Nature Is Calling All California Families: CDFW Announces Nature Bowl 2021

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is inviting families across the state to participate in the fun and educational Nature Bowl 2021: Family Challenge Edition.

Nature Bowl has been an exciting science event for teams of third- through sixth-grade students for more than 35 years. Students usually compete in person at natural resource sites throughout CDFW’s North Central Region.

Last year saw the event cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, Nature Bowl has been reformatted for the times as a nature challenge to all California families with school-age students.

Just like the spring before us, it’s time for rejuvenation, time to emerge from winter hibernation, time to get outside and give your family 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.

Activity Challenges:

  • Nature Relay: Take a scavenger hunt safari to see the natural world nearby.*
  • Nature Investigations: Discover native plants, animals in your backyard or neighborhood.
  • Bell Ringers: Invent a fast-paced family game using Nature Bowl 2021 vocabulary.
  • Team Problem Solving: Decipher the events in 12 nature photographs.*
  • Enviromercials: Create a 60-second ad on a current nature topic specific to California.

The Nature Bowl Family Challenge is open from March 15 through May 14, 2021. Contact Genelle Treaster at CDFW’s North Central Region to register and receive your electronic entry package with details, worksheets and resources.

Boy with decoys at sunrise

January 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 — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Multiple Hunting Opportunities. Wild pig, waterfowl, turkey and quail hunts are available through the SHARE program. A $12.14 non-refundable application fee is charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

1 — Recreational Groundfish Fishery for Boat-based Anglers Closed. Species include rockfish, cabezon, kelp and rock greenlings, lingcod, 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.

2 — White and White-fronted Goose Season Opens in the Northeastern California Zone. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

7 — “Humbled: How California’s Monterey Bay Escaped Industrial Ruin” Virtual Event, 5:30 to 7 p.m. In their book, “Humbled: How California’s Monterey Bay Escaped Industrial Ruin,” local authors Glenn Church and Kathryn McKenzie recount the story of a divided community, an emerging environmental movement and the twists and turns that eventually dismantled plans for a vast industrial complex. Hear from the authors and learn about this pivotal event in California’s history of conservation. Hosted by the Elkhorn Slough Reserve, this event is free and available to stream live via Facebook and Zoom. For more information and to view the program, please visit www.facebook.com/events/801486314032275.

10 — Canada Goose Season Closes in the Northeastern California Zone. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

12— 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/meetings/2021.

12—California Fish and Game Wildlife Resources 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/meetings/2021.

13 — Duck Season Closes in the Northeastern California Zone. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

15 — White Geese and White-fronted Goose Season Closes in the Northeastern California Zone. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

31 — Duck and Goose Season Closes in the Balance of State Zone. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

31 — Duck and Goose Season Closes in the Colorado River, Southern San Joaquin and Southern California Zones. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

31 — Deer Tag Reporting Deadline. Deer tag holders must submit a harvest report for any 2020 deer tag by the Jan. 31, 2021 deadline. All tag holders must report even if they did not hunt, or they hunted unsuccessfully. Tag holders who do not report by this deadline will be charged a $21.60 non-reporting penalty fee when purchasing a 2021 deer tag drawing application or deer tag. To report your harvest online, please visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/customersearch/begin. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/hunting#9941260-tag-reporting.

###

Media Contacts:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8907
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

Black bear cub in rehab

California Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers Receive Financial Support from the State

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is directing approximately $550,000 in grant funding to 45 nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation organizations to immediately support care for injured, sick and orphaned wildlife. The funds are made available from taxpayer contributions to the Native California Wildlife Rehabilitation Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund.

“California’s injured, sick and orphaned native wildlife need our help now more than ever,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “We are proud to quickly make funds available to help these important partner organizations operate during difficult economic times.”

In 2017, Assemblymember Marie Waldron’s Assembly Bill 1031 created the Native California Wildlife Rehabilitation Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund on the state’s income tax form, and thanks to taxpayers’ generosity, more than $820,000 has been donated as of October 2020.

“I am so pleased these organizations will receive the funding they desperately deserve,” Waldron said. “Without them, California’s wildlife would suffer, which would mean we all suffer.  I’m honored to have played a role in conserving California’s abundant natural beauty.”

In 2019, these 45 organizations collectively cared for nearly 112,000 orphaned or injured wild animals, including bats, opossums, skunks, raptors, reptiles, foxes, songbirds, fawns, sea birds, coyotes, bears and many other native species.

CDFW acted swiftly to stand up the new competitive grant program to support and advance the recovery and rehabilitation of injured, sick or orphaned wildlife and conservation education. Funds may be used to support activities such as operations and ongoing facility needs, innovation in animal care (e.g., wildlife rehabilitation techniques, enclosure designs, diet and behavioral enrichment), post-release monitoring and conservation education for the public.

