Category Archives: Habitat Conservation

Coho Salmon Released in Marin County’s Redwood Creek to Boost Spawning of Endangered Fish

In an effort to boost the population of spawning coho salmon in Marin County’s Redwood Creek, biologists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the National Park Service (NPS) today released nearly 200 adult coho salmon in the creek at Muir Beach.

The released coho salmon were collected as juveniles from Redwood Creek in the summer of 2015 at an age of 6 to 8 months and reared to adulthood at the Warm Springs Fish Hatchery in Geyserville at the base of the Lake Sonoma Dam.

The release of coho salmon this winter is the culmination of the Redwood Creek Coho Salmon Rescue and Captive Rearing Project. This project, a collaborative effort by CDFW, NPS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the California Department of Parks and Recreation, was initiated in 2014 with the goal of preventing the extinction of the coho salmon, which is listed as an endangered species under both the California Endangered Species Act and the federal Endangered Species Act.

Prior to 2014, fewer than 10 adult coho salmon were estimated to have returned to Redwood Creek annually to spawn. The long decline of coho salmon in Redwood Creek has been accelerated by recent periods of poor ocean survival combined with the prolonged California drought. Coho salmon are more sensitive to habitat degradation and poor water quality than other Pacific salmon species since they rear as juveniles in freshwater for a year or more.

Biologists hope that the released fish will migrate upstream and spawn in the creek. NPS monitoring staff will survey the creek in the summer of 2018 and collect tissue samples from juvenile fish. Genetic analysis of the tissue samples will indicate how many of the released adult fish produced viable offspring.

The first major release of adult coho salmon in Redwood Creek occurred in the winter of 2016. A third and final release of adult coho salmon is planned for the winter of 2018-19.

More information about the Redwood Creek Coho Salmon Rescue and Captive Rearing Project can be found on the CDFW website at wildlife.ca.gov/Drought/Projects/Redwood-Creek-Coho. The Redwood Creek coho restoration project is part of a broader effort to sustain and restore coho salmon runs along the central and northern California coast.

Media Contacts:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
Manfred Kittel, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 944-5522

Dana Polk, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, National Park Service, (415) 786-8021
Darren Fong, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, National Park Service, (415) 289-1838

CDFW Photo by Peter Tira

CDFW Awards $39.7 Million for Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration and Protection Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 39 projects to receive funding from its Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1) Restoration Grant Programs.

The awards, totaling $39.7 million, were made under CDFW’s 2017 Proposition 1 Restoration Grant Programs Solicitation (the third of 10 planned annual grant cycles). This includes approximately $31.7 million awarded through the Watershed Restoration Grant Program to projects of statewide importance outside of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and approximately $8 million awarded through the Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program to projects that directly benefit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The awarded projects represent priorities outlined in the 2017 Solicitation, as well as the California Water Action Plan.

“This round of grants expands the frontier of our Proposition 1 programs to critical watersheds, from as far north as Del Norte County to the Tijuana River watershed in San Diego County,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “This is an important milestone and another step forward in our strategic effort to ensure statewide priorties are addressed through this funding source.”

Projects approved for funding through the Watershed Restoration Grant Program include:

Implementation Projects:

  • Butte Creek Diversion 55 Fish Screen Project – Implementation ($209,633 to Family Water Alliance, Inc.);
  • Deer Creek Irrigation District Dam Fish Passage Improvement Project ($2,198,447 to Trout Unlimited);
  • Dennett Dam Removal ($509,520 to Tuolumne River Trust);
  • Fish Passage and Off-Channel Habitat Restoration at Roy’s Pools ($2,147,997 to Salmon Protection and Watershed Network);
  • Floodplain and Instream Habitat Restoration on San Geronimo Creek ($767,739 to Salmon Protection and Watershed Network);
  • GHMWC Fish Screen Project – Implementation ($1,159,183 to Family Water Alliance, Inc.);
  • Lagunita Diversion Dam Removal Project ($1,226,537 to Leland Stanford Jr. University);
  • Little Shasta Fish Passage Project ($474,114 to California Trout, Inc.);
  • Lower Arroyo Burro Open Space Restoration ($550,000 to City of Santa Barbara);
  • Mill-Shackleford Creek Fish Passage Restoration Project ($522,949 to California Trout, Inc.);
  • North San Diego County Multi-Watershed Enhancement & Restoration for Resiliency ($1,106,136 to San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy);

