CDFW Pollution Patrols Result in Arrests, Cleanup of Dry Creek Dump Site

A two-year effort by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to monitor a popular northern California “dumping ground” for hazardous materials has been very successful, resulting in 34 citations, multiple towed vehicles and three felony arrests over the last 24 months.

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Since early 2018, CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division has received many complaints regarding illegal dumping of petroleum products, garbage and various hazardous materials in and around Dry Creek near the border of Placer and Sacramento counties. This remote area, which is home to many fish and wildlife species, was regularly being used as a trash dumping site for everything from broken household appliances to hazardous waste and stolen cars.

“We set up a surveillance patrol one night, simply hiding nearby and waiting to see if someone would come by and dump their waste,” said lead investigator Warden Ryan Hanson of CDFW’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response. “At first we weren’t sure if the effort would pay off … but it paid off immediately.”

After their initial success, Warden Hanson and fellow wildlife officers set up 19 more pollution patrols in the area. It quickly became clear that the location was a hotspot for illegal activity, and officers rarely had a dull night.

Not all of the law enforcement actions taken were pollution related. During one of the patrols, wildlife officers observed a vehicle stop briefly right in the middle of the road before driving off.  When the vehicle left, Warden Hanson drove to the spot expecting to find some type of garbage strewn about. What he found was worse. Two dogs had been ejected from the vehicle and abandoned. Muzzles and leashes were still attached to both dogs, which would have prevented them from eating had they not been found by the officers. Warden Hanson stayed with the dogs while Warden Perry Schultz  sped after and detained the suspect. With the help of Placer County animal control officers and staff from the Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic, the dogs received veterinary care right away. While one did not survive due to its extremely poor condition, the other responded to veterinary treatment and recovered over the following months, eventually being adopted into a loving home. The individual who dumped the dogs pled to a felony charge of cruelty to animals. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail, a 120-day suspended jail sentence and 40 hours of community service. He must also pay $4,000 restitution and has been given a 10-year ban on owning any dogs or pets.

Other notable cases include three separate instances of negligent discharge of a firearm, where officers witnessed suspects shooting from their vehicles in the direction of surrounding residences. In all three instances, officers stopped the suspects and took them into custody after confiscating the weapon. A total of four firearms were involved – all of which were either stolen or illegally possessed.

Yet another case involved a fire that was started near the illegal dump site. Wildlife officers had to deploy fire extinguishers and summon help from the fire department to keep the flames from approaching a residence nearby.

Throughout the duration of this effort, wildlife officers watched illegal activity unfolding right in front of them. In the dead of night, they watched individuals dispose of used motor oil and other petroleum products, paint, paint thinner and other hazardous materials, as well as tires, mattresses, construction materials and other waste. Much of the dumping occurred in Dry Creek or ditches that emptied into Dry Creek. In each case the violators were contacted, told to remove the trash they had dumped and issued citations with a written promise to appear in court for the offense.

“It’s never ok to use public property as your personal landfill,” said Warden Hanson. “It was gratifying to catch these individuals in the act, to stop them and send a message that this behavior is criminal and extremely damaging to the environment. It will not be tolerated.”

CDFW thanks the Sacramento and Placer County District Attorney’s Offices for their effort to prosecute these cases.

More information about how to properly dispose of hazardous waste in Placer County or Sacramento County can be found online.

CDFW encourages the public to report environmental crimes such as water pollution and poaching to the CalTIP hotline by calling (888) 334-2258 or by texting information to “TIP411 (847411).”

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Media Contacts:
Warden Ryan Hanson, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (805) 440-2593
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 508-7095

Adult volunteer helping a child learn to fish at Fred Hall Show

CDFW to Meet with Public, Sell Licenses and Warden Stamps at Central Valley Sportsmen’s Boat & RV Show

Bakersfield-area residents can purchase 2020 fishing and hunting licenses, validations and report cards directly from California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) staff at the 43rd annual Central Valley Sportsmen’s Boat & RV Show scheduled March 13-15 at the Kern County Fairgrounds in Bakersfield.

Attendees can learn how to become a wildlife officer by speaking with CDFW wildlife officers at the law enforcement trailer. The trailer features fish and wildlife mounts, and a free laser-shot activity. The 2020 Warden Stamp will also be available for purchase. Warden stamp sales help fund CDFW’s K-9 program and support purchases of enforcement equipment.

