Category Archives: Endangered Species

CDFW Awards $48.5 Million for Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration, Protection and Scientific Study Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 38 projects to receive funding for multi-benefit ecosystem restoration and protection projects under its Proposition 1 and Proposition 68 grant programs.

The awards, totaling $48.5 million, were made under two separate solicitations for projects focused in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and watersheds statewide.

CDFW participated in a joint solicitation in 2018 with the Delta Science Program and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for scientific studies projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Through this effort, CDFW awarded 11 projects a total of $7.3 million through its Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Proposition 1 Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program.

CDFW conducted a second solicitation in 2018 with funding available from both Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Proposition 1 and Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Proposition 68 funding, resulting in the award of $41.2 million to 27 projects statewide, outside of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Of the $41.2 million, approximately $23.9 million was awarded through the Proposition 1 Watershed Restoration Grant Program. Approximately $17.3 million was awarded through the Proposition 68 grant program which includes three separate focuses: Rivers and Streams, Southern California Steelhead and Habitat Improvement Projects.

“This year represents new opportunities for important projects getting off the ground, including long-planned efforts to support recovery of critical species and respond to new ecological challenges,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “We look forward to continuing statewide restoration and protection efforts of our state’s watersheds.”

The awarded projects represent priorities outlined in the two solicitations, as well as the California Water Action Plan, State Wildlife Action Plan, Sacramento Valley Salmon Resiliency Strategy, Delta Plan, California EcoRestore, Safeguarding California Plan, the California Biodiversity Initiative and the fulfillment of CDFW’s mission. This year marks CDFW’s first allocation of Proposition 68 funding and the fifth of 10 planned annual allocations of Proposition 1 funding.

Projects approved for funding through the Proposition 1 Watershed Restoration Grant Program and Proposition 68 grant programs include:

Acquisition Projects:

  • Van Arken Community Forest Project ($1,861,312 to Sanctuary Forest)
  • Scott Ranch Acquisition, Napa County ($1,000,000 to Land Trust of Napa County)
  • Acquisition and Monitoring Program for Critical Fish and Wildlife Habitat in and Around the Angelo Coast Range Reserve, Upper South Fork Eel River ($806,022 to Angelo Coast Range Reserve, University of California, Berkeley)
  • Arcata Community Forest (Jacoby Creek Tract) Expansion – Swaner 114 acres ($760,300 to City of Arcata)
  • Sierra Valley Mountain Meadow Conservation Project ($648,077 to Feather River Land Trust)
  • Mendocino Pygmy Forest Protection Project ($347,843 to Mendocino Land Trust)

Implementation Projects:

  • Santa Ana Bridge Replacement – a Component of the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project ($13,426,938 to Ventura County Watershed Protection District)
  • Rim Fire Watershed Health Improvement Project ($3,641,211 to Tuolumne River Trust)
  • Oroville Wildlife Area Flood Stage Reduction and Restoration Project ($3,139,136 to Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency)
  • Hotelling Gulch Aquatic Restoration ($2,038,942 to Salmon River Restoration Council)
  • Oroville Wildlife Area Flood Stage Reduction and Restoration Project – New Vegetation Plantings ($1,716,847 to Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency)
  • Jameson Creek Fish Passage Improvement and Restoration Project ($1,704,990 to City of Fortuna)
  • Big Canyon Habitat Restoration and Adaptation Project, Phase II ($1,196,444 to Newport Bay Conservancy)
  • Martin Slough Enhancement ($1,106,982 to California State Coastal Conservancy)
  • Post-Fire Restoration of Coast Range Headwaters for Multiple Benefits at Pepperwood Preserve ($838,135 to Pepperwood Foundation)
  • Lagunitas Creek Floodplain Restoration for Coho Recovery, Phase II ($593,040 to Salmon Protection and Watershed Network)

Planning Projects:

