Category Archives: Conservation Education

California Fish and Game Commission Meets in Oceanside

At its December 2018 meeting in Oceanside, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) took action on a number of issues affecting California’s natural resources. The following are just a few items of interest from the meeting.

The Commission voted unanimously to extend the closure of the recreational red abalone fishery until April 1, 2021. In December 2017, the Commission closed the recreational abalone fishery season due to the declining abalone population because of starvation conditions. The commercial red abalone fishery closed in 1997.

The Commission voted unanimously to approve 15 Experimental Gear Permits to be issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) for the purpose of targeting brown box crabs with the goal of authorizing new methods of using existing commercial fishing gear to research potential new fishing opportunities. The Commission also approved a list of terms and conditions to be associated with the permits. A drawing took place following Wednesday’s meeting to identify the order of the fishermen who would receive one of the approved experimental gear permits.

The Commission took action to conform state groundfish regulations with recently adopted federal regulations that largely expanded groundfish opportunity for California recreational groundfish anglers.

CDFW staff gave a presentation on living with coyotes and the Wildlife Watch program, as well as announced the release of the Statewide Elk Conservation and Management Plan.

Commission President Eric Sklar, Commission Vice President Anthony Williams and Commissioner Russell Burns were present. Commissioners Jacque Hostler-Carmesin and Peter Silva were absent. This was Commission Vice President Anthony Williams’ last meeting. Beginning Jan. 7, 2019, he will begin serving as Legislative Secretary for incoming Governor Gavin Newsom.

The full Commission video and audio minutes, supporting information and a schedule of upcoming meetings are available at www.fgc.ca.gov. An archived video will also be available in the coming days.

The California Fish and Game Commission was the first wildlife conservation agency in the United States, predating even the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries. There is often confusion about the distinction between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Commission. In the most basic terms, CDFW implements and enforces the regulations set by the Commission, as well as provides biological data and expertise to inform the Commission’s decision-making process.

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

 

CDFW Releases Conservation and Management Plan for California Elk Populations

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released a Statewide Elk Conservation and Management Plan. The plan has undergone extensive public review and will help guide state wildlife managers’ efforts to maintain healthy elk herds. The plan builds on the success of efforts to reestablish elk in suitable historic ranges, and management practices that have resulted in robust elk populations throughout the state. It includes objectives for providing public educational and recreational opportunities, habitat enhancement and restoration, and minimization of conflicts on private property.

“This plan demonstrates CDFW’s commitment to build upon its strong foundation for the continued conservation of this iconic species for future management of California’s elk populations,” said CDFW Wildlife Branch Chief Kari Lewis.

There are three subspecies of elk in California: Roosevelt (Cervus canadensis roosevelti), Rocky Mountain (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) and Tule (Cervus canadensis nannodes). California’s 22 Elk Management Units (EMUs) collectively comprise the distribution of all three species within their respective ranges in the state. The plan addresses historical and current geographic range, habitat conditions and trends, and major factors affecting all three species statewide, also in addition to individually addressing each EMU. The EMU plans include herd characteristics, harvest data, management goals, and management actions to conserve and enhance habitat conditions on public and private lands.

More information about California’s Elk Management Program can be found on CDFW’s website.

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Media Contacts:
Brad Burkholder, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-1829
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

CDFW to Hold Public Meetings on Elk and Bighorn Sheep Environmental Documents

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), on behalf of the California Fish and Game Commission as Lead Agency pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act, is preparing draft environmental documents that address potential impacts resulting from the implementation of elk hunting regulations and bighorn sheep hunting regulations. Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines, section 15082(c), public scoping sessions will be held to identify potentially significant effects on the environment that may result from the proposed regulations, as well as any feasible mitigation measures that should be addressed in the draft environmental document.

Both meetings will be held Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 at the CDFW Wildlife Branch, 1812 Ninth St. in Sacramento (95811). The scoping meeting for elk will be held from noon to 1 p.m., and the scoping meeting for bighorn sheep will be held from 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Existing law (Fish and Game Code, section 3950) designates elk (genus Cervus) and bighorn sheep (subspecies Ovis canadensis nelsoni) as game mammals in California. Fish and Game Code, section 332 provides that the Fish and Game Commission may fix the area or areas, seasons and hours, bag and possession limit, sex and total number of elk that may be taken pursuant to its regulations. Fish and Game Code, section 4902 provides that the Commission may authorize sport hunting of mature Nelson bighorn rams.

State law (Fish and Game Code, section 207) requires the Commission to review mammal hunting regulations and CDFW to present recommendations for changes to the mammal hunting regulations to the Commission at a public meeting. Mammal hunting regulations adopted by the Commission provide for hunting elk and bighorn sheep in specific areas (hunt zones) of the state (California Code of Regulations Title 14, sections 362, 364 and 364.1). 

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Media Contacts:
Victoria Barr, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-4034
Regina Vu, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3728
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

CDFW Now Accepting Proposals for Ecosystem Restoration and Protection Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting proposals for ecosystem restoration and protection projects under its 2019 Proposal Solicitation Notice. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-2020, a total of $53 million will be made available for these grants, which are funded through Propositions 1 and 68.

Funding will be allocated according to a diverse set of priorities for projects statewide, including:

  • $24 million for the Proposition 1 Watershed Restoration Grant Program;
  • $7 million for the Proposition 1 Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program;
  • $4.4 million for Proposition 68 Rivers and Streams Restoration Grants;
  • $8.8 million for Proposition 68 Southern California Steelhead Grants; and
  • $8.8 million for Proposition 68 Habitat Improvement Grants.

This is the fifth of 10 planned solicitations under CDFW’s Proposition 1 Grant Programs and the first under Proposition 68.

