September 2019 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 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 — General Bear Season Opening in Select Deer Zones. 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.

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 non-refundable application fee (plus handling fees) 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 these guided tours, which run October through February. Registration is available online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/3/crane-tour. 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. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/3/crane-tour.

1 — Early season for Mourning Dove, White-winged Dove, Spotted Dove and Ringed Turtle Dove opens. For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

2 — Last Day of Recreational Ocean Salmon Season from the Oregon-California State Line to Horse Mountain. Recreational ocean salmon fishing remains open between Horse Mountain and Pigeon Point. 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.

3  California Fish and Game Commission Teleconference Meeting, 10 a.m. The agenda includes a discussion about appointing a new Executive Director of the Commission. For more information, please visit https://fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2019.

4 & 5  California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group, Santa Rosa. The California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group will meet in Santa Rosa. Interested members of the public may observe the discussion in person or listen via a conference line; however, there will not be a designated opportunity for public comment during the meeting. 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, please contact info@cawhalegroup.com or ryan.bartling@wildlife.ca.gov.

6 & 7  Volunteer Days, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., rain or shine. Come spend a fun day outdoors and help us keep the Friant Interactive Nature Site (FINS) looking great. Please park in the lot at Parker Street and Friant Road. Heading north on Friant Road, turn left on Parker Street and meet at the picnic tables down the trail. If you are under 18, please bring a signed parent permission slip. For more information, contact Deona Mitchell at (559) 243-4017 ext. 245.

7 — California Biodiversity Day, the first official celebration of an annual event created last year to celebrate the state’s exceptional biodiversity and encourage actions to protect it. All Californians are encouraged to get out and explore nature – including state parks, wildlife areas and ecological reserves – as part of a biodiversity open house on September 7-8, 2019. Go to www.wildlife.ca.gov/biodiversity to find more information about that weekend’s biodiversity open house event, including a bioblitz -that will take place in partnership with the California Academy of Sciences and iNaturalist, a popular nature app that helps identify plants and animals around you. iNaturalist is a collaboration between National Geographic and the California Academy of Sciences.

9 — Lower American River Conservancy Program, American River Parkway Tour, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  For more information, please visit https://wcb.ca.gov/programs/lower-american-river.

10 — California Fish and Game Commission Wildlife Resources Committee Meeting, 8:30 a.m., Justice Joseph A. Rattigan Building, Conference Room 410 (Fourth Floor), 50 D St., Santa Rosa (95404). For more information, please visit https://fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2019.

10 — CDFW Conservation Lecture Series, 1-3 p.m., Natural Resources Building, First Floor Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). Dr. Lisa Micheli presents “Report from a Russian River field station in the heart of the 2017 wildfire zone: Pepperwood’s integrated approach to evaluating and advancing landscape resilience.” In October 2017, more than 90 percent of Pepperwood’s 3,200-acre research reserve burned in the Tubbs Fire, providing an incredible opportunity to leverage nearly a decade of weather, hydrology and ecology data collection to improve our empirical understanding of fire in California’s Coast Ranges. While the organization regroups to rebuild critical facilities lost in the inferno, their ecologists are inventorying the impacts of the fire and scaling up what they are learning to inform resilience strategies across California as a whole. This presentation will highlight some early findings, share how Pepperwood will serve as a living laboratory for fire recovery and habitat restoration and highlight successful collaborations focused on building a knowledge base to support climate and fire resilience strategies in California’s inner Coast Ranges and beyond. Attendance is free. To register and for more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/lectures.

14 — Sooty (Blue) and Ruffed Grouse General Season Opens. Season extends through Oct. 14. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

14 — White-tailed Ptarmigan General and Archery Season Opens Statewide. White-tailed ptarmigan general and archery season opens statewide Sept. 14 and extends through Sept. 22. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

14 — Mountain Quail Season Opens in Zone Q1. Season extends through Oct. 18. The general season for Sooty (Blue) Grouse opens (extending through Oct. 14). The general and archery seasons for White-tailed Ptarmigan open (extending through Sept. 22). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

14 —Tree Squirrel General Season Opens. Season extends through Jan. 26, 2020. For more information on small game seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/small-game.

16 — Feather River Fish Hatchery Ladder Opening, 5 Table Mountain Blvd., Oroville (95965). The ladder will open and salmon spawning will begin the following week and continue through approximately mid-November. The hatchery is open from sunrise to sunset. For more information, please call (530) 538-2222 or visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/hatcheries/feather-river.

21 — General Deer Season Opens. General deer season opens in the general zones D6-7, the restricted zones B1-B3 and B5-B6, and the premium zones C1-C4, X9a, X9b and X12. Hunters should check for area closures and restrictions before heading to their destination. Information on closures is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/area-alerts. Tag reporting is required as the reports are vital to estimating populations and tag quotas. Please visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/customersearch/begin for information on reporting. Tag holders may also submit reports by mail to CDFW Wildlife Branch, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94299-0002. For general information on deer zones, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer#54774-zones–hunts.

