from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Elkhorn Reserve will offer training for individuals interested in volunteering with school and youth groups at the reserve. The workshop will prepare volunteers to lead K-12 students in lab and field activities. Interested participants can find more information and register online at www.elkhornslough.org/events/reserve-education-volunteer-training.

27 — CDFW Conservation Lecture Series, 1 to 3 p.m., “Drought Stressor Monitoring: Summary of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Statewide Drought Response,” presented by Kristine Atkinson. To understand the status of California’s at-risk aquatic species and habitat conditions during the historic 2012-2016 drought, CDFW responded by collecting information on stream temperature and dissolved oxygen, the status and extent of habitat fragmentation, and impacts on aquatic species. Collection of this information was critical as a baseline understanding for management actions taken during and post-drought. Attendance is free. To register or learn more, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/lectures.

28 — Wildlife Conservation Board Meeting, 10 a.m. Natural Resources Building, First Floor Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). The public is invited to attend. For more information, please visit https://wcb.ca.gov.

28 — Last Day of Recreational Ocean Salmon Season from Pigeon Point to the U.S./Mexico Border. All recreational ocean salmon fishing south of Pigeon Point will be closed through the remainder of the year. For more information, please visit the ocean salmon webpage at www.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.

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Media Contacts:
Sarah Guerere, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8974
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Deadly Bat Fungus Detected in California

The fungus that causes White-nose Syndrome (WNS), a deadly disease of bats, has been detected in low levels in California for the first time. Fungal DNA of Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) was detected in samples collected this spring from bats on private land in the Plumas County town of Chester. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have been preparing for possible detection of the fungus with partner organizations since 2009. While there is currently no indication the disease itself is affecting bat populations in California, the lab tests suggest Pd is here.

WNS awakens bats during hibernation, causing them to use energy reserves needed to survive winter, when insects they rely upon for food are not available. The fungus was first detected in New York in 2006 and spread incrementally. Bats that have contracted the disease have now been confirmed in 33 states and seven Canadian provinces. Including the recent California discovery, the fungus alone has now been detected in a total of five states.

WNS has killed millions of bats in the U.S., including more than 90 percent of the bats in some hibernation colonies. Since bats usually produce only one offspring per year, it could take decades for some populations to recover from a major die-off.

“WNS is considered one of the deadliest wildlife diseases, having killed over six million North American bats since it was discovered,” said CDFW Wildlife Veterinarian and Epidemiologist Dr. Deana Clifford. “WNS doesn’t affect human health or pets, but the ecological impacts of bat die-offs may indirectly impact agricultural systems through loss of the natural pesticide effect and nutrient cycling of bats.”

Until spring 2016, the westernmost occurrence of Pd was in eastern Nebraska. In March of that year WNS was confirmed in Washington State—1,300 miles west of the nearest known location of the fungus. How it got there is unknown; Pd spreads through physical contact with an infected bat or Pd in the environment. Because spores are persistent, people can also spread the fungus from infected areas to non-infected areas on their shoes, clothes or gear.

Surveillance for WNS has been supported by a national program administered by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin in collaboration with FWS, Northern Arizona University (NAU), and Bat Conservation International (BCI). CDFW has worked with the National Park Service Klamath Network (NPS KLMN) and others to collect swab samples from bats around California since 2016. The samples tested for the DNA signature of Pd were negative until 2018, when one sample from a little brown bat maternity colony in Chester suggested the fungus may be present at low levels. In 2019, the same site and another in Chester yielded three bats with similar low-level detections.

Dr. Alice Chung-MacCoubrey of the NPS KLMN, who led the surveillance work at Chester and several other northern California sites, said, “The detection of Pd at Chester, even at these low levels, is troubling. It has now been detected in two successive years at two different sites and with testing by both the NWHC lab and the NAU lab. In other parts of North America affected by WNS, low-level Pd detections preceded detection of the disease itself by one to four years.”

“Detection of Pd at the levels reported in Chester are possible thanks to advanced tools and surveillance networks in place today that we did not have in the years right after WNS was discovered,” said Jeremy Coleman, National White-nose Syndrome coordinator for the FWS, which leads the national response to the disease. “These very early indications that Pd is present allow for a more proactive response by local partners than what has been possible before. Just how long we’ll have before WNS emerges in California’s bats is a big unknown.”

CDFW leads the California WNS Steering Committee, a multi-agency scientific research group that has been monitoring WNS nationally since 2009. The Committee includes the FWS, NPS, U.S. Forest Service, USGS, BCI, California State Parks, U.S. Department of Defense and National Speleological Society (NSS). They developed a WNS response plan for California that outlines actions to be taken if the fungus or disease arrives in California.

“It is critically important for CDFW and our partners to follow up on these detections,” said CDFW Wildlife Ecologist Dr. Scott Osborn. “In the coming months and years, we will intensify surveillance for WNS, monitor impacts on bat populations, and assist with research on disease management. We hope disease treatment and prevention techniques currently in development will be available soon.”

Meanwhile, Osborn asks all Californians to be vigilant and cooperate with management actions that may be taken to slow the spread of WNS. People can assist with surveillance by reporting unusual behavior they see in bats. Sick or dying bats observed during winter in the colder regions of the state should be reported to CDFW at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/laboratories/wildlife-investigations/monitoring/wns/report.

According to Osborn, caving organizations like the NSS have helped collect important information about California’s underground bat roosts. People who enter caves and mines should follow decontamination protocols at www.whitenosesyndrome.org/static-page/decontamination-information, and do not transfer clothing or gear between certain sites.

Details about WNS and Pd are at www.whitenosesyndrome.org.

For photos and B-roll video, visit the White-nose Syndrome National Response Team newsroom at www.whitenosesyndrome.org/static-page/news.

Information about bat conservation is available at www.batcon.org.

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Featured image (above): Hibernating, healthy little brown bat by Ann Froschauer/USFWS

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Media Contacts:
Scott Osborn, CDFW Nongame Wildlife Program, (916) 324-3564
Catherine Hibbard, USFWS National WNS Response Team, (413) 531-4276
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420