  • Bellota Fish Screen and Passage Improvement Project ($1,952,559 to Stockton East Water District)
  • Harvey Diversion Fish Passage Restoration 100% Designs ($1,019,271 to California Trout)
  • Cannibal Island Restoration Intermediate Designs ($802,886 to California Trout)
    Lower San Luis Obispo Creek Fish Passage Design and Habitat Improvement Project ($459,798 to Central Coast Salmon Enhancement)
  • Wildlife Corridor at Liberty Canyon ($400,000 to National Wildlife Federation)
  • Restoring the Deer Creek Headwaters at Childs Meadow ($374,588 to Point Blue Conservation Science)
  • Elk Creek Restoration Feasibility Study ($347,204 to Smith River Alliance)
    Rowdy Creek and Dominie Creek Fish Passage Improvement Planning Project ($273,146 to Tolowa Dee-ni Nation)
  • Advancing Restoration Strategies for Hydrologic Connectivity in Williams Creek ($268,862 to Humboldt County Resource Conservation District)
  • Scott Creek Lagoon and Marsh Restoration ($237,690 to Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission)
  • Restoration planning at the Sespe Cienega in Fillmore ($237,570 to Santa Clara River Conservancy)

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

Scientific Studies:

  • Reconnecting Delta food webs: evaluating the influence of tidal marsh restoration on energy flow and prey availability for native fishes ($1,107,041 to State Water Contractors)
  • Quantifying genetic and epigenetic variation in Delta smelt that may enable adaptation to future environments ($934,616 to University of California, Davis)
  • Effects of Multiple Environmental Stressors on Ecological Performance of Early Life Stage Sturgeon ($957,427 to University of California, Davis)
  • Monitoring and Modeling Pathogen Exposure in Salmon Migrating to the Delta ($847,041 to University of California, Santa Cruz)
  • Delta Wetlands and Resilience: blue carbon and marsh accretion ($819,998 to San Francisco Estuary Institute)
  • Enhancing predictive capability for phytoplankton response to natural and operational induced variability of phytoplankton blooming in the Delta. ($784,970 to San Francisco State University)
  • Quantifying Biogeochemical Processes through Transport Modeling: Pilot Application in the Cache Slough Complex ($570,602 to University of California, Davis)
  • Developing an eDNA metabarcoding protocol to improve fish and mussel monitoring in the San Francisco Estuary ($419,742 to University of California, Davis)
  • The role of wetlands in pelagic food webs: metagenomics reveals how wetland plant detritus may promote zooplankton growth and survival ($399,171 to University of California, Davis)
  • Trade-offs and Co-benefits of Landscape Change Scenarios on Human and Bird Communities in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta ($248,077 to Point Blue Conservation Science)
  • Developing a new molecular isotopic tool to examine Delta food webs ($211,907 to University of California, Santa Cruz)

General information about CDFW’s Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 Restoration Grant Programs, as well as a schedule of locations and dates for workshops, once available, can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/grants.

Funding for these projects comes from Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 bond funds, a portion of which are allocated annually through the California State Budget Act. More information about Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 is on the California Natural Resources Agency website.

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Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, CDFW Watershed Restoration Grant Branch, (916) 445-1285
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Plentiful Precipitation Pumps-up Rodent Populations

CDFW Issues Reminder to Avoid Harmful Poisons

The winter of 2018-19 brought ample rainfall and snowpack—good news for drought-weary Californians. The bad news is that the vegetation growth that follows abundant rainfall can lead to abounding rodent populations that some people try to control with poisons. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds people that rodenticides can also kill non-target wildlife, and even pets and children.

Most populations of native rodents, like voles, deer mice and squirrels, are kept in check by predators such as raptors and snakes. An important part of the natural food web, native rodent populations drop back to normal levels after a population boom due to increased predation and the return to typical food supplies. In the short term, to keep native rodent species from overwhelming your home and garden, use habitat modification as an effective, safe and inexpensive way to reduce the number of native voles, deer mice and squirrels on your property. For example, voles like tall grass for cover. Mowing your grass to no more than two inches tall makes it less appealing to them. Like most animals, rodents go where food is available and they feel safe. The easiest way to discourage rodents, both native and non-native, in and around homes and businesses is to remove or modify anything that could make them comfortable.