21 — Coastal Cleanup Day 2019, 9 a.m. to noon, Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Volunteers will remove trash from the road bordering the reserve to keep the habitat clean and safe. Elkhorn Slough Reserve will provide materials and refreshments. All ages are welcome but those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Please keep in mind this cleanup is conducted along an active road. For more information, please contact Ariel Hunter at ariel.hunter@wildlife.ca.gov

21 — Band-tailed Pigeon Season in the North Zone Opens. Season extends through September 29. For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

21 & 22 — Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days for Northeastern California Zone. In order to participate, hunters must be 17 years of age or younger and accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older. People should contact the wildlife area or national wildlife refuge they wish to hunt for details. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

28 — General Deer Season Opens. General deer season opens in the general zones D3-5, D8 and D10, and the premium zones D9 and X8. Hunters should check for area closures and restrictions before heading out to their hunting destination. Information on closures is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/area-alerts. Tag reporting is required as the reports are vital to estimating populations and tag quotas. Please visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/customersearch/begin for information on reporting. Tag holders may also submit reports by mail at CDFW Wildlife Branch, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94299-0002. For general information on deer zones, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer#54774-zones–hunts.

28 — Elkhorn Slough Reserve Open House and Native Plant Fair, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Activities include guided walking tours, an opportunity to meet scientists, face-painting, and nature-themed arts and crafts. Visitors can also explore and take home a plant during the Native Plant Fair (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.). The annual event is free to the public. For more information, please contact Virginia Guhin at (831) 728-2822 or visit www.elkhornslough.org.

28 — Early Season for Large Canada Geese in the Balance of State Zone Opens. Season extends through Oct. 2. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

28 — Quail Season Opens in Zone Q2 (all quail).  Season extends through Jan. 26, 2020. For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

28 — 25th Annual Oroville Salmon Festival, Feather River Fish Hatchery, 5 Table Mountain Blvd., Oroville (95965), 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and in downtown Oroville, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature tours to view salmon spawning, informational booths, educational displays and vendor booths. For more information, please visit www.salmonfestoroville.org.

28 — General Deer Season Opens. General deer season opens in premium zone X10. Hunters should check for area closures and restrictions before heading to their hunting destination. Information on closures is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/area-alerts.Tag reporting is required as the reports are vital to estimating populations and tag quotas. Please visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/customersearch/begin for information on reporting. Tag holders may also submit reports by mail to CDFW Wildlife Branch, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94299-0002. For general information on deer zones, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer#54774-zones–hunts.

29 — California Spiny Lobster Recreational Fishing Season Opens Statewide at 6 a.m. For more information regarding lobster and lobster management, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/invertebrates/lobster.

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

CDFW to Hold Public Hearing on Proposed Dungeness Crab Trap Gear Retrieval Program

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is developing regulations to implement a retrieval program for lost or abandoned commercial Dungeness crab gear. A public hearing will be held at 10 a.m. on June 25, 2019 at the CDFW Monterey Office at 20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Monterey, Calif.

At the initial public hearing in Santa Rosa on April 2, CDFW proposed modifications to the program. A supplemental public comment period began May 10 and will run through June 24, 2019.

Under existing law (Fish and Game Code Section 8276(d)), all commercial Dungeness crab traps must be removed from the water by 11:59 p.m. on the last day of the commercial Dungeness crab season. Under the proposed program, qualified entities (Retrieval Permittees) and their designated agents can retrieve lost or abandoned commercial Dungeness crab gear remaining in the water after the close of the season. Retrieval Permittees must contact the Dungeness crab vessel permitholder and offer to return the gear in exchange for reasonable compensation. If reasonable compensation is not provided, CDFW will reimburse the Retrieval Permittee and levy fees against the vessel permitholder. The program is expected to reduce the amount of lost or abandoned commercial trap gear in ocean waters, which pose entanglement risk to marine life and navigational hazards to other boaters.

Interested individuals are encouraged to review the proposed regulations (www.wildlife.ca.gov/Notices/Regulations/Gear-Retrieval-Program) and to submit written comments prior to the close of the supplemental public comment period (5 p.m. on June 24) or give oral comments at the public hearing on June 25, 2019.

Media Contacts:
Morgan Ivens-Duran, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-2811
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Commercial Rock Crab Fishery Opens from Cape Mendocino to Humboldt Bay

Following the recommendation of state health agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced today that it will be opening the commercial rock crab fishery from near Cape Mendocino, Humboldt County (40° 30.00’ N. Lat.) north to the Humboldt Bay entrance at the north jetty (40° 46.15’ N. latitude), including all ocean waters of Humboldt Bay.

On Nov. 8, 2016, CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham submitted an emergency rulemaking to the Office of Administrative Law to close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point, San Mateo County upon the recommendation of the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). Since that time, portions of the fishery were sequentially reopened by the director in consultation with OEHHA under new authority granted by Fish and Game Code Section 5523. The commercial fishery was last modified in April 2018, when the fishery was opened between the Sonoma/Mendocino County line and the Mendocino/Humboldt County line.

