Category Archives: Habitat Conservation

CDFW to Host Public Outreach Meeting on Grasslands Wildlife Areas

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will host an outreach meeting on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Los Banos regarding Central Region 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 these public lands.

CDFW will be joined by representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Waterfowl Association, Ducks Unlimited and the Grassland Water District.

State wildlife areas to be discussed include Mendota, Los Banos, Volta and North Grasslands, including the Salt Slough, China Island, Gadwall and Mud Slough units.  Federal refuge personnel will be available to address the Merced National Wildlife Refuge, including the Lone Tree Unit, and the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, 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.

Specific subjects to be addressed this year include the expansion of assigned pond hunting units at the Los Banos Wildlife Area and the Salt Slough Unit of the North Grasslands Wildlife Area, as well as habitat conditions, changes and rehabilitation projects on all properties.

The meeting will take place from 9 a.m. to noon at the Grassland Environmental Education Center, which is located at 18110 W. Henry Miller Road in Los Banos. Please email Sean Allen if you are planning to attend so enough seating and refreshments can be arranged.

CDFW’s Central Region encompasses 12 counties in central California and is one of seven CDFW regions in the state.

CDFW annually provides an opportunity for licensed hunters to comment and make recommendations on public hunting programs, including anticipated habitat conditions in the hunting areas on wildlife areas through public meetings and other outreach.

Media Contacts:
Sean Allen, CDFW Central Region, (209) 826-0463
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

Settlement Agreement Signed for Panoche Valley Solar Project

Agreement Resolves Long-Running Disputes, Advances Renewable Energy Goals, Creates Jobs, and Preserves more than 26,000 Acres for Endangered Wildlife

The Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society (collectively the “Environmental Groups”), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and Panoche Valley Solar LLC (a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison Development, Inc.), have entered into a settlement agreement concerning the size and location of a solar project currently under development in California’s Panoche Valley. The agreement will help advance renewable energy in the state, create local jobs, and protect the environment. Once final, the settlement will permanently conserve more than 26,000 acres for wildlife habitat.

Initially, 247 MW of solar generation was planned for development in the Panoche Valley, but now approximately 100 MW is instead proposed for development at a site in Imperial County, California. Development at the Imperial County site will have less impact on threatened and endangered species and their habitat. The relocation of that portion of the project is subject to approval by Southern California Edison (SCE) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The settlement will also resolve several legal challenges commenced against the project by the Environmental Groups.

The Panoche Valley Solar Project was first proposed in 2009 and as planned would have directly impacted nearly 5,000 acres of high quality and uniquely important habitat. This settlement will reduce the size of the project in the Panoche Valley to slightly more than 1,300 acres and permanently conserve approximately 26,418 acres in and around the Panoche Valley.

The Environmental Groups assert that the Panoche Valley has the last intact, but unprotected, grasslands in the San Joaquin Valley and is home to many rare and endangered species including the giant kangaroo rat, the San Joaquin kit fox, and the blunt-nosed leopard lizard.

The valley is also designated an Important Bird Area of Global Significance by the National Audubon Society and Birdlife International because the grasslands provide essential habitat for myriad resident and migratory bird species. All of these species have been under threat from the expansion of housing developments, agriculture, oil and gas exploration, and drought.

Sarah Friedman, Sierra Club’s Senior Campaign Representative for the Beyond Coal Campaign, said:

 “As we work toward lowering carbon pollution, it’s critical that new clean energy development is not done at the expense of endangered animals and their habitat. The Panoche Valley is critical habitat for three highly endangered species, and the development throughout the valley as originally planned would have been devastating. This settlement agreement came about after years of work to preserve the endangered wildlife and delicate habitat in this valley.”

Kim Delfino, Defenders of Wildlife’s California Program Director, said:

 “The Panoche Valley is a globally important landscape and is the only remaining intact habitat for endangered upland San Joaquin Valley species like the giant kangaroo rat, San Joaquin kit fox and the blunt-nosed leopard lizard. The new agreement recognizes the significant conservation value of the Panoche Valley, reduces the size of the project in this unique valley and moves half of the project to a better site outside of the valley. When projects are planned ‘smart from the start’ it ensures that we will not sacrifice California’s natural heritage to meet our clean energy goals.”

Shani Kleinhaus, Environmental Advocate with the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, said:

“Birds and bird-enthusiasts should applaud this outcome. Our agreement helps achieve California’s goals of energy independence, and at the same time preserves critical grassland habitat that is home to 130 bird species, including species that are suffering steep population decline such as the burrowing owl, the mountain plover, and tricolored blackbirds.”

Charlton H. Bonham, Director of CDFW, said:

 “Con Edison Development’s leadership and the environmental groups deserve a lot of credit for opening a dialogue with the Department and asking whether it was better to negotiate and collaborate than litigate. Now these lands will be conserved in perpetuity for some of California’s rarest animals without a loss of one megawatt. This settlement shows that it is possible to balance the environment and the economy to achieve ambitious renewable energy goals.”

Mark Noyes, President and Chief Executive Officer of Panoche Valley Solar LLC, said:

 “This settlement with the CDFW and the Environmental Groups to lessen the impact of the PVS solar project on Panoche Valley is reflective of Con Edison Development’s corporate value of concern for the environment and commitment to continue the development of clean energy generation in a responsible manner. We will work diligently with the other parties to obtain the

remaining approval of SCE and the CPUC so that the conditions of the settlement can be fully implemented for the benefit of the Panoche Valley ecosystem and the citizens of California.”

