Category Archives: Habitat Conservation

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Nov. 16 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $28 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California, including the Salton Sea. Some of the 17 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 bond measures approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Funded projects include:

  • A $14 million grant to the California Department of Water Resources for a cooperative project to construct approximately 640 acres of wetland habitat, including deep water channels, shallow ponds, island refugia and nesting structures. The project will enhance habitat for fish-eating birds on the edge of the Salton Sea at the terminus of the New River, seven miles northwest of the City of Westmorland in Imperial County.
  • $2.2 million to acquire approximately 624 acre-feet of water and storage rights in Heenan Lake for protection of the Lahontan cutthroat trout fishery located near Markleeville in Alpine County.
  • A $3.7 million grant to the Land Trust of Napa County for a cooperative project with the State Coastal Conservancy, California Natural Resources Agency and others to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 7,266 acres of land. This will preserve and protect managed forest lands, riparian corridors and watersheds that support rare and special status wildlife species and vegetation near the City of Calistoga in Napa County.
  • A $415,000 grant to the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County for a cooperative project with the State Coastal Conservancy and California Natural Resources Agency to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 133 acres of land. This will protect important watersheds, including stream and source waters, and maintain native terrestrial communities and landscape connectivity near Scotts Valley.
  • A $3.4 million grant to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority for a cooperative project with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the County of Los Angeles, to acquire approximately 71 acres of land. This will protect chaparral, coastal sage scrub, native grasslands and oak woodland-savannah habitat, enhance wildlife linkages, protect watersheds and provide future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities near the City of Agoura in Ventura County.

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 Education and Outreach, (916) 322-2420

Grand Opening of San Joaquin River Parkway Trail in Fresno County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and partners are pleased to announce the opening of a new link of the San Joaquin River Parkway Trail, part of the Friant Interactive Nature Site (FINS), and new outdoor educational facilities at the San Joaquin Fish Hatchery. The trail stretches nearly a mile from the community of Friant to Lost Lake Recreation Area in Fresno County.

FINS was constructed in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources and the San Joaquin River Conservancy.

“We accomplish a lot when we all work together,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “To me, this new link of the trail signifies our connection to the outdoors. It connects the public to nature, providing environmental educational opportunities that we can all be proud of for generations to come. Thank you to the partners and volunteers for their work on this important part of the trail.”

FINS includes a new parking lot located on Friant Road to serve school buses and other visitors, an outdoor classroom, trailhead facilities, interpretive exhibits and the following:

  • Small Fry Children’s Trail and “Stormy Creek” — A play area and educational introduction to ecosystems, encouraging children to learn about the life of a trout while enjoying nature. “Stormy Creek” demonstrates a bio-swale, which is a landscaped area designed to remove silt and pollution from surface runoff water before entering a river system like the San Joaquin River.
  • San Joaquin Hatchery— conveniently located for tourists, visitors and Friant residents, offers free visitation and public viewing of the life stages of a trout.
  • Salmon Conservation and Research Facility — Construction is slated to begin within the next year on a state-of-the-art $23.7 million fisheries facility that will produce spring-run Chinook salmon for reintroduction to the San Joaquin River.

Funding for the $3.38 million project was provided by the San Joaquin River Conservancy with approval of the California Wildlife Conservation Board, using state bond funds from the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Fund of 2006 (Proposition 84) and the Clean Water, Clean Air, Safe Neighborhood Parks, and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2002 (Proposition 40).

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Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
Steve Gonzalez, CDFW Communications, (916) 715-9072

Habitat Restoration Projects to Help California’s Wintering Waterfowl

State Duck Stamp Dollars Support Waterfowl Population at Beginning of Their Life Cycle

It might seem incongruous for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to fund a habitat restoration project located somewhere outside of California. Yet, doing so is a very important part of biologists’ efforts to protect and manage the approximately 5 million waterfowl that winter in our state annually – and is a very important use of the conservation dollars provided by waterfowl hunters.

“The goal is to ensure the long-term security of the northern pintail and other duck species that winter in the Central Valley of California,” said Craig Stowers, CDFW’s Game Species Program Manager. “In order to do that, we need to consider their entire life cycle, and trace their migration all the way back to their origin. That’s why legislation and the best available science both support the use of California Duck Stamp dollars and funding through the North American Wetland Conservation Act to secure and restore additional habitat for breeding waterfowl in Canada.”

In an average year, CDFW sells almost 70,000 state duck stamps, generating about $1.3 million for waterfowl-related projects. The number of stamps sold has been relatively consistent since 1991. The majority of wetland enhancement and restoration projects supported through the state Duck Stamp Fund occur here in California, on public lands open to hunting. For the 2016-2017 fiscal year, that includes more than $1 million allocated for habitat restoration and enhancement projects at Honey Lake Wildlife Area, Butte Valley Wildlife Area, Modoc National Wildlife Refuge, Upper Butte Wildlife Area, Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area, Kern National Wildlife Refuge, Imperial Wildlife Area and Morro Bay Estuary.

But few hunters realize $2.25 of every duck stamp sold is allocated by law (California Fish and Game Code, section 3704) for the purposes of restoring habitat in those areas of Canada from which come substantial numbers of waterfowl migrating to, or through, California.