Also on display will be a restored 1925 Dodge truck once used by CDFW for transporting hatchery fish, along with a modern fish-transporting truck, where attendees can learn about historic and current fish-stocking procedures. As in previous years, there will be a free youth fishing pond stocked with rainbow trout provided by CDFW.

The show will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14. On Sunday, March 15, the show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

General admission is $12, with a Friday-only senior admission of $7. Children 12 and under are free.

For more information, please visit www.calshows.com.

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Vintage fish planting truck at Long Beach Fred Hall Show

CDFW to Sell Licenses and Warden Stamps, Meet with Public at Long Beach Fred Hall Show

Long Beach-area residents can purchase their 2020 fishing and hunting licenses, validations and report cards directly from California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) staff at the 74th annual Long Beach Fred Hall Show scheduled March 4-8 at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center.

CDFW leaders will participate in a discussion panel followed by a question and answer session. Participants will include Marine Region Manager Dr. Craig Shuman, Assistant Chief of the Marine Enforcement District Mike Stefanak and Inland Desert Region Fisheries Supervisor Russell Black, who will provide an overview of current natural resource and conservation topics and take questions from the public on a variety of issues. The panel discussion is scheduled Friday, March 6, at 3 p.m. in the Mammoth Lakes Seminar Theater. Wayne Kotow, Executive Director for the Coastal Conservation Association of California, will be the moderator.

In addition to the licensing and informational booth where attendees can speak directly to CDFW biologists, wildlife officers and licensing staff, attendees can also learn about a career in CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division by speaking with a wildlife officer at the law enforcement trailer. The trailer features fish and wildlife mounts and a free laser-shot activity. The 2020 Warden Stamp will also be available for purchase. Stamp sales help fund CDFW’s K-9 program and support purchases of enforcement equipment.

Staff from CDFW’s hatchery program will be available as well to talk about fish-rearing and stocking procedures, and a restored 1925 Dodge hatchery truck will be on display along with a modern fish-transporting truck. CDFW’s Fishing in the City program will be on hand to teach kids proper casting and fishing techniques, and kids can use these new skills to catch a fish at the free youth fishing pond stocked with rainbow trout provided by CDFW.

The show will be open from 1 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4, Thursday, March 5 and Friday, March 6. On Saturday, March 7, the show runs from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Sunday, March 8, the show is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Admission to the Long Beach Fred Hall Show is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors 62 and older, and $15 for military with ID (available only at the ticket window). Children 15 and under enter for free with a paid adult.

CDFW will also have staff at two other sport shows scheduled in March — the Central Valley Sportsmen’s Boat & RV Show March 13-15 at the Kern County Fairgrounds in Bakersfield, and the Del Mar Fred Hall Show March 26-29 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds (San Diego County).

For more information, please visit www.fredhall.com.

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

ocean salmon

Fisheries Biologists Present California’s Ocean Salmon Forecast for 2020

At the annual Ocean Salmon Informational Meeting held in Santa Rosa today, state and federal fishery scientists presented updates on the numbers of California’s spawning salmon, as well as the expected abundance for the upcoming fishing season. The 2020 ocean abundance projection for Sacramento River fall Chinook (SRFC), a main salmon stock harvested in California waters, is estimated at 473,200 adult salmon, higher than the 2019 forecasts. The Klamath River fall Chinook (KRFC) abundance forecast of 186,600 adult salmon is lower than the 2019 forecast and will likely result in reduced fishing opportunity in the areas north of Pt. Arena.

“The outlook for Sacramento River fall Chinook is better than last year, but this season’s fisheries will be tempered by protections needed to conserve low numbers of Klamath River fall Chinook,” said Jennifer Simon, an environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Ocean Salmon Project.

Recreational anglers and commercial salmon trollers at the meeting provided comments and voiced concerns to a panel of fishery managers, scientists and industry representatives. Stakeholder input will be taken into consideration when developing three alternatives for this season during the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meeting, which will be held March 3-9 in Rohnert Park. Final regulations will be adopted at the April 4-10 PFMC meeting in Vancouver, Washington.

The PFMC may take a conservative approach when crafting 2020 ocean salmon seasons since both SRFC and KRFC stocks are still considered to be overfished under the terms of the federal Salmon Fishery Management Plan.

For more information on the salmon season setting process or general ocean salmon fishing information, visit the Ocean Salmon Project web page or call the ocean salmon hotline at (707) 576-3429.

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Media Contacts:
Pete McHugh, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2870
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

March 2020 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

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

Various Days — Ecological Reserve Tours at Elkhorn Slough, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). 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. 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, visit wildlife.ca.gov/lands/places-to-visit/elkhorn-slough-er.