Media Contacts:

  • Thomas Young, Deputy Press Secretary, Sierra Club, young@sierraclub.org, (719) 393-2354
  • Catalina Tresky, Communications Associate, Defenders of Wildlife, ctresky@defenders.org, (202) 772-0253
  • Shani Kleinhaus, Environmental Advocate, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, Advocate@scvas.org, (650) 868-2114
  • Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937
  • Christine Nevin, Director, Business & Media Relations, Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses, nevinc@conedsolutions.com, (914) 286-7094

CDFW Seeking Grant Proposals to Restore Habitat Impacted by Cannabis Cultivation

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting proposals for habitat restoration projects within the California watersheds most impacted by unregulated cannabis cultivation.

Contingent on the Budget Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017-2018, a total of $1.5 million in Timber Regulation and Forest Restoration funds will be made available through CDFW’s Cannabis Restoration Grant Program. The program will focus on the North Coast watersheds extending from Sonoma County to the Oregon state line, as they have been most heavily impacted by cannabis cultivation.

“Existing damage to our watersheds due to unregulated cannabis cultivation is at crisis levels in terms of threats to habitat for aquatic and wildlife species,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “While many grow sites have been abandoned or shuttered, the infrastructure and ongoing damage remains. We are poised to initiate this critical and missing step in the process of decommissioning unwanted grow sites.”

California’s fish and wildlife are severely impacted by unregulated cannabis cultivation practices including unlawful water diversions for irrigation, conversion of lands, and prohibited herbicides, rodenticides and other environmental contaminants. The most impacted areas require immediate action. Assembly Bill 243 (Wood, Medical Marijuana) provides direction to CDFW to restore watersheds impacted by cannabis cultivation.

“Our beautiful, pristine North Coast forests have become havens for these rogue grow sites,” said Assemblymember Jim Wood, who represents five of the county areas eligible for these grants. “These sites have been ravaged by lethal chemicals, often-banned rodenticides which are used to keep animals away, but remain in the ground and eventually run off into rivers and streams, destroying everything in their path, including endangered fish species such as coho salmon. I am grateful that the Governor and CDFW are making these funds available for this much-needed cleanup.”

The FY 2017-2018 Proposal Solicitation Notice, application instructions and other information about the Restoration Grant Program are available at wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Watersheds/Cannabis-Restoration-Grant.

Proposals must be submitted online at https://soar.resources.ca.gov/. The deadline to apply is Friday, June 30, 2017 at 4 p.m.

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

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Help Kick Off California Invasive Species Action Week by Volunteering

The fourth annual California Invasive Species Action Week will run from Saturday, June 3 through Sunday, June 11. Sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Invasive Species Action Week is a statewide event that provides the public with opportunities to learn about and take action against non-native plants and animals that harm our environment and the native species that live here.

Federal and state agencies and numerous organizations across the state have teamed up to host more than 40 individual Action Week events this year. Examples of upcoming public volunteer opportunities include:

  • Sacramento County: CDFW’s Marine Invasive Species Program will be hosting interactive displays, screening of educational videos and a chance to see live and preserved invaders from June 5-9 at the Nimbus Hatchery Visitor Center. This family-friendly opportunity will have activities for all ages and picnic facilities are on site.
  • Mendocino County: Mussel Dogs (a consulting and inspection service) will host a public demonstration of their Quagga and zebra mussel detection dogs’ work on the banks of Lake Mendocino on Saturday, June 3, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Sonoma County: California State Parks and Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods will host an invasive plant removal volunteer day in the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Preserve on Wednesday, June 7, from 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Los Angeles County: The Mountain Restoration Trust needs volunteers to help trap and remove invasive red swamp crayfish from the Malibu Creek Watershed on Saturday, June 10 from 9 to 11 a.m.

Many other counties will also have volunteer opportunities this week. To view the full schedule of events and map, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/CISAW.

Don’t forget – stopping the spread of invasive species does not have to wait for the Action Week! Citizens can also contribute to a healthy environment by taking small, everyday actions – like selecting native plants for landscaping, cleaning your outdoor and aquatic gear after use, being responsible pet and aquaria owners, and reporting invasive species findings.

Another opportunity to monitor for invasive species during and beyond the Action Week is through California Nerodia Watch, the CDFW’s citizen-science monitoring project for invasive (and restricted) Nerodia watersnakes. Currently, Nerodia watersnake populations are established in Roseville, Folsom and Harbor City, with several sightings reported in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Nerodia are notorious predators of fish and amphibians, and if their range expands, they will pose a serious threat to nearby endangered fish and wildlife. Members of the public are encouraged to help CDFW biologists to monitor and prevent the spread of existing populations! Visit the CDFW invasive species profiles at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/invasives/species to learn more and report observations through the iNaturalist project webpage (www.inaturalist.org/projects/california-nerodia-watch) or by downloading the iNaturalist smartphone app.

For questions or more information about Action Week or California Nerodia Watch, please contact invasives@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
Rachael Klopfenstein, CDFW Invasive Species Program, (916) 651-3122
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

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