Removing food and cover is the first step to controlling rodents. Any attempt to remove rodents will be ineffective if you do not first take away their food and cover – other rodents will replace the ones you remove. These actions will help:

  • Keep your home and yard neat and clean.
  • Be aware that pet food, chicken feed and bird feeders will attract rodents.
  • Remove objects and plants that rodents can hide under, such as wood piles, debris, construction waste, dense vegetation and ground-covering vines like ivy.
  • Pick up fruit that has fallen from trees as soon as possible.
  • Secure your garbage in a tightly sealed can.
  • Seal water leaks and remove standing water that may attract unwelcome animals. Standing water is also where mosquitoes breed.

Target non-native rodents (house mice, Norway rats and black rats) in your home attic, walls or garage, by setting traps in secluded areas where the rats or mice have been seen or are likely to travel: close to walls, in dark corners, behind objects, on ledges, shelves, pipes and rafters. In areas where children, pets, birds or other non-target wildlife might have access, secure the trap inside a small box or other barrier for their safety. Check traps daily and wear disposable gloves when removing rodents. Place dead rodents in a sealed plastic bag and then into your garbage bin for weekly collection. Wash your hands after handling traps or rodents, even when using gloves.

Seal the places where rodents can get into your buildings: openings where cables, wires and pipes enter buildings, and cracks or holes in the foundation, walls and roofs. Non-native house mice can squeeze into holes as narrow as ½ inch diameter. Use hardware mesh and concrete, plaster or metal whenever possible. At the very least, stuff stainless steel or copper pot scrubbers, or copper mesh wool into the spaces behind the openings and fix it in place with expanding foam. These items can be purchased online and at hardware and dollar stores. You can also find pest control businesses that specialize in rodent-proofing homes and businesses.

Next, let nature help you control both native and non-native rodents around your home. Rodents’ natural predators include raptors such as owls and hawks. If you actively protect them and their habitat, you won’t need to spend money on poisons and put wildlife, pets and children at risk of accidental poisoning. Planting tall trees like conifers and pines that raptors favor will encourage these birds of prey to hang around your yard and remove rodents for you.

Most raptors use the same nest for many years and some even pass from one generation to the next. Raptors like Cooper’s hawks, red-shouldered hawks, white-tailed kites, great horned owls and barn owls often nest in or adjacent to residential areas and will gladly feed on rodents. That makes them excellent long-term controllers of rodent populations in the area near the nest.

During the breeding season, a family of five barn owls can eat as many as 3,000 rodents! You can encourage them by hanging a nest box on your property, but only if you and your neighbors are not using anticoagulant rodenticides. Remember that poisoned rodents can poison the predators, scavengers and pets that eat them!

Despite some restrictions on the most toxic and persistent anticoagulant rodenticides, wildlife are still being poisoned. In addition to the raptors, scavenging animals such as turkey vultures, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, bears and even feral cats and dogs can be poisoned by eating a smaller animal that ate rat poison. More than 90 percent of mountain lion carcasses collected by CDFW in 2016 and 2017 tested positive for anticoagulant rodenticides and most had been exposed to three or more different anticoagulants.

You can protect non-target animals and children from rodenticide poisoning by using sanitation, exclusion, traps and nature’s rodent predators to control rodents at your home or business. For more information, please visit the rodenticides page on CDFW’s website.

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Photo by Dries Gaerdelen

 

Media Contacts:
Stella McMillin, CDFW Wildlife Investigations Lab, (916) 358-2954
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Stream Flow Enhancement Projects

The Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) has approved approximately $13 million in grants to help enhance flows in streams throughout California. A total of 11 stream flow enhancement projects were approved at an April 4 meeting of the Stream Flow Enhancement Program Board. The approved projects will provide or lead to a direct and measurable enhancement of the amount, timing and/or quality of water in streams for anadromous fish; special status, threatened, endangered or at-risk species; or to provide resilience to climate change.

Funding for these projects comes from the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1). The Act authorized the Legislature to appropriate funds to address the objectives identified in the California Water Action Plan, including more reliable water supplies, the restoration of important species and habitat, and a more resilient and sustainably managed water infrastructure.

