juvenile coho salmon

Nominations Now Being Accepted for Fisheries Restoration Grant Program Peer Review Committee

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Fisheries Restoration Grant Program (FRGP) is seeking nominations to fill two vacancies on the FRGP Peer Review Committee (PRC). The current vacancies include one seat for a representative  of the public water agency industry and one seat for an academic or research scientist.

Pursuant to the Public Resources Code, section 6217.1, the 14 representatives of the PRC are appointed by the director of CDFW to provide advice, oversight and recommendations for grant funding under the FRGP.

Seven of the PRC’s 14 representatives are recommended by the California Advisory Committee on Salmon and Steelhead Trout. Three representatives are County Supervisors from coastal counties recommended by California State Association of Counties.

The remaining four PRC seats represent the following interests: one representative from the agriculture industry, one representative from the timber industry, one representative of public water agency interests and one academic or research scientist with expertise in anadromous fisheries restoration.

All representatives must reside in or represent interests in coastal and Central Valley counties in which native salmon and steelhead exist.

CDFW will accept nominations from the general public for the public water agency industry and academic or research scientist representatives through Jan. 29, 2020. The appointed representatives serve four-year terms, and these appointments extend until January 2024, starting no sooner than the PRC meeting to be held in the winter of 2020.

To nominate a representative for any of the above open seats, please send a nomination letter to:

Timothy Chorey, FRGP Coordinator
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Watershed Restoration Grants Branch
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
frgp@wildlife.ca.gov

Nomination letters must include the resume of the candidate and verification that they represent coastal or Central Valley counties in which salmon and steelhead exist. For more information, please contact Timothy Chorey at (916) 327-8842 or frgp@wildlife.ca,gov.

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

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

Sierra Nevada Bighorn at Pine Creek.

January 2020 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

Various Days — Guided Wetland Tours by Reservation at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). A wildlife naturalist will lead any group, school or organization on a half-mile route through the diverse wetlands of the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. General information includes wildlife identification, behavior patterns and conservation efforts. The experience can be customized to include requested information. The minimum group size is 18 people. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

Various Days — Ecological Reserve Tours at Elkhorn Slough, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Volunteers lead walks every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Binoculars and bird books are available for the public to borrow at no cost. The visitor center and main overlook are fully accessible. Groups of five or more should please notify staff that they are coming and groups of 10 or more can request a separate tour. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/places-to-visit/elkhorn-slough-er.

Various Days — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Multiple Hunting Opportunities. Wild pig, waterfowl, turkey, dove and quail hunts are available through the SHARE program. An $11.88 non-refundable application fee is charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

First Through Third Saturdays and Sundays of the Month — Sandhill Crane Wetland Tours at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, 7730 W. Woodbridge Road, Lodi (95242). Online registration has begun for those wishing to participate in guided tours, which run October through February. A one-day Lands Pass must be purchased to attend and instructions are available on the same website. Tours fill fast and registration may be done as much as six weeks in advance. To register or for more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/3/crane-tour.

Saturdays — Swan Tours. CDFW will offer free swan tours near Marysville on Saturdays through January. Co-hosted by local rice farmers, the naturalist-led tours will focus on tundra swans in one of the premier locations for viewing swans in California. Tours will be held on Saturdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m. The driving tours also involve walking a short distance and carpooling is encouraged. Pre-registration is required at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/swan-tours and up to 30 people can register for each tour.  For more information, please call (916) 358-2869 or email interpretiveservices@wildlife.ca.gov.

Weekends — Guided Wildlife Tours at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948), 12:30 p.m. The 90-minute walking tour covers slightly more than a half mile through this premier birding spot that highlights migratory waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. Tours are canceled in heavy rain. No reservations are necessary for groups of fewer than 20 people. This land is part of the CDFW Lands Pass Program and its associated fee-for-use requirement. For more information on the Lands Pass Program, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/lands-pass. For more information on the tours, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

4 — White and White-fronted Goose Season Opens in the Northeastern California Zone. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

11 — The Highs and Lows of Elkhorn Slough: King Tide Photography Tour, 9:30 a.m. to noon, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Participants can witness one of the highest tides of the year and help scientists document the “King Tide” phenomenon. Reserve naturalists discuss the impacts of sea level rise on the slough and its surrounding coastlines while touring designated “King Tide” sites. Participants should bring cameras to record the tides at each site. The event is free but registration is required. For more information and to register, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/annual-king-tide-walk-2.

12 — Canada Goose Season Closes in the Northeastern California Zone. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

16 — California Fish and Game Commission Wildlife Resources Committee, time to be determined, Aquarium of the Pacific, Pacific Visions Conference Room, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA (90802). For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2020/index.aspx.

17 — California Fish and Game Commission Tribal Committee, time and location to be determined, Los Angeles area. For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2020/index.aspx.