Planning Projects:

  • Advancing Meadow Restoration in the Truckee and American River Watersheds ($632,098 to Truckee River Watershed Council);
  • Atascadero Subwatershed Coho Habitat Assessment ($114,429 to Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District);
  • Bolsa Chica Lowlands Restoration Project: Sustainability Alternatives Planning Document ($282,492 to Bolsa Chica Land Trust);
  • Burdell Unit Tidal Restoration Feasibility Study ($394,452 to Ducks Unlimited, Inc.);
  • Cook and Butcher Fish Passage and Fish Screen Planning Project ($418,618 to Western Shasta Resource Conservation District);
  • Morrison Creek: Coho Salmon Passage and Habitat Enhancement Planning ($203,577 to Smith River Alliance);
  • Napa River Restoration Oakville to Oak Knoll Design-Group B and D ($750,000 to Napa County);
  • Paynes Creek BWU Fish Passage Assessment and Restoration Project ($345,885 to Trout Unlimited);
  • Restoring Tásmam Kojóm – Big Meadow ($95,130 to Maidu Summit Consortium and Conservancy);
  • Rose Valley Lakes System Alternatives Analysis and Feasibility Study ($194,708 to California Trout, Inc.);
  • Sentenac Cienega Ecosystem Restoration ($552,898 to California Department of Parks and Recreation);
  • TRVRP Brown Fill Restoration Project ($1,328,000 to County of San Diego);
  • Upper Sonoma Creek Habitat Restoration Plan and Demonstration Project Design ($335,738 to Sonoma Ecology Center);

Acquisition Projects:

  • Arcata Community Forest/Humboldt State University- Jacoby Creek Forest Expansion ($1,754,000 to City of Arcata);
  • Hornitos Ranch Conservation Easement Acquisition Project ($3,000,000 to Sierra Foothill Conservancy);
  • Mailliard Navarro and Garcia Rivers Headwaters Forest Project ($1,000,000 to Save the Redwoods League);
  • Mendonca Dairy Acquisition ($3,696,677 to River Partners);
  • Mt. Shasta Headwaters: Soda Springs Conservation Easement ($500,000 to Pacific Forest Trust);
  • Sierra Valley Wetlands/Wet Meadows Conservation Project ($1,723,560 to Feather River Land Trust);
  • Tijuana River Watershed Protection Project ($1,872,408 to The Trust for Public Land); and
  • Walker-Hearne Ranch Acquisition Project ($1,700,000 to Ventura Hillsides Conservancy).

Projects approved for funding through the Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program include:

Scientific Studies:

  • A next-generation model of juvenile salmon migration through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ($1,730,903 to University of California Santa Cruz, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology);
  • Application of cutting-edge tools to retrospectively evaluate habitat suitability and flow effects for Longfin Smelt ($604,792 to University of California Davis, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology);
  • Defining the fundamental niche of Longfin Smelt – Spirinchus thaleichthys ($1,597,446 to Regents of the University of California Davis, Office of Research Sponsored Programs);
  • Floodplains, Tidal Wetlands and the Dark Food web: determining heterotrophic carbon contribution to higher level consumers ($636,394 to University of California Davis Center for Watershed Sciences);
  • Impacts of climate change on pesticide bioavailability and sublethal effects on juvenile benefits of floodplain rearing ($963,408 to Regents of the University of California Riverside, Department of Environmental Sciences);
  • Interior Delta Export Effects Study ($1,349,309 to California Department of Water Resources); and
  • Juvenile salmon distribution, abundance, and growth in restored and relict Delta marsh habitats ($1,036,412 to California Department of Water Resources).