Funded projects include:

      • A $499,955 grant to the University of California, Davis for a cooperative project with the University of California, Berkeley that will apply the newly developing California Environmental Flows Framework to inform decisions regarding instream flow enhancements in the Little Shasta River in Siskiyou County and San Juan Creek in Orange County, by defining target hydrologic regimes that meet ecological and geomorphic objectives.
      • A $1.5 million grant to the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in the Oroville Wildlife Area in Butte County. The project will reconnect the Feather River to approximately 400 acres of its historic floodplain, increasing the frequency and duration of floodplain inundation, and enhancing habitat for anadromous salmonids.
      • A $1.98 million grant to the Truckee River Watershed Council for a cooperative project with the CDFW, U.S. Forest Service, Tahoe National Forest and Bella Vista Foundation to enhance hydrologic and ecological function and improve base flows during the low flow period within Lower Perazzo Meadow in Sierra County.
      • A $621,754 grant to the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with DWR and State Coastal Conservancy to construct an off-channel storage pond on Klingman-Moty Farm. Combined with irrigation efficiency upgrades and a commitment from the landowner to forbear diversions during the low flow period, the project will improve instream flow conditions in San Gregorio Creek in San Mateo County.
      • A $1.78 million grant to the Ventura Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with Ojai Valley Inn, the city of Ojai, the Thacher School, and a diverse array of other partners. They will develop an Integrated Water Management Framework for Instream Flow Enhancement and Water Security and complete planning, permitting and outreach to advance 25 stream flow enhancement projects to an implementation ready stage.

For more information about the WCB please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, WCB Executive Director, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

Time’s Running Out for Your Tax Return and Endangered Wildlife

The deadline is looming… how many days left until April 15? Never enough. But you’ll get it done. And when you do, you can support California’s rare, threatened and endangered wildlife species. As you near the end of your California Individual Income Tax Form 540, look for the Voluntary Contributions section. Enter any amount you would like to donate to the California Sea Otter Fund (line 410) and/or the Rare and Endangered Species Preservation Program (line 403).

Any amount you contribute will support state programs that benefit California species at risk of extinction. For most people, donations are tax-deductible the following year.

The Rare and Endangered Species Preservation Program (RESP), has funded work benefiting California’s native at-risk plants, wildlife and fish since 1983. California taxpayers’ donations to this fund have enabled CDFW to obtain grant money from the federal government and collaborate with many other organizations to conserve native wildlife.

For example, CDFW is currently working on projects to save San Francisco garter snakes, tricolored blackbirds, salamanders, mountain yellow-legged frogs, Mohave ground squirrels and California condors.

Last year, the RESP voluntary donations helped provide endangered species protection for the tiny coast yellow leptosiphon (Leptosiphon croceus), which is only known to exist in San Mateo County; the beautiful Lassics lupine (Lupinus constancei), known from only two populations in the remote Lassics mountains of Humboldt and Trinity counties; the uniquely colonial tricolored blackbird (Agelaius tricolor), which is restricted almost entirely to California; and the Humboldt marten (Martes caurina humboldtensis), a small forest carnivore.

Contributions to the California Sea Otter Fund are split between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the State Coastal Conservancy to benefit our Southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) population. The smallest marine mammal once lived in nearshore waters all along California’s coast and in estuaries such as Humboldt, Tomales, San Francisco and Morro bays. Now only 3,000 sea otters occupy a much smaller range. They are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act and state regulations.

CDFW uses Sea Otter Fund donations for scientific research on the causes of death in California’s sea otters to help inform management actions to protect them.

The Coastal Conservancy uses most of your donations for grants supporting research and conservation actions that facilitate sea otter recovery. Some of that research has investigated factors limiting population growth and opportunities for range expansion to facilitate population recovery.

If someone else prepares your state tax return, please let him or her know you want to donate to the Rare and Endangered Species Preservation Program on line 403 and/or the California Sea Otter Fund on line 410. If you use TurboTax, step-by-step instructions to help you find the California Contribution Funds are posted on the CDFW website.

CDFW biologists have achieved important recovery milestones and protected vulnerable species, thanks to California taxpayers. More information about how CDFW uses donated funds is at www.wildlife.ca.gov/tax-donation and at www.facebook.com/seaotterfundcdfw.

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Media Contacts:
Jeb Bjerke, CDFW Native Plants Program, (916) 651-6594
Esther Burkett, CDFW Nongame Wildlife Program, (916) 531-1594
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420
Laird Henkel, CDFW Sea Otter Program, (831) 469-1726

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