17 — Duck Season, White Geese and White-fronted Goose Season Closes in the Northeastern California Zone. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

25 — Elkhorn Slough Reserve Docent Training, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville, (95076). Participants will learn how to join the reserve’s volunteer docent team and aid in the conservation of coastal estuaries. Over a span of five Saturdays (beginning Jan. 25 and concluding on Feb. 22), participants will learn about local natural history while developing strategies for engaging the public. Docent-led tours are offered on weekends throughout the year. Scheduling is flexible and based on individual availability. For more information or to register for training, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/reserve-docent-training.

26 — Goose Season Closes in the Balance of State Zone. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

26 — Duck and Goose Season Closes in the Colorado River Zone. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

27 — Falconry Only Season Opens for Rabbits and Varying Hares (extending through March 15). For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/small-game.

28 — CDFW Conservation Lecture Series, 10:30 a.m. to noon, “Wildfires and Water Quality.” Caltrans’ Lorna McFarlane will speak about Caltrans’ collaborative efforts to reduce the frequency and severity of catastrophic wildfires, as well as their negative effects on the landscape and surface water quality. Attendance is free. To register or learn more, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/lectures.

31 — Duck Season Closes in the Balance of State Zone. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

31 — Duck and Goose Season Closes in the Southern San Joaquin and Southern California Zones. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

31 — Deer Tag Reporting Deadline. Deer tag holders must submit a harvest report for any 2019 deer tag by the Jan. 31, 2020 deadline. All tag holders must report even if they did not hunt, or they hunted unsuccessfully. Tag holders who do not report by this deadline will be charged a $21.60 non-reporting penalty fee when purchasing a 2020 deer tag drawing application or deer tag. To report your harvest online, please visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/customersearch/begin. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/hunting#9941260-tag-reporting or call (916) 928-5805.

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Media Contacts:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8907

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

California Fish and Game Commission Meets in Sacramento

At its December 2019 meeting in Sacramento, the California Fish and Game Commission  took action on a number of issues affecting California’s natural resources. The following are just a few items of interest from the two-day meeting.

The Commission made a listing decision under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) regarding the foothill yellow-legged frog. Due to the level of genetic divergence, geographic isolation, and differing levels of imperilment between populations and threats within these populations, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recommended separating the listing into different clades for the foothill yellow-legged frog. The Commission’s decision was consistent with that recommendation. The Commission listed the Southern Sierra, Central Coast and South Coast clades as endangered under CESA, and the Feather River and Northern Sierra clades as threatened under CESA. The Commission also decided that listing the North Coast clade is not warranted at this time. The Commission is scheduled to adopt findings for the decision at its February 2020 meeting.

The Commission recognized five newly inducted members of the California Waterfowler’s Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees are L. Ryan Broddrick, Dean A. Cortopassi, John M. Eadie, Richard Janson and Mickey W. Saso. The California Waterfowler’s Hall of Fame was established in 2006 to recognize those individuals who have made significant contributions to enhancing waterfowl and their habitats in California.

After hearing from numerous Delta anglers, the Commission voted to postpone adoption of a Delta Fisheries Management Policy and potential amendments to the Commission’s Striped Bass Policy to a future meeting.

Successful and sound management of game populations has allowed for the Commission to authorize publication of notice to amend hunting regulations for big game mammals and waterfowl. Amendments to be considered include additional hunting opportunities in some elk and desert bighorn sheep zones where populations continue to thrive, and new hunting opportunities for veterans and active military personnel for waterfowl hunting.

The Commission authorized publication of notice to amend the regulations for CDFW lands to add properties to the lists of wildlife areas and ecological reserves, and to remove properties from those lists for which CDFW no longer has management authority. This focused regulatory package also proposes authorization of new site-specific public uses, as well as other amendments to address operational or public safety concerns.

The Commission received an annual report from CDFW on management activities of the Statewide Marine Protected Area Program and heard other marine-related items.

The Commission also elected to move the dates of the next meeting to Feb. 20-21, 2020 with marine items being heard on the first day and wildlife items on the second day.

Commission President Eric Sklar, Vice President Jacque Hostler-Carmesin and Commissioner Samantha Murray were present. Commissioners Russell Burns and Peter Silva were absent.

The full Commission agenda for this meeting along with supporting information is available at www.fgc.ca.gov. An archived video will also be available in coming days.

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The California Fish and Game Commission was the first wildlife conservation agency in the United States, predating even the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries. There is often confusion about the distinction between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Commission. In the most basic terms, CDFW implements and enforces the regulations set by the Commission, as well as provides biological data and expertise to inform the Commission’s decision-making process.

Little North Fork of the Navarro River, Mendocino County.