In 1972, the State Legislature implemented a mandate to use duck stamp funds in Canada in order to conserve critical waterfowl habitat in North America’s breeding grounds. This legislation looked to the future of waterfowl populations and directed CDFW (then known as the California Department of Fish and Game) to spend these moneys wisely and seek out matching funds to get as much conservation work done as possible. Those matching funds come both from CDFW’s conservation partners and the federal government via the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

This year, duck stamp dollars marked for Canadian wetland and upland conservation projects will go to the King Conservation Easement in Alberta. This is a key breeding area for pintail and is in need of wetland and upland habitat protection. The Duck Stamp Fund will contribute $155,000, with the rest provided via federal match, to protect approximately 48 acres of wetlands and 592 acres of uplands. This particular easement is key because it is adjacent to other conservation easements that together form a habitat range of more than 15,000 acres.

In addition to wetland restoration projects, duck stamp funds also support species-specific projects. For the 2016-2017 fiscal year, these projects will include:

  • A pintail banding project that will help biologists study harvest and survival rates ($35,000)
  • A mallard banding project that will provide data critical to the establishment of annual duck hunting regulations ($23,000)
  • A tule greater white-fronted goose study that will use radio transmitters to collect data about this special-status species’ population, habitat use and distribution ($7,000)
  • A waterfowl food study to determine the amount of calories provided by post-harvest rice and corn, and how these food sources affect waterfowl ($51,890)

Any projects that are supported by duck stamp funds are approved only with the input and analysis of waterfowl conservation groups such as the California Waterfowl Association and Ducks Unlimited. And, unlike nearly all other hunter-generated funds, state duck stamp projects must be first approved by the California Fish and Game Commission, which adds another important layer of accountability and transparency.

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Media Contacts:
Melanie Weaver, CDFW Waterfowl Program, (916) 445-3717
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

CDFW to Host Public Meeting on Draft 2017 Fisheries Habitat Restoration Proposal Solicitation Notice

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Watershed Restoration Grants Branch will hold a public meeting to discuss its Draft Fisheries Habitat Restoration 2017 Proposal Solicitation Notice (FHR 2017 PSN). The Draft FHR 2017 PSN includes focuses for the Fisheries Restoration Grant Program, the Steelhead Report and Restoration Card Program, the Forest Land Anadromous Restoration Program and the Commercial Salmon Stamp Program.

The public meeting will be held Monday, Oct. 24, 2016, from 10 a.m. to noon, in the Natural Resources Building Auditorium, 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento (95814). Interested parties may also participate via phone and online using AT&T Connect. See the meeting notice for instructions on how to participate remotely.

Written comments will be accepted by CDFW between Oct. 10 and Nov. 4, 2016.  All timely comments will be considered by staff prior to finalization of the solicitations. Comments may be submitted via email to FRGP@wildlife.ca.gov.

CDFW staff will accept oral and written comments during the public meeting and any comments received may become part of the public record.

For additional information, please contact Matt Wells at FRGP@wildlife.ca.gov or (916) 445-1285.

Persons with disabilities needing reasonable accommodation to participate in public meetings or other CDFW activities are invited to contact the Department’s Accessibility Coordinator Melissa Carlin at (916) 651-1214 or melissa.carlin@wildlife.ca.gov. Reasonable Accommodation requests for facility and/or meeting accessibility should be received at least 21 days prior to the event. Requests for American Sign Language Interpreters should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the event, and requests for Real-Time Captioning at least four weeks prior to the event.These timeframes are to help ensure that the requested accommodation is met. If a request for an accommodation has been submitted but due to circumstances is no longer needed, please contact the Accessibility Coordinator immediately.

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Media contacts:
Matt Wells, CDFW Watershed Restoration Grants Branch, (916) 445-1285
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 322-651-7824

CDFW Awards $9.4 Million to Fund Additional Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of five additional projects to receive approximately $9.4 million in grants through its fiscal year 2015-16 Watershed Restoration Grant Program cycle. These awards were made following an augmentation of funding from the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1) in the 2016-17 Budget Act.

The grants will fund a diversity of planning, implementation and acquisition projects that further implement the objectives of the California Water Action Plan.

“In the first year of our Proposition 1 program, the number of proposals received outstripped the availability of funding,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “We are responding to this demand by readily supporting additional projects to address specific water action plan objectives which will ensure the program’s continued momentum.”

Projects approved for funding include:

  • American River Headwaters Restoration Project (up to $1.8 million to American River Conservancy)
  • Butte Creek Diversion 55 Fish Screen Project (up to $150,000 to Family Water Alliance, Inc.)
  • Johnson Meadow Acquisition, Upper Truckee River (up to $4 million to Tahoe Resource Conservation District)
  • Napa River Restoration Oakville to Oak Knoll Project (up to $800,000 to Napa County Department of Public Works)
  • Oroville Wildlife Area Floodplain Reconnection and Habitat Restoration Project (up to $2.6 million to River Partners)

These five awarded project proposals were included in the initial administrative review and subsequent technical review process of all proposals received in response to CDFW’s August 2015 solicitation. This process included reviews by CDFW scientists, as well as experts from other agencies and academia.

CDFW is also currently reviewing proposals received in response to its fiscal year 2016-17 Proposition 1 Grant Programs solicitation and anticipates the announcement of awarded projects in November 2016.

More information about CDFW’s Proposition 1 Restoration Grant Programs can be found 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. For more information about Proposition 1, please visit http://bondaccountability.resources.ca.gov/p1.aspx.

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Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, Watershed Restoration Grants Branch, (916) 445-1285
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824