Category Archives: Delta

Registration Is Open for Sandhill Crane Tours: New Requirement in Late Fall

The online registration period is now open for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) popular Sandhill Crane Wetland Tours at the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve near Lodi in San Joaquin County.

Online registration is required to participate in these late-afternoon guided tours, which start in October and run through February. The tours take place the first through third Saturdays and Sundays of each month for five months during the cranes’ fall and winter stay in California’s Central Valley. Online registration is available up to eight weeks in advance. Registration opened in mid-August for October tour dates and in mid-September for November dates. More information about the tours is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regions/3/Crane-Tour.

After Nov. 13, 2017, those 16 and older attending the tours will be required to purchase and possess a CDFW lands pass in order to participate. Visitors carrying a valid hunting or fishing license will be exempt from this new requirement. Signs will be posted at the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve notifying visitors of the need for a lands pass, and tour docents will be checking for lands passes or licenses at the start of each tour.  A daily lands pass costs $4.32 and an annual lands pass costs $24.33.  Lands passes may be purchased online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/, by phone at (800) 565-1458, and in-person wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold (locations at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing). Lands pass fees will be used for the management of this and other CDFW lands. For more information about lands passes, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/Lands-Pass.

The Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, northeast of Lodi, is a popular spot for viewing the Pacific Flyway’s greater and lesser sandhill cranes returning to California’s Central Valley. The reserve is also known as the Isenberg Crane Reserve, named after former Congressman Phil Isenberg, who was instrumental in conserving the land.

The Woodbridge Ecological Reserve is also accessible to the public at any time for self-guided tours. A series of informative interpretive panels at the reserve’s south unit at 11154 W. Woodbridge Road in Lodi offers good visitor support. Staying until sundown is recommended for witnessing the sights and sounds associated with “fly-over” and the cranes’ return to their evening roosting spots.

CDFW is also proud to co-sponsor the Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival scheduled for Nov. 3-5. Information about festival tours and activities is available at www.cranefestival.com/index.php.

Media Contacts:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communication, (916) 322-8908
David Moore, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 766-8380

CDFW Now Accepting Proposals for Proposition 1 Restoration Grant Programs

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting proposals for ecosystem restoration and protection projects that fulfill the objectives of Proposition 1.

For Fiscal Year (FY) 2017-2018, $31 million in Proposition 1 funds will be made available through CDFW’s two Proposition 1 Restoration Grant Programs. The Watershed Restoration Grant Program will fund up to $24 million in projects of statewide importance outside of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, while the Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program will fund up to $7 million in projects that specifically benefit the Delta.

“We’re encouraged by the quality and scope of projects funded through Proposition 1 to date, and we look forward to another opportunity to fund new solutions to the greatest challenges facing California’s ecosystems,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “This latest grant cycle expands our focus to more watersheds in critical need, in line with the objectives of Proposition 1 and a suite of strategic plans.”

The FY 2017-2018 Proposal Solicitation Notice, application instructions and other information about the Restoration Grant Programs are available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/watersheds/restoration-grants.

Proposals must be submitted online at https://soar.resources.ca.gov/. The deadline to apply is Friday, July 14, 2017 at 4 p.m.

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.

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

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

CDFW Awards $40 Million for Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration and Protection Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced that it is awarding $40 million in Proposition 1 funds for water quality, river and watershed protection, and restoration projects for vital waterways throughout California.

In the second of ten planned annual grant cycles, CDFW has selected 44 projects to receive funding from its Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Prop 1) Restoration Grant Programs. The awards, totaling $40 million, include approximately $28 million awarded through the Watershed Restoration Grant Program to projects of statewide importance outside of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and approximately $12 million awarded through the Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program to projects that directly benefit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

“In year two of our Prop 1 grant program we continue to support on-the-ground actions that meet the objectives of the California Water Action Plan, as well as planning activities that set the stage for future restoration statewide,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “We have made great progress in the first two grant cycles and we cannot wait to get more multi-benefit projects done throughout the state.”

Each of these multi-benefit projects addresses the priorities outlined in the 2016 Proposition 1 Restoration Grant Programs Solicitation and the California Water Action Plan. Priorities include: Protecting and restoring mountain meadow ecosystems, managing headwaters for multiple benefits, protecting and restoring anadromous fish habitat, and protecting and restoring coastal wetland ecosystems.