“The California wildlife rehabilitation community is incredibly grateful for this much-needed support,” said Rachel Avilla, president of the California Council for Wildlife Rehabilitators Board of Directors. “While 2020 has certainly taken its toll on many small organizations, our commitment to helping wildlife remains strong as injured and orphaned animals continue to need our help daily. We want to thank Assemblymember Waldron and her team for pushing this landmark legislation through and CDFW for being an excellent ally. We are profoundly grateful for their continued collaboration and support to help care for California’s precious wildlife.”

Consistent with the legislation, eligible organizations were required to document their status as a nonprofit organization that operates a permitted wildlife rehabilitation facility, complies with all conditions of its Wildlife Rehabilitation Memorandum of Understanding, and maintains active participation in the Wildlife Rehabilitation Medical Database.

###

Media Contact:
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 591-0140

Chinook Salmon

CDFW Awards $10.7 Million for Fisheries Habitat Restoration Program Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 27 projects that will receive funding for the restoration, enhancement and protection of anadromous salmonid habitat in California watersheds.

The grants, which total $10.7 million, were awarded through CDFW’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program (FRGP). Established in 1981, FRGP has included funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund since 2000. The federal fund was established by Congress in 2000 to reverse the declines of Pacific salmon and steelhead throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.

“The ongoing momentum to restore California’s habitat for these historic species hasn’t stopped as we face a global pandemic and devastating wildfires,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “Awarding these projects highlights the resilience, passion and vision for salmon recovery by our state’s restoration community, for which we are grateful.”

In response to the 2020 Fisheries Habitat Restoration Grant Solicitation, CDFW received 80 proposals requesting more than $40.6 million in funding. As part of the competitive grant program, proposals underwent a rigorous technical review by CDFW and NOAA scientists.

The 27 approved projects will further the objectives of state and federal fisheries recovery plans, including removing barriers to fish migration, restoring riparian habitat, monitoring of listed populations, and creating a more resilient and sustainably managed water resources system (e.g., water supply, water quality and habitat) that can better withstand drought conditions. These projects further the goals of California’s Water Action Plan and CDFW’s State Wildlife Action Plan, as well as addressing limiting factors specified in state and federal recovery plans.

The list of approved projects is available on the FRGP website.

###

Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, Watershed Restoration Grants Branch, (916) 216-7848
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

Pismo clams

CDFW Reminds the Public Not to Disturb Pismo Clams on Central Coast Beaches

With the re-opening of several State Parks beaches in San Luis Obispo County, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds visitors to avoid disturbing small Pismo clams and rebury any small clams they encounter.

“We have not seen a population boom of this magnitude in decades,” said CDFW Marine Environmental Scientist Derek Stein. “We are hopeful that these young clams could increase the chances of a recreational fishery returning to the central coast.”

Pismo clams were once prolific along central coast beaches, supporting a vibrant recreational fishery. Due to overharvest, illegal removals and other environmental conditions, the fishery has not rebounded to historical levels. Although it is currently legal to harvest clams recreationally, almost no legal-sized clams have been found in recent years.

Pismo clams are frequently encountered by people walking along the beaches or digging in the sand. CDFW encourages the public to leave the clams in the sand to help the population expand. Any disturbed clams should be immediately reburied to increase the chance of survival. Beachgoers may also notice interesting round formations in clam beds. These formations are created by the clams as they expel sand from their siphons and are not caused by other human disturbances. However, the tidal flat environment is sensitive and beachgoers should do their best to avoid disturbing clam beds.

Pismo clams can be harvested with a valid fishing license. Anglers may retain 10 Pismo clams per day if the clams meet the minimum size of 5 inches in greatest diameter north of the San Luis Obispo/Monterey county line, and 4½ inches south of the county line. All undersized clams must be immediately reburied in the area they were found. In Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, the season for Pismo clams starts Sept. 1 and ends after April 30. In all other counties, the season is open year-round. No commercial harvest is permitted.

With the help of the public we can all protect this once abundant and iconic central coast species. If you witness a poaching, wildlife trafficking or pollution incident, immediately dial the toll free CalTIP number, (888) 334-2258, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tips may also be submitted by texting to tip411 (847411). Anyone with a cell phone may send an anonymous tip to tip411 by texting “CALTIP” followed by a space and the message.

Tips can also be reported through the free CalTIP smartphone app, which operates similarly to tip411 by creating an anonymous two-way conversation with wildlife officers. The CalTIP app can be downloaded via the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.

###

Media Contacts:
Derek Stein, CDFW Marine Region, (805) 242-6726
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937