The commercial rock crab fishery remains closed in all waters from the Mendocino/Humboldt County line (40° 00.00’ N. Lat.) to 40° 30.00’ N. Lat. (near Cape Mendocino, Humboldt County) and from the north jetty of the Humboldt Bay entrance (40° 46.15’ N. Lat.) to the California/Oregon border (42° 00.00’ N. Lat.). This closure shall remain in effect until the director of OEHHA, in consultation with the director of California Department of Public Health (CDPH), determines that domoic acid levels no longer pose a significant risk to public health and recommends the fishery be opened. CDFW will continue to coordinate with fishermen, CDPH, and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in rock crab within the closured area.

State and federal laws prohibit the commercial distribution of seafood products that contain domoic acid levels above the federal action level of 30 parts per million in the viscera. The recreational fishery for rock crab remains open statewide with a warning from CDPH to avoid consuming the viscera of crab caught between the Mendocino/Humboldt County line and Cape Mendocino, Humboldt County and from the north jetty of the Humboldt Bay entrance to the California/Oregon border.

Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin produced by a naturally occurring marine alga, whose levels can be increased under certain ocean conditions, and can accumulate in shellfish, other invertebrates and sometimes fish. It causes illness and sometimes death in a variety of birds and marine mammals that consume affected organisms. At low levels, domoic acid exposure can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness in humans. At higher levels, it can cause persistent short-term memory loss, seizures and death.

For More Information:
Memo from Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (5/23/2019)
CDFW Director’s Opener Declaration (5/23/2019)
www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Health-Advisories
www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab

Media Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2887
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

 

 

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season to Close Statewide April 15

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham issued a declaration to close the commercial Dungeness crab fishery statewide at 11:59 p.m. on April 15, 2019 due to increased whale entanglement risk anticipated for the spring and summer months.

Under the interim authority of Section 8276.1(c)(1) of the Fish and Game Code, the Director may restrict take of commercial Dungeness crab if the fishery is being conducted in a manner that poses a significant risk of marine life entanglement. Therefore, the Director has declared that the commercial Dungeness crab fishery will close at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 15, 2019. All Dungeness crab commercial fishing gear must be removed from ocean waters and landings must be completed by April 15, 2019 at 11:59 p.m.

For more information or updates, please see the Department’s Crab Fishery web page.

Media Contacts:
Ryan Bartling, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2877
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Entanglement Settlement Protects Whales, Sea Turtles and California’s Crab Fishery

SAN FRANCISCO — Californians will be pleased to know that Dungeness crab will be caught off the coast with greater care for endangered wildlife under a settlement announced by the Center for Biological Diversity, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA).

The legal settlement protects whales and sea turtles from entanglement in commercial Dungeness crab gear. The Center for Biological Diversity sued CDFW in October 2017 after a drastic increase in the number of whale entanglements off the West Coast.

“As I’ve said many times, no one wants whale entanglements to happen,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “This agreement represents hours of intense negotiation to help ensure they don’t happen while supporting the resiliency of the crab fishery in the long run. I am thankful for the leadership of the Center for Biological Diversity and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations who realized something needed to be done together.”

“This is great news for whales and sea turtles fighting extinction off California’s coast,” said Kristen Monsell, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney. “The settlement will reduce serious threats from crab gear to these beautiful and highly endangered animals. This agreement is a turning point that gets us closer to zero entanglements and a healthy ocean.”

The lawsuit was brought by the Center for Biological Diversity against CDFW (Center for Biological Diversity v. Bonham) in federal court in San Francisco. The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, which represents crabbers, intervened in the lawsuit.

The settlement, subject to court approval, creates a comprehensive approach to the problem of whale entanglements. It expedites state regulation, ensures stakeholder input from the Dungeness crab Fishing Gear Working Group and formalizes a first-ever commitment by CDFW to pursue a federal permit for protecting endangered species. While these steps are executed, the settlement calls for this year’s crab season to end three months early and prescribes protective measures for future springtime fishing seasons, when the greatest number of whales are present off the California coast.

In November 2018, CDFW announced it would seek a federal permit under the Endangered Species Act to address protected species interactions with the crab fishery. Obtaining a permit and developing a conservation plan as part of that process can take years, so the settlement spells out interim protections.

“This settlement represents the path back to normality for California’s crab fishery with built-in protections for whales and crab fishing operations under the Endangered Species Act,” said Noah Oppenheim, executive director of PCFFA. “The past several years have been extraordinarily challenging for fishing families, and the actions we’re taking here are no exception. But in the end, we’re going to emerge together with a resilient, prosperous, and protective fishery that will continue to feed California and the nation.”

Details of the settlement can be found at http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=166146.

The mission of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is to manage California’s diverse fish, wildlife, and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend, for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations is the largest commercial fishermen’s organization on the West Coast, representing 17 local and regional associations from Santa Barbara to Southeast Alaska. As a major commercial fishing industry trade association, PCFFA represents the interests of commercial fishing families who make their living harvesting and delivering high-quality seafood to America’s tables.

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Media Contacts:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW, (916) 654-9937
Kristen Monsell, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 844-7137
Noah Oppenheim, PCFFA, (415) 723-1801 or Michael Coats, (707) 235-6203