Category Archives: Environmental Science

Recreational Salmon Seasons Set for 2018

The recreational salmon seasons have been set for 2018, and it appears to be a mixture of good news and bad for California anglers. Klamath River fall run Chinook are likely to be one of the better fishing opportunities due to higher returns that will support both ocean and inland salmon seasons. But returns for Sacramento River fall run Chinook – the main stock of salmon supporting California’s ocean and Central Valley river fisheries – have been low for the third consecutive year, pushing them into “overfished” status.

In order to meet conservation goals for Sacramento River fall run Chinook, some ocean salmon seasons have been shortened and the daily bag and possession limits for Central Valley river fisheries have been reduced.

“The goal is to get even more fish back to the spawning grounds this fall than would be required in a normal year,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Fisheries Branch Chief Kevin Shaffer.

In an effort to hasten the rebuilding process, the Pacific Fishery Management Council constructed conservative ocean salmon seasons for 2018, in the hopes of producing higher numbers of returning spawners. The California Fish and Game Commission set similar ocean seasons.

The 2018 recreational ocean salmon season for the California coast is as follows:

  • In the Klamath Management Zone, which is the area between the Oregon/California border and Horse Mountain (40°05’00” N. latitude), the season will open June 1 and continue through Sept. 3.
  • The Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas, which extend from Horse Mountain to Point Arena (38°57’30” N. latitude) and Point Arena to Pigeon Point (37°11’00” N. latitude), respectively, will open June 17 and continue through Oct. 31.
  • The Monterey area between Pigeon Point and the U.S./Mexico border opened on April 7 and will continue through July 2.

The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length in all areas north of Pigeon Point and 24 inches in all areas south of Pigeon Point. The daily bag limit is two Chinook salmon per day. No more than two daily bag limits may be possessed when on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit. Retention of coho salmon (also known as silver salmon) is prohibited in all ocean fisheries off California.

The 2018 recreational inland salmon season for California inland waters is as follows:

  • Seasons for Central Valley fishery start on traditional dates on all sections of all rivers. Only one salmon per day may be retained and the possession limit is two salmon.
  • In the Klamath River the season will open Aug. 15 and continue through Dec. 31. The Trinity River season will be open from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. The daily bag limit is two salmon no more than one over 22 inches. The possession limit is six salmon, no more than three over 22 inches.

Regulations approved by the Commission since the 2017 season created a positive effect for the upcoming Central Valley salmon season. The new regulations – including a complete closure of Nimbus Basin on the American River to all fishing due to construction, a reduction in the daily bag and possession limit for the Central Valley, and a shortened leader length regulation intended to reduce snagging – were pivotal in setting seasons on the Sacramento River fall Chinook because they helped reduced potential harvest to meet stock rebuilding goals.

The 2018 sport seasons, dates, locations and bag limits will be published in the 2018-2019 Sport Fishing Regulations Supplement, which will be posted on the CDFW website in May. Additional season information can be found on CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage or by calling CDFW’s ocean salmon hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the Klamath-Trinity River hotline at (800) 564-6479.

Media Contacts:
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958
Kandice Morgenstern, CDFW Ocean Salmon Project, (707) 576-2879
Roger Bloom, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 445-3777

Public Comment Sought on Statewide Management of Trout

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will be soliciting public comment and ideas on the statewide management of trout at a series of public meetings.

“We are seeking stakeholder feedback on the development of three important elements of our statewide trout management efforts,” said Roger Bloom, CDFW Inland Fisheries Program Manager. “Our overall goal is make positive programmatic changes that will help ensure we’re getting the right fish in the right place at the right time.”

The three key areas for which CDFW are seeking input are:

  • The revision of CDFW’s Strategic Plan for Trout Management, last published in 2003
  • The creation of a new Strategic Plan for Trout Hatcheries
  • Simplification of inland trout angling regulations

Each meeting will include a brief presentation covering each area. CDFW personnel will be available at information stations to answer questions and listen to stakeholder interests, needs and ideas.

All stakeholder input will be taken into consideration as draft plans and a regulation simplification package are developed for formal public review. Stakeholders can fill out a short questionnaire online or at any of the following meetings:

Bishop
Place: Talman Pavilion, Tricounty Fairgrounds
Location: 1234 Fair Street
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Truckee
Place: Truckee-Tahoe Airport Community Room
Location: 10356 Truckee Airport Road
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Los Alamitos
Place: CDFW Los Alamitos Field Office
Location: 4665 Lampson Ave. #C
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.
Date: Thursday, April 26, 2018

Sacramento
Place: Arcade Library Meeting Room
Location: 2443 Marconi Ave.
Time: 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Sausalito
Place: Bay Model Visitor Center
Location: 2100 Bridgeway
Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Date: Saturday, May 5, 2018

Fresno
Place: Betty Rodriguez Regional Library
Location: 3040 N. Cedar Ave.
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Date: Thursday, May 10, 2018

Redding
Place: Redding Library Community Room
Location: 1100 Parkview Ave.
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.
Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2018

More information is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Inland/Trout-Plan. Meetings are in-person only and no conference line or webcast will be available.

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Media Contacts:
Roger Bloom, CDFW Inland Fisheries Program, (916) 445-3777
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1487

 

CDFW Invites Public Input on Development of State Coastal Marine Aquaculture Program

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is seeking public input for a Marine Aquaculture Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) that is in preparation and scheduled for completion this year.