CDFW Awards $10.1 Million for Fisheries Habitat Restoration and Forest Legacy Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 31 projects that will receive funding for the restoration, enhancement and protection of anadromous salmonid habitat in California watersheds, as well as forest legacy restoration.

The grants, which total $10.1 million, are distributed through CDFW’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program (FRGP). They include $256,440 allocated for timber legacy restoration projects and approximately $9.8 million for anadromous salmonid restoration projects. FRGP monies come from a combination of state sources and the federal Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.

“We are excited to further the restoration of river ecosystems critical to California’s salmon and steelhead,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “Several of this year’s projects incorporate process-based restoration to address the root of ecological degradation and benefits all species using the waterway, including salmonids.”

In response to the 2019 Fisheries Habitat Restoration Grant Solicitation, CDFW received 70 proposals requesting more than $38 million in funding. All proposals underwent an initial administrative review. Those that passed were then evaluated through a technical review process that included reviews by CDFW and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists.

The 31 approved projects will further the objectives of state and federal fisheries recovery plans, including removing barriers to fish migration, restoring riparian habitat, monitoring of listed populations and creating a more resilient and sustainably managed water resources system (e.g., water supply, water quality and habitat) that can better withstand drought conditions. These projects further the goals of California’s Water Action Plan and CDFW’s State Wildlife Action Plan, as well as addressing limiting factors specified in state and federal recovery plans.

The list of approved projects is available on the FRGP web page.

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

Landscape photo of Childs Meadow.

CDFW Awards $11.35 Million for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Grant Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of seven projects to restore wetlands that will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and provide other ecological co-benefits.

The awards, totaling $11.35 million, were made under CDFW’s 2019 Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program Proposal Solicitation Notice. The seven projects will restore or enhance approximately 1,700 acres of wetlands and mountain meadows and sequester an estimated 67,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide (MTC02e).

The Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program focuses on projects with measurable objectives that will lead to GHG reductions in wetlands and watersheds while providing co-benefits such as enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, protecting and improving water quality and quantity and helping California adapt to climate change. Wetlands have high carbon sequestration rates that can store carbon for decades.

“These projects will significantly benefit climate science and ecosystems representing the coast, the Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “We are excited to continue the momentum to restore California’s wetlands while making a demonstrable impact to greenhouse gases.”

To improve efficiency and alignment with program priorities, a new two-phase application process involving a pre-application and final application was implemented for 2019 solicitation.

The following projects are approved for funding:

  • The Light-handed Meadow Restoration in Faith Valley and Log Meadow ($475,675 to American Rivers) will restore and protect 138 acres of mountain meadow at two high-priority sites, Faith Valley in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and Log Meadow in Sequoia National Park. The project will have an estimated GHG benefit of 7,644 MTCO2e.
  • The Hill Slough Restoration Project ($5,577,413 to Ducks Unlimited, Inc.) will restore 603 acres of managed seasonal wetland to tidal wetland and restore 46 acres of existing upland to tidal wetland in the Suisun Marsh. The project will have an estimated GHG benefit of 25,242 MTCO2e.
  • The City of Newman Inland Wetland Restoration Project ($610,000 to the City of Newman) will restore a 10-acre parcel of land owned by the City of Newman, Merced County. The project will provide multiple environmental, economic and public benefits and will have an estimated GHG benefit of 78 MTCO2e.
  • The White Slough Tidal Wetlands Restoration Project ($852,113 to the California State Coastal Conservancy) will restore 40 acres of coastal tidal wetlands on diked historic tidelands in the White Slough Unit of Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Humboldt County. The project will have an estimated GHG benefit of 17,073 MTCO2e.
  • The Upper Truckee River and Marsh Restoration Project ($895,000 to the California Tahoe Conservancy) will restore 13 acres of wetlands in the Upper Truckee River in El Dorado County by grading back to historic topography, removing invasive species and revegetation. The project will have an estimated GHG benefit of 6,545 MTCO2e.
  • The Lower Walnut Creek Restoration Project ($950,000 to Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District) will restore and enhance approximately 183 acres of tidal wetlands and tidal channel, 17 acres of non-tidal pickleweed marsh and 36 acres of adjacent lowland terrestrial ecotones, and create and enhance approximately 60 acres of uplands. The project will have an estimated GHG benefit of 5,690 MTCO2e.
  • The Ocean Ranch Restoration Project ($1,998,282 to the California State Coastal Conservancy) will restore the natural tidal prism and improve connectivity of tidal and freshwater habitats within 571 acres of Ocean Ranch in Humboldt County. The ORRP will have an estimated GHG benefit of 5,223 MTCO2e.

CDFW’s Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program is part of California Climate Investments (CCI), a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities. The cap-and-trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. CCI projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling, and much more. More information about the CDFW program can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/watersheds/greenhouse-gas-reduction.

For more information about cap-and-trade funding and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, please visit the CCI website at www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov.

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