General information about CDFW’s Proposition 1 Restoration Grant Programs, as well as a schedule of locations and dates for workshops, once available, 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. More information about Proposition 1 can be found here.

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Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, CDFW Watershed Restoration Grants Branch, (916) 445-1285
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

 

California Elk Plan Draft Now Available for Public Comment

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released a draft of the Statewide Elk Conservation and Management Plan for public review and comment. The plan provides guidance and direction to help set priorities for elk management efforts statewide.

“This draft plan is an important milestone for many of our wildlife program staff, and we’re pleased to be one step closer to completion,” said CDFW Wildlife Branch Chief Kari Lewis. “Public feedback is a critical part of shaping this effort, which emphasizes the sharing of resources and collaboration with all parties interested in elk and elk management. These are essential for effective management of California’s elk populations.”

The overarching plan addresses historical and current geographic range, habitat conditions and trends, and major factors affecting Roosevelt, Rocky Mountain and tule elk in California. The plan also includes subsections that are specific to each of the 22 Elk Management Units (EMUs) in California. These areas collectively comprise the currently known distribution of elk in California. Each subsection includes a description of the EMU and information about elk distribution and abundance, management goals, objectives and actions, herd viability and a summary of annual harvests in that unit.

The plan also outlines management actions that emphasize maintenance and improvement of habitat conditions on both public and private land.

All public comments should be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. Comments may be submitted online at ElkManagementPlan@wildlife.ca.gov, or can be mailed to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Wildlife Branch, Attn: Joe Hobbs
1812 Ninth St.
Sacramento, CA  95811

Comments received by the deadline will be reviewed by CDFW, and appropriate changes will be incorporated into the final document prior to its anticipated release in early 2018.

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Media Contacts:
Joe Hobbs, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-9992
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 212-7352

 

CDFW Awards $1.3 Million for Restoration in Watersheds Impacted by Cannabis Cultivation

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of four projects to receive funding for habitat restoration projects within California’s Northern Coastal watersheds most impacted by unregulated cannabis cultivation.

The awards, totaling $1.3 million, were made under CDFW’s Cannabis Restoration Grant Program, and will support cleanup and habitat restoration at inactive cannabis cultivation sites.

“These grants mark an important step forward in our efforts to address the extensive damage to habitat and toxic chemicals threatening a host of wild species,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “Providing a resource to address the impacts of reckless cannabis cultivation adds an important piece to the complex puzzle of our existing watershed restoration work.”

Projects approved for funding through the Cannabis Restoration Grant Program include:

  • Reclaiming our Public Lands and Watersheds from the Environmental Threats of Trespass Cannabis Cultivation ($1,068,415 to Integral Ecology Research Center);
  • Bull Creek Cannabis Recovery Project ($94,510 to Eel River Watershed Improvement Group);
  • SF Usal Creek Headwaters – Trash and Toxin Cleanup ($83,840 to Eel River Watershed Improvement Group); and
  • Whitethorn Grove Clean Up ($64,831 to Sanctuary Forest, Inc.).

Projects funded under the 2017 Cannabis Restoration Program are scheduled to commence in early 2018.

The Cannabis Restoration Grant Program was established by CDFW in 2017 in response to legislation aimed at regulating the burgeoning legal cannabis industry. In his signing message to Assembly Bill 243 (Wood, Medical Marijuana), Governor Brown directed, “the Natural Resources Agency to identify projects to begin the restoration of our most impacted areas in the state.”

“I have seen firsthand the devastation to the watersheds caused by these rogue cannabis growers,” said Assemblymember Jim Wood, the author of AB 243. “They divert water, use prohibited herbicides and leave behind hundreds of butane canisters and chemical ponds that pollute our waterways affecting the salmon and trout populations. I am thankful that Governor Brown allocated $1.5 million this year to kick off this very targeted restoration program for the North Coast area and look forward to the state identifying future funds so we can continue this critical work.”