Various Days — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Multiple Turkey Hunting Opportunities. Spring turkey hunts are available through the SHARE program. A $11.88 non-refundable application fee is charged for each hunt choice. For more information, visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

Various Days through March 7 — Spring Wild Turkey Special Hunts Application Period. The application period for Spring Wild Turkey Special Hunts is open until March 7, 2020. These hunts are specially managed hunting opportunities on private and public lands. For additional information and to apply, visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds/hunts.

1 — California Invasive Species Action Week’s Youth Art Contest Opens. Youths in grades 2 to 12 can begin submitting entries for the California Invasive Species Action Week’s Youth Art Contest. This year’s theme is “Be a Habitat Hero.” Create an original piece showing the actions a “Habitat Hero” can take to protect your community by stopping the spread of invasive species. Examples include: a poster encouraging pet owners not to release pets; a public service announcement on a particular species; a video or brochure with instructions for cleaning your boats, boots or gear. Be creative! All types of media are welcome and encouraged: drawings, paintings, animations, comic strips, videos, public service announcements or campaign posters. Submissions must include a completed entry form and be received by May 1. For more information, visit wildlife.ca.gov/cisaw.

1 — Rockfish Fishery Opens for Boat-based Anglers in the Southern Management Area, Point Conception to the Mexico border. For more information, visit wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Groundfish-Summary#south.

4 — Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot Speaker Series Event, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., “Stewarding the Sierra Nevada Amidst Climate Change,” Natural Resources Building Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). Join Secretary Crowfoot, scientists, business experts and community leaders to discuss how we can protect the well-being of the Sierra Nevada and all Californians who depend on its resources. The event will be live-streamed on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/calwater.

4-8 — Fred Hall Show Long Beach, Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach (90802). Admission is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors (62 and older), $15 for military (with valid ID) and free for youths 15 and younger with a paid adult. CDFW will have staff on hand to answer questions from the public. Anglers can also purchase their 2020 licenses, validations and report cards, as well as the 2020 Warden Stamp directly from CDFW staff. Warden stamps sales help fund CDFW’s K-9 program and support purchases of enforcement equipment. For more information, visit www.fredhall.com/long-beach.

5 — California Fish and Game Commission Wildlife Resources Committee, 1:30 p.m., Natural Resources Building, Redwood Room, 14th Floor, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). The meeting will discuss the 2020 Simplification of Statewide Inland Fishing Regulations proposal. For more information, visit fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2020.

7 & 14 — Elkhorn Slough Reserve Teachers on the Reserve Workshop, Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). The free one-day workshop, which is offered on two separate Saturdays, introduces teachers to the Elkhorn Slough Reserve and its education fieldtrip program. To register, visit www.elkhornslough.org/education-program/teacher-development. For more information, please contact Virginia Guhin at virginia.guhin@wildlife.ca.gov.

9 — California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group. The California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group will hold a public meeting to provide information about their assessment of marine life entanglement risk, including any Working Group recommendations to the CDFW Director regarding the March 15 risk determination. There will not be a designated opportunity for public comment during the meeting, however feedback can be shared directly with the department via email to whalesafefisheries@wildlife.ca.gov. An agenda will be posted on www.opc.ca.gov/whale-entanglement-working-group. For additional details about the meeting, contact info@cawhalegroup.com or ryan.bartling@wildlife.ca.gov.

13-15 — Central Valley Sportsmen’s Boat & RV Show, Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 South P St., Bakersfield (93307). General admission is $12 with a special $7 admission for seniors on Friday, March 13. Youths 12 and younger are free. CDFW will have staff on hand to answer questions from the public. Anglers can also purchase their 2020 licenses, validations and report cards, as well as the 2020 Warden Stamp directly from CDFW staff. Warden stamps sales help fund CDFW’s K-9 program and support purchases of enforcement equipment. For more information, visit calshows.com.

17 — California Fish and Game Commission Marine Resources Committee, time to be determined, Justice Joseph A. Rattigan Building, Conference Room 410 (4th Floor), 50 D St., Santa Rosa (95404). For more information, visit fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2020.

18 — California Fish and Game Commission Annual Tribal Planning Meeting, time to be determined, Justice Joseph A. Rattigan Building, Conference Room 410 (4th Floor), 50 D St., Santa Rosa (95404). For more information, visit fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2020.