“As we reach the halfway point in funding projects through Prop. 1, we are excited to stand up new programs under Prop. 68 and extend our reach to more areas of critical need,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “With these grant programs, we can sustain ongoing efforts while jump-starting new ones.”

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018 at 4 p.m. Proposals must be submitted online at https://watershedgrants.wildlife.ca.gov.

The solicitation, application instructions and other information about the grant programs are available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/watersheds/restoration-grants.

Approved projects will contribute to the objectives of California Water Action Plan and State Wildlife Action Plan, the Delta Plan, California EcoRestore and the fulfillment of CDFW’s mission.

Approved by California voters in November 2014, Proposition 1 provides funds to implement the three broad objectives of the California Water Action Plan: establishing more reliable water supplies, restoring important species and habitat and creating a more resilient, sustainably managed water resources system (water supply, water quality, flood protection and environment) that can better withstand inevitable and unforeseen pressures in the coming decades.

The California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access For All Act of 2018 (Proposition 68), approved by California voters in June 2018, provides funds projects that improve a community’s ability to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change; improve and protect coastal and rural economies, agricultural viability, wildlife corridors, or habitat; develop future recreational opportunities; or enhance drought tolerance, landscape resilience and water retention.

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Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, CDFW Watershed Restoration Grants Branch, (916) 445-1285

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

November 2018 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, please 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. The day use permit fee is $4.12 per person, ages 16 and older (permits may be purchased onsite). 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 Deadline for Multiple Hunting Opportunities. Wild pig, bear, turkey, dove and quail hunts are available through the SHARE program. An $11.62 non-refundable application fee is charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

First Through Third Saturdays and Sundays of the Month — Sandhill Crane Wetland Tours at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, 7730 W. Woodbridge Road, Lodi (95242). Online registration has begun for those wishing to participate in guided tours, which run October through February. A one-day Lands Pass must be purchased to attend and instructions are available on the same website. Tours fill fast and registration may be done as much as six weeks in advance. To registers or to find  more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/3/crane-tour.

Weekends, Beginning Oct. 20 — Guided Wildlife Tours at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948), 12:30 p.m. The 90-minute walking tour covers slightly more than a half mile through this premier birding spot that highlights migratory waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. Tours are canceled in heavy rain. No reservations are necessary for groups of less than 20 people. This land is part of the CDFW Lands Pass Program and its associated fee-for-use requirement. There is no additional cost for the tour. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

2 — Last Day of Recreational Crab Trap Ban in All Ocean Waters. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/marine/calendar.

2 — Nimbus Hatchery Fish Ladder Opens, 10:30 am, Nimbus Hatchery, 2001 Nimbus Road, Rancho Cordova (95670). The opening of the fish ladder signals the start of the spawning season for Chinook salmon on the American River. Throughout the fall, the public can view the ladder and the spawning operations at the Nimbus Hatchery Visitor Center. The hatchery is open daily, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p. m. on weekends, free of charge. For more information, please contact Laura Drath at (916) 358-2884 or laura.drath@wildlife.ca.gov or visit www.facebook.com/nimbushatchery.

2-3 — California Department of Fish and Wildlife Volunteer Day, 8:30 a.m.to 12:30 p.m., Friant Interactive Nature Site, 17413 N Friant Rd, Friant (93626). Activities will include trail maintenance, and water, snacks and sunscreen will be provided. Participants should wear work clothes, closed-toed shoes and hats. Volunteers under 18 years of age must bring a signed parent permission slip. For more information, please contact Cheryl Moxley at (559) 696-8092 or r4salmonidsclassroom@wildlife.ca.gov.

3 — First Day of Recreational Dungeness Crab Season. Please note that the recreational Dungeness fishery has been delayed in state waters from Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County (41° 8.00’ N. Latitude) north to the California/Oregon state line due to unhealthy levels of domoic acid. Other areas of the coast will open as scheduled. For more information, please visit https://bit.ly/2EJb8z1.

3 — Scaup Season Opens in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, Southern California, Colorado River and Balance of State zones (extends through Jan. 27). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

3 — White Goose Season Opens in the Imperial County Special Management Area (extends through Jan. 27). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

3 — General Deer Season Opens in Zone D12. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

4 — General Deer Season Closes in Zones D17, D19. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

6 — Last Day of Emergency Increase in Purple Sea Urchin Bag Limit in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/marine/calendar.

8 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Lower American River Conservancy Program Advisory Committee, 10 a.m. to noon, Sacramento County Board Chambers, 700 H St., Suite 1450, Sacramento (95814). For more information, please visit www.wcb.ca.gov or call (916) 445- 8448.

8 — Black Brant Season Opens in the Northern Brant Special Management Area (extends through Dec. 14). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

9 — Black Brant Season Opens in the Balance of State Brant Special Management Area (extends through Dec. 15). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

10 — Pheasant, Fall Wild Turkey and Late Season Dove Openers. General Pheasant Season Opens Statewide and Extends through Dec. 23; Fall Wild Turkey Season Opens Statewide and Extends Through Dec. 9; and Late Season Dove Hunting Opens Statewide and Extends Through Dec. 24.  For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

11 — General Deer Season Closes in Zones D11, D13–D15, X9c. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

14 — California Fish and Game Commission Marine Resources Committee Meeting, time to be determined, Resources Building, First Floor Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2018/index.aspx.

15 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Meeting, 10 a.m., Resources Building, First Floor Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). For more information, please visit www.wcb.ca.gov or call (916) 445- 8448.

15 — First Day of Commercial Dungeness Crab Season, South of Sonoma-Mendocino County Line (scheduled). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/marine/calendar.

15 — 2019 Sport Fishing Licenses Available. The 2019 sport fishing licenses become available at various sites. For more information or to purchase a license online, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing.

25 — General Deer Season Closes in Zones D12, D16. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

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Media Contact:
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988