Projects approved for funding through the Watershed Restoration Grant Program include:

  • Lost Coast Redwood and Salmon Initiative Phase 2 (2016) – Indian Creek Conservation Easement ($1,400,00 to Northcoast Regional Land Trust);
  • Humboldt Bay Regional Invasive Spartina Eradication Project ($450,000 to Redwood Community Action Agency);
  • Modoc Plateau Meadows Assessment and Restoration Design Project ($253,309 to California Trout, Inc.);
  • Dry Creek Meadow Restoration ($290,000 to Truckee River Watershed Council);
  • Stanford-Vina Fish Passage Planning and Design Project ($418,408 to Trout Unlimited);
  • San Vicente Creek Watershed Clematis vitalba Control Project ($1,141,555 to Sempervirens Fund);
  • Carman Watershed Restoration Project, Phase II ($589,732 to Sierra Valley Resource Conservation District);
  • Lagunitas Creek Floodplain and Riparian Restoration Project ($935,467 to Salmon Protection and Watershed Network);
  • Napa River Restoration Oakville to Oak Knoll Project ($200,000 to Napa County Department of Public Works);
  • Protecting and Restoring Wilderness Meadows in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks ($86,340 to American Rivers);
  • Oroville Wildlife Area Flood Stage Reduction and Restoration Project ($2,509,700 to Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency);
  • Dennett Dam Removal ($363,183 to Tuolumne River Trust);
  • Marshall Ranch Conservation Easement – 2016 ($5,012,125 to California Rangeland Trust);
  • Middle Branch of Russian Gulch – Forbearance Agreement/Conservation Easement ($400,000 to Sonoma Land Trust);
  • Matilija Dam Removal 65 Percent Design Planning Project ($3,300,504 to County of Ventura);
  • A Watershed Approach to Enhancing Habitat for Salmonids in the San Lorenzo River Watershed ($705,094 to Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County);
  • Green Valley Watershed Coho Migration Enhancement Project – Design Phase ($376,895 to North Coast Resource Conservation and Development Council);
  • McInnis Marsh Restoration Project ($550,000 to Marin County Parks);
  • South Canal Diversion Fish Screen ($829,129 to Yuba County Water Agency);
  • Thompson Meadow Restoration and Water Budget Evaluation Project ($196,784 to Plumas Corporation);
  • Freshwater Creek Off-Channel Habitat Restoration Project-Regulatory Compliance ($124,701 to Redwood Community Action Agency);
  • Mill Creek Barrier Removal and Riparian Restoration Project in Talmage ($383,939 to Mendocino County Resource Conservation District);
  • Non-Natal Habitat Enhancement Planning For ESA-Listed Salmonids in the Humboldt Bay Watershed ($179,316 to Pacific Coast Fish, Wildlife and Wetlands Restoration Association);
  • Van Norden Meadow Restoration Project ($1,108,657 to South Yuba River Citizens League);
  • Laguna-Mark West Creek Watershed Master Restoration Planning Project ($517,000 to Sonoma County Water Agency);
  • CICC Packer Ranch Fish Screen Project and Pump Station Upgrade ($467,611 to Family Water Alliance, Inc.);
  • Fish Passage Design at Interstate 5 Bridge Array on Trabuco Creek ($383,890 to California Trout, Inc.);
  • Salmon River Floodplain Restoration Planning and NEPA Analysis ($225,340 to Salmon River Restoration Council);
  • Grayson Restoration Planning ($188,679 to River Partners);
  • Planning for Priority Meadow Restoration in Lahontan Basin Watersheds ($346,352 to American Rivers);
  • DCWC Lower Deer Creek Flood and Ecosystem Improvement Project, Phase 1 ($1,950,289 to Deer Creek Watershed Conservancy);
  • Rancho Cañada Carmel River Protection and Instream Flow Enhancement Project ($1,450,000 to Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District);
  • Developing Restoration Strategies for Hydrologic Connectivity in Williams Creek ($291,594 to Humboldt County Resource Conservation District);
  • Restoration of Priority Meadows in the Walker Watershed ($235,757 to American Rivers);
  • Cottonwood Canyon Acquisition Project ($507,000 to Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy);
  • Auburn Ravine-Hemphill Diversion Assessment Phase 2 ($177,042 to Nevada Irrigation District); and
  • Hat Creek Enhancement Project – 2016 ($196,564 to Fall River Resource Conservation District).

Projects approved for funding through the Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program include:

  • Paradise Cut Flood and Conservation Easement Acquisition ($2,035,000 to American Rivers);
  • Contaminant Effects on Two California Fish Species and the Food Web That Supports Them ($1,701,829 to The Regents of the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine);
  • Impact of Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Water Flows on Migratory Behavior of Chinook Salmon Smolts in the South Delta ($1,510,723 to Regents of the University of California, Davis, Agriculture and Natural Resources);
  • Investigating the Factors that Affect Age-0 Longfin Smelt Abundance, Distribution, and Recruitment in the Upper SF Estuary ($330,811 to Metropolitan Water District of Southern California);
  • Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Habitat and Drainage Improvement Project Construction ($4,852,766 to Ducks Unlimited);
  • Impact of Climate Variability on Surface Water Quality: Cyanobacteria and Contaminants ($891,341 to The Regents of the University of California, Davis, Aquatic Toxicology Program); and
  • Lower Walnut Creek Restoration Project ($537,457 to Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District).

CDFW plans to release the next Prop 1 solicitation in late spring or early summer 2017. Prior to its release, CDFW will host a series of workshops to engage potential project proponents. CDFW hopes to provide additional outreach to certain regions of the state that have submitted fewer proposals, particularly in Southern California.