General information about CDFW’s Cannabis Restoration Grant Program can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Watersheds/Cannabis-Restoration-Grant.

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Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, Watershed Restoration Grants Branch, (916) 445-1285
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

 

CDFW Expanding Lands Pass Program to Dozens of Properties in 2017-18

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is expanding its Lands Pass Program to 41 wildlife areas and ecological reserves this fall and winter and will soon require a CDFW lands pass of all visitors 16 or older. Those carrying a current hunting or fishing license are exempt from this new requirement.

CDFW’s Lands Pass Program began in 1988 as a way to broaden the funding base beyond hunters and anglers to pay for conservation and habitat improvement on some of the state’s most popular and frequently visited wildlife areas and ecological reserves. In 2013, the California Legislature directed CDFW to expand the program to more properties as a way for all visitors to contribute to the management of the places they enjoy and appreciate.

A daily lands pass costs $4.32 and an annual lands pass costs $24.33. Lands passes can be purchased online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales, by phone at (800) 565-1458 or in-person wherever hunting and fishing license are sold (please see www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing for a list of locations). The passes are good at any CDFW-managed wildlife area or ecological reserve designated as a lands pass area. With the exception of the Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve, lands passes are not sold on site and should be purchased in advance. Though lands passes can be purchased from a smartphone and used immediately, many of CDFW’s wildlife areas and ecological reserves are in remote locations with limited or no cell service or Wi-Fi availability. Signs will be posted notifying visitors of the need for a lands pass.

A lands pass already is required to visit six CDFW properties:

  • Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve in Monterey County
  • Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in Butte County
  • Grizzly Island Wildlife Area in Solano County
  • Imperial Wildlife Area in Imperial County
  • Los Banos Wildlife Area in Merced County
  • San Jacinto Wildlife Area in Riverside County.

Beginning in November, a lands pass will be required to visit the following 11 properties:

  • Ash Creek, Bass Hill, Honey Lake and Willow Creek wildlife areas in Lassen County
  • Battle Creek Wildlife Area in Tehama County
  • Butte Valley, Horseshoe Ranch and Shasta Valley wildlife areas in Siskiyou County
  • Mouth of Cottonwood Creek Wildlife Area in Shasta County
  • Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area (Green Island Unit only) in Napa County
  • Woodbridge Ecological Reserve in San Joaquin County (beginning Nov. 15)

Starting January 2018, a lands pass will be required at the following 23 properties:

  • Batiquitos Lagoon, Boden Canyon, Buena Vista Lagoon and San Elijo Lagoon ecological reserves and Hollenbeck Canyon and San Felipe Valley wildlife areas in San Diego County
  • Upper Newport Bay (Big Canyon Unit only) Ecological Reserve in Orange County
  • Canebrake Ecological Reserve in Kern County
  • Crescent City Marsh, Elk Creek Wetlands and Lake Earl wildlife areas in Del Norte County
  • Eel River, Elk River Wetlands, Fay Slough and Mad River Slough wildlife areas in Humboldt County
  • Hope Valley Wildlife Area in Alpine County
  • Mendota Wildlife Area in Fresno County
  • North Grasslands and Volta wildlife areas in Merced County
  • North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve in Butte County and the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area in Butte and Glenn counties
  • Tehama Wildlife Area in Tehama County
  • Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area in Yolo County

Starting February 2018, a lands pass will be required at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Orange County.

For more information on CDFW’s Lands Pass program, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/lands-pass.

Media Contacts:
Julie Horenstein, CDFW Lands Program, (916) 324-3772
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

 

CDFW photo of the Ash Creek Wildlife Area in Lassen County where a CDFW lands pass will be required of visitors 16 or older starting in November