Category Archives: Habitat Conservation

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Aug. 30 quarterly meet

Green iceplant and pampas grass invade southern California coastal wetlands between two roads.
Iceplant invades coastal wetlands at Ponto Beach near Encinitas. Photo courtesy of San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy

ing, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $15 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 21 funded projects will benefit fish and wildlife – including some endangered species – while others will provide the public with access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, landowners and the local community. The state funds for all these projects come from initiatives approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Funded projects include:

  • A $135,000 grant to the Lake County Land Trust to acquire in fee approximately 34 acres of land for the protection of shoreline freshwater wetland, riparian woodland
    and wet meadow habitats that support the state-threatened Clear Lake hitch and the western pond turtle, a state species of special concern. This will also provide future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities in an area known as Big Valley, on the northwestern shore of Clear Lake in Lake County.
  • A $1.2 million grant to the Feather River Land Trust for a cooperative project with the Natural Resources Agency to acquire a conservation easement over approximately
    5,530 acres of land to provide protection for deer, mountain lion and oak habitats near the town of Doyle in Lassen County.
  • A $1.7 million acquisition in fee of approximately 1,066 acres of land by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to expand the Crocker Meadows Wildlife Area, protect riparian and oak woodland habitat, and for future wildlife oriented public use opportunities near Beckwourth in Plumas County.
  • A $3 million grant to Sonoma County Agriculture Preservation and Open Space District for a cooperative project with the State Coastal Conservancy to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 871 acres of forest lands, including large areas of old and new growth redwood located near Stewarts Point in Sonoma County.
  • A $2.5 million grant to the San Bernardino Mountains Land Trust for a cooperative project with the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District to acquire in fee approximately 240 acres of land as an expansion of the Sawmill Pebble Plain Ecological Preserve – rare pebble plain habitat supporting a wide variety of endemic plant species – south of Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains, in San Bernardino County.
  • An $850,000 grant to the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy for a cooperative project to implement a comprehensive habitat restoration program, remove target nonnative invasive weed species and restore native habitat on 65 acres of coastal wetlands on several sites located at Agua Hedionda, Batiquitos Lagoon and San Elijo Lagoon. These are located from approximately nine miles north to five miles south of Encinitas on privately owned properties and on properties owned by CDFW and the Department of Parks and Recreation.

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

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Oak woodland on hills behind a wide, open plain with scrub brush
Crocker Meadows Wildlife Area. CDFW photo
View from hillside high above the blue Pacific ocean behind green and brown pasture land.
View from Stewarts Point Ranch in Sonoma County. CDFW photo
A rare, pebble plain habitat with goldend-dry vegetation in front of a green oak forest.
Sawmill Pebble Plain Ecological Preserve. CDFW photo

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

CDFW to Hold Public Outreach Meeting on Northern San Joaquin Valley Type A and B Wildlife Areas

Pintails flying on 15 ac seas wetl during drought 2014-09-06The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold an outreach meeting Saturday, Aug. 20 in Los Banos regarding the Northern San Joaquin Valley Type A and B Wildlife Areas. CDFW will take comments and recommendations and provide updates on habitat conditions, availability of water for wetlands and possible impacts to hunter access on public lands. 

The meeting, which will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, is being offered in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Waterfowl Association, Ducks Unlimited and the Grassland Water District. Federal staff will discuss the Merced National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), including the Lone Tree Unit, and the San Luis NWR, including the Kesterson, Blue Goose, East and West Bear Creek, and Freitas units. The Grassland Water District will make a short presentation on refuge water supply. 

State wildlife areas to be discussed are Mendota, Los Banos, Volta and North Grasslands, including the Salt Slough, China Island, Gadwall and Mud Slough units.  

According to state law (Fish and Game Code, section 1758), CDFW shall annually provide an opportunity for licensed hunters to comment and make recommendations on public hunting programs, including anticipated habitat conditions in the hunting areas on Type A and B wildlife areas, as defined under the commission’s regulations, through public meetings or other outreach. In complying with this section, CDFW may hold regional meetings on its hunting programs for several different wildlife areas. 

The meeting will be held at the Grassland Environmental Education Center, 18110 W. Henry Miller Road, in Los Banos. Please email Sean Allen (sean.allen@wildlife.ca.gov) if you are planning to attend. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/places-to-visit/los-banos-wa.

 Media Contact:

Sean Allen, CDFW Central Region, (209) 826-0463

Steve Gonzalez, CDFW Communications, (916) 715-9072

 

Putah Creek Wildlife Area Reopens for Public Use

The Putah Creek Wildlife Area in Solano County has reopened for public use as of Saturday, July 9, 2016. The wildlife area was closed in August 2015 to allow recovery from the Wragg Fire. Though the area continues to recover from the fire and winter rains, the slopes are now sufficiently stable to allow safe public access without incurring environmental damage.

Hikers are advised to choose their footing carefully and exercise caution as underlying surfaces of the existing trails may have undergone shifting and fallen trees and other hazards may still be present. As always, avoid hiking in extreme heat, wear appropriate footwear and bring plenty of water.