At that time, general information about CDFW’s Proposition 1 Restoration Grant Programs, as well as a schedule of locations and dates for workshops will be available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/grants.

Funding for these projects comes from the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act 2014 (Proposition 1) bond funds, a portion of which are allocated annually through the California State Budget Act. More information about Proposition 1 can be found here.

Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, Watershed Restoration Grants Branch, (916) 445-1285
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

CDFW Rescue Efforts Save Listed Salmon, Steelhead and Sturgeon

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) biologists have rescued hundreds of fish — including dozens of endangered and threatened salmon, steelhead and sturgeon — that were stranded in Sacramento Valley bypasses after recent heavy rains.

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The fish — including endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, threatened Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, threatened Central Valley steelhead and a threatened green sturgeon – were trapped in Fremont and Tisdale Weirs, flood control structures off the Sacramento River, when flood waters receded after mid-March rainstorms.

Rescue efforts began in late March, concluding in mid-April. Seventeen CDFW staff participated in the rescue efforts at the weirs, using beach seines, a sturgeon hoop net, dip nets and crowder racks to capture fish trapped within each weir apron.

The bulk of the rescued fish were salmon, with biologists capturing and tagging 41 adults and 160 juveniles. Based on length-at-date, the young salmon are believed to be a mixture of spring-run and fall-run fish. Staff also rescued one oversized adult green sturgeon, a massive female white sturgeon and hundreds of other fish, including Sacramento sucker, Sacramento pikeminnow, Sacramento splittail, striped bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill and redear sunfish. All of the fish were moved back to the Sacramento River and released.

DNA tests are currently underway on a sampling of the fish rescued. Results will verify biologists’ field assessments that the adult salmon include winter-run and spring-run Chinook.

“We know these areas are prime stranding sites, so we keep them on our radar each year,” said Colin Purdy, CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist. “Rescuing state and federally listed species is a priority — particularly the adult fish, because they contribute to future generations. But all of the fish we pull out of the weir are transported back to the river for release.”

Biologists also used special tracking equipment in an effort to document the behavior and survival of the rescued fish. The green sturgeon, an adult male stranded in the Fremont Weir apron, was tagged with a surgically implanted acoustic tag on March 29 before being released into the Sacramento River. It was subsequently tracked on real-time acoustic receivers heading upstream toward its likely spawning grounds near Red Bluff.  The white sturgeon, a post-spawn female, was rescued from the Tisdale Weir on March 31. It was also given an acoustic tag and was subsequently tracked heading downstream.

Four adult Chinook salmon rescued on April 8 have since been detected moving upstream by real-time acoustic receivers.

All juvenile steelhead rescued were implanted with passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags. Staff from the Pacific States Marine Fisheries oversaw their care and release as part of CDFW’s Central Valley Steelhead Monitoring Program.

CDFW has a team of scientists who monitor locations along the Sacramento River where fish tend to enter the Yolo and Sutter bypasses during high flows and become stranded once flows subside. Initial surveys of the fish stranded in water behind Fremont Weir documented four sturgeon. Only two of these were recovered during rescue efforts. CDFW is seeking information regarding possible illegal harvest or take of these two oversized sturgeon.

If you have information about this or any other fish and wildlife violation, please dial the toll-free CalTIP number, 1 888 334-CALTIP (888 334-2258), 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Anyone with a cell phone may send an anonymous tip to CDFW by texting “CALTIP”, followed by a space and the message, to 847411 (tip411).

Media Contacts:
Colin Purdy, CDFW North Central Region, (916) 358-2943
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (208) 220-1169

Map-based Sport Fishing Regulations Offers Ease of Use for Anglers

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has launched a beta release of an online location-based Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations tool to help anglers identify those regulations that relate to the area they plan to fish. The new tool provides an easy way for anglers to find the sections of the regulations that are relevant to them.

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The new fishing regulations tool can be found at https://map.dfg.ca.gov/sportfishingregs/. It is designed to work on a smart phone, tablet or desktop computer.

When accessed from a smart phone or a tablet with GPS, the map-based tool will automatically present the angler with the sport fishing regulations that apply to their current location based on the GPS in the device. When accessed from a tablet without GPS or from a desktop computer, the user can click anywhere on the map to discover the regulations for that area.

The new tool includes the Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, found on our Regulations webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations.

The regulations are also now available in the existing Fishing Guide, available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/guide.

“This is a big step forward in making the complex fishing regulations more accessible to the angling community,” said CDFW Acting Fisheries Branch Chief Roger Bloom. “As we continue to simplify our fishing regulations, they will be kept up-to-date within this new tool.”

This is a beta release that CDFW staff will be actively working to improve. CDFW welcomes comments or suggestions for improvement. Please send feedback to fishingguide@wildlife.ca.gov.

Media Contacts:
Roger Bloom, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 445-3777
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944