18 — Last Day of California Spiny Lobster Recreational and Commercial Fishing Season, Statewide. For more information, visit wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/invertebrates/lobster.

19 — Risk Assessment Mitigation Program and Conservation Plan Meeting, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., Bay Model, 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito (94965). CDFW’s Marine Region will be hosting an informational session to update the public on the proposed Risk Assessment and Mitigation (RAMP) Regulations and Conservation Plan currently in development for the commercial Dungeness crab fishery. This meeting will provide an overview of the proposed regulatory changes to help minimize marine life entanglement in the commercial fishery. These regulations will also be the foundation of the Conservation Plan which is required to apply for an Incidental Take Permit under Section 10 of the federal Endangered Species Act. This Conservation Plan will address endangered species interactions in the commercial Dungeness crab fishery through the use of risk minimization measures. For additional information about CDFW’s efforts to minimize marine life entanglement, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/whale-safe-fisheries. For details about the meeting, contact ryan.bartling@wildlife.ca.gov.

21 — Nest Box Survey, Orientation at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). This free orientation meeting is required for participation in a season-long field study. Crews of two or three collect detailed data, used to understand and enhance the local wood duck population and other wildlife. Commitment varies, averaging four hours, twice a month, April through July. Participation is open to the public, ages 18 and over. Due to limited space, please make reservations early. For more information, call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

21 — Additional Spring Wild Turkey Season Opens for Hunters with Junior Hunting Licenses (extending through March 22). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

23 — Lower American River Conservancy Program Advisory Committee Meeting, 10 a.m. to noon, Effie Yeaw Nature Center Assembly Building, 2850 San Lorenzo Way, Carmichael (95608). Parking fees apply. For more information, visit wcb.ca.gov/programs/lower-american-river.

25 — California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group. The California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group will hold a public meeting to provide information about their assessment of marine life entanglement risk, including any Working Group recommendations to the CDFW Director regarding the April 1 risk determination. There will not be a designated opportunity for public comment during the meeting, however feedback can be shared directly with the department via email to whalesafefisheries@wildlife.ca.gov. An agenda will be posted on www.opc.ca.gov/whale-entanglement-working-group. For additional details about the meeting, contact info@cawhalegroup.com or ryan.bartling@wildlife.ca.gov.

26 — CDFW Conservation Lecture Series, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m., “Taking photos of nature for science and conservation: utilizing technology to scale community-collected biodiversity data in California.” The Citizen Science program at the California Academy of Sciences engages tens of thousands of volunteers in California and beyond to document biodiversity, since understanding when and where species occur at scale can only be done through mobilizing people everywhere to make observations of their local nature. In this talk, Rebecca Johnson and Alison Young, Co-Directors of Citizen Science at the Academy, will highlight how they work with partners and communities to do this work and will discuss the resulting science, conservation and stewardship outcomes. Attendance is free. To register or learn more, visit wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/lectures.

26-29 — Fred Hall Show Del Mar, Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar (92014). Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors (62 and older), $10 with military identification and free for youths 15 and younger with a paid adult. CDFW will have staff on hand to answer questions from the public. Anglers can also purchase their 2020 licenses, validations and report cards, as well as the 2020 Warden Stamp directly from CDFW staff. Warden stamps sales help fund CDFW’s K-9 program and support purchases of enforcement equipment. For more information, visit www.fredhall.com/san-diego.

28 — General Spring Wild Turkey Season Opens (extending through May 3). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

28 — 7th Annual Sycamore Island Fishing Derby, 7 to 11 a.m., with registration beginning at 6 a.m., Sycamore Island, 39664 Avenue 7-1/2, Madera, (93636). Co-sponsored by Central Sierra Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the San Joaquin River Parkway & Conservation Trust, the San Joaquin River Conservancy and CDFW. The Sycamore Island Fishing Derby is a celebration of the San Joaquin River’s diverse fishing and recreational opportunities. Prizes will be awarded at noon to first and second place for youth (15 years and under) and adults. There is no charge to enter the derby, but participants are required to pay the regular Sycamore Island day use fee of $9 per vehicle and $5 per trailered boat. For more information and online registration, visit www.riverparkway.org.

28-29 — Elkhorn Slough Reserve Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Workshop, Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). This free two-day field and classroom workshop for middle and high school teachers focuses on developing lessons on hydrology, meteorology and soil-data collection. To register, visit www.elkhornslough.org/education-program/teacher-development. For more information, please contact Virginia Guhin at virginia.guhin@wildlife.ca.gov.

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