Putah Creek Wildlife Area is located in Solano County just east of Lake Berryessa.

For more information on the wildlife area, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/places-to-visit/putah-creek-wa.

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Media Contacts:
Conrad Jones, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 944-5544

Steve Gonzalez, CDFW Communications, (916) 327-9948

Big Game Grants Program Awards $1.1 Million for Wildlife

Hunters’ Dollars to Fund Big Game Conservation and Management Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has awarded $1.1 million in grants for big game conservation projects in Fiscal Year 2016-2017.

The Big Game Grant Program (BGGP), which allocates funds generated by big-game hunters through the purchase of tags for sheep, bear, deer, pronghorn antelope and wild pig, identified 15 proposals for projects that will benefit big-game populations and the habitats upon which they depend.

“This year we are funding some exceptional studies that will broaden our knowledge and understanding of the unique needs of elk and sheep,” said Craig Stowers, CDFW’s Big Game Program Manager. “Other projects will help restore crucial habitat for deer and other wildlife, and provide water sources necessary for their survival. All of these proposals have been identified as an appropriate use of hunter dollars. Their funding goes directly to benefit and sustain the wildlife populations they hunt.”

The projects are selected and budget approved by a public advisory committee. Funded proposals must reflect the grantees’ dedication to big game conservation and management and meet a series of criteria, including increased hunting opportunity. Awards approved for 2016-2017 include:

  • Three grants totaling $277,000 to Oregon State University and the California chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation for several studies on the effects of pneumonia and respiratory disease in Desert Bighorn Sheep.
  • A $29,000 grant to the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep to develop water sources for wildlife on isolated parcels of land in the Mojave Desert.
  • A $205,000 grant to Humboldt State University to study Roosevelt elk populations in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.
  • Four grants totaling $127,000 to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to study elk populations in Modoc and Siskiyou counties.
  • A $27,000 grant to the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep to refill dried-up water guzzlers for wildlife in rural areas.
  • Two grants totaling $160,000 to the Mendocino County Blacktail Association to remove fir trees and improve forage and cover for deer in Mendocino, Glenn and Humboldt counties.
  • A $54,000 grant to CalFauna to conduct a prescribed burn in the Stanislaus National Forest and to document revegetation that will benefit wildlife.
  • An $81,000 grant to the Mule Deer Foundation to restore riparian meadows near Little Rattlesnake Creek in the Stanislaus National Forest.
  • A $150,000 grant to the California Deer Association to reconstruct and maintain watering devices for wildlife in the northern part of the state.

Grant monies awarded to the California chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation will allow the continuation of an ongoing study of the spread and consequences of respiratory disease for bighorn sheep in the eastern Mojave Desert. In addition to conserving and enhancing wild sheep populations, the nonprofit is committed to educating the public about sustainable use and the conservation benefits of hunting.

“We could not have funded this three-year sheep study without the support from the Big Game Management Account,” said Kyle Meintzer, an avid outdoorsman and bow hunter who serves on the Board of Directors for the Wild Sheep Foundation. “The BGGP shows the importance and value of hunters and the dollars their licenses and tags provide for wildlife management and conservation.”

The Big Game Management Account and BGGP were created by the California Legislature in 2010 (currently Fish and Game Code, section 3953). Since the inception of the BGGP, more than $5 million has gone to such projects. More information about the BGGP can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/grants/big-game.

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Media Contacts:
Craig Stowers, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3553
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8911

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its June 2 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $17 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 20 funded projects will benefit fish and wildlife – including some endangered species – while others will provide the public with access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, landowners and the local community. The state funds for all these projects come from initiatives approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Funded projects include:

  • Acceptance of a $369,240 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition grant to assist with the acquisition in fee of approximately 141 acres of land from two separate landowners by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. These purchases will protect core wildlife linkages and endangered species habitat near the community of Jamul in San Diego County.
  • A $440,000 grant to Tuleyome to acquire in fee approximately 1,280 acres of land for the protection of habitat such as blue oak woodland, riparian areas and chaparral and to provide for potential future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities near Clearlake Oaks in Lake County.
  • A $3,500,000 grant to Tuolumne River Preservation Trust for a cooperative project with the U.S. Forest Service to restore or enhance habitat and to install infrastructure to benefit wildlife on areas decimated by the Rim Fire, within the Stanislaus National Forest, approximately 20 miles east of Sonora in Tuolumne County.
  • A $3,820,000 grant to the University of California, Santa Barbara to restore approximately 136 acres of slough, wetland, transitional and upland habitats in portions of the historic northern extent of Devereux Slough, adjacent to the southern city limits of Goleta in Santa Barbara County.
  • A $1,850,000 grant to the Imperial Irrigation District to restore approximately 600 acres of shallow, brackish water habitat in the Red Hill Bay area of the Salton Sea, 15 miles northwest of Brawley in Imperial County.

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

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