The completed PEIR will outline a framework for managing the proposed State Coastal Marine Aquaculture Program, which would oversee the culturing of shellfish, algae and finfish on state water bottom leases issued by the California Fish and Game Commission.

The public scoping process will provide CDFW with guidance in identifying the range of actions analyzed in the PEIR, including environmental effects, methods of assessment, mitigation measures and alternative regulatory management frameworks.

Members of the public, tribes and public agencies are invited to provide comments through April 22. Comments may be submitted by email to AquaculturePEIR@wildlife.ca.gov, or sent via mail to:

Marine Aquaculture PEIR – Scoping Comments
CDFW Aquaculture Program
830 S St.
Sacramento, CA  95811

Interested parties may also attend and provide feedback at one of two public meetings:

Northern California
April 10, 2018, 6:30-8 p.m.
Sonoma County Water Agency
404 Aviation Blvd.
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Directions (Google Maps)

Southern California
April 12, 2018, 6:30-8 p.m.
Port of San Diego
3165 Pacific Highway
San Diego, CA 92101
Directions (Google Maps)

Additional information, including the full Notice of Preparation, is available on the CDFW Marine Aquaculture PEIR webpage.

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Media Contacts:
Randy Lovell, CDFW Aquaculture Program, (916) 445-2008

Mary Olswang, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 445-7633
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Elusive Sierra Nevada Red Fox Captured in Tehama County

A Sierra Nevada red fox was captured in Tehama County last month by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) biologists researching this rare sub-species of red fox.

The 10-pound male fox was captured on national forest land just outside of Lassen Volcanic National Park, near the town of Mineral. The fox was collared and released at the capture location, and CDFW biologists have been impressed by the distances it has regularly been covering despite rough terrain and high elevation.

“The data gathered during the capture and from the tracking collar will provide significant insights into the ecology of these foxes,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Jennifer Carlson. “We have already been surprised by the large area the fox has been using and the distance it has traveled — it has averaged over seven straight-line miles per day in very rugged terrain.”

While Sierra Nevada red fox historically ranged widely in the upper montane subalpine zones of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges in California, in the past century its abundance and distribution has declined dramatically.

A state-listed threatened species since 1980, the Sierra Nevada red fox has been the subject of intensified study by CDFW over the past decade. The primary objective is to capture and affix GPS tracking collars to foxes to better understand the size and characteristics of the elusive red fox’s home range and habitat use, its denning sites and reproductive rates, and its health and disease ecology.

In 2008, CDFW used scat-detector dogs to survey portions of Lassen Volcanic National Park and the adjacent Caribou Wilderness. From 2009 to 2011, CDFW used trail cameras and hair-snaring devices to survey high-elevation habitats in the Cascade Range from Mount Shasta to Lassen Peak. At that point, foxes were detected solely in the Lassen Peak area, and the population is believed to consist of only about 20 individuals. Efforts to capture and collar them from 2013-2016 were unsuccessful, yet CDFW continued to document red foxes on trail cameras and to collect genetic samples from their scats and hair. CDFW hopes to capture and collar as many as four more red foxes this year.

The Sierra Nevada red fox is a distinct subspecies of red fox that occupies high-elevation habitats in California and Oregon. Other red foxes in California include the Sacramento Valley red fox, which occupies portions of the Sacramento Valley, and non-native red foxes that are widespread in low-elevation habitats.

For more information on the Sierra Nevada red fox, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/mammals/sierra-nevada-red-fox.

Media Contacts:
Jennifer Carlson, CDFW Northern Region, (530) 225-2754
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

Volunteers Needed for Bighorn Sheep Survey

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Society for Conservation of Bighorn Sheep (SCBS) are seeking volunteers to assist biologists with a sheep count in the San Gabriel Mountains on March 3 and 4, 2018 (Saturday evening and all day Sunday).

No survey experience is necessary to participate but volunteers must attend an orientation on Saturday, March 3, at 6 p.m. at the Angeles National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Arcadia.

Volunteers will hike to designated observation sites early Sunday morning to count and record bighorn sheep. Volunteer groups will be led by a representative from CDFW, USFS or SCBS. Participants must be at least 16 years old and capable of hiking at least one mile in rugged terrain (most survey routes are longer). In general, hikes will not be along trails and accessing survey points will involve scrambling over boulders, climbing up steep slopes and/or bush-whacking through chaparral.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring binoculars or spotting scopes in addition to hiking gear. Mountain weather can be unpredictable and participants should be prepared to spend several hours hiking and additional time making observations in cold and windy weather. Volunteers will need to start hiking early Sunday morning.

Surveys for bighorn sheep in the San Gabriel range have been conducted annually since 1979. The mountain range once held an estimated 740 sheep, which made the San Gabriel population the largest population of desert bighorn sheep in California. The bighorn population declined over 80 percent through the 1980s but appears to be on the rise with recent estimates yielding approximately 400 animals.

Please sign up online at www.sangabrielbighorn.org. If you do not have access to the internet, you may call (909) 584-9012 and leave a call-back number to register.

This annual event is always popular and fills up quickly.  Please sign up soon to ensure a space.

Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
Zach Behrens, USFS Communications, (909) 382-2788
Norm Lopez, SCBS, (805) 431-2824