Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its May 20, 2020 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $36.2 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 31 approved projects will benefit fish and wildlife — including some endangered species — while others will provide public 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.

Funding for these projects comes from a combination of sources including the Habitat Conservation Fund and bond measures approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources.

Funded projects include:

  • A $343,000 grant to The Nature Conservancy for a cooperative project with the National Park Service and the California Institute of Environmental Studies to restore approximately three acres of migratory bird breeding habitat on Anacapa Island in the Channel Islands National Park off the coast of Port Hueneme in Ventura County.
  • A $635,000 grant to the Trust for Public Land for a cooperative project with the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority and the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society to acquire approximately 22 acres of land for the protection of threatened and endangered species and riparian and floodplain habitat along the Santa Clara River and to provide the potential for wildlife-oriented, public-use opportunities near Acton in Los Angeles County.
  • A $1.3 million grant to Truckee Donner Land Trust to acquire in fee approximately 201 acres to preserve montane meadow, wildlife corridors and habitat linkages, and to provide wildlife-oriented, public-use opportunities near Truckee in Nevada County.
  • A $4.7 million grant to Tuolumne County for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), CAL FIRE, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Forest Service to enhance forest health and reduce hazardous fuels through selective thinning and replanting activities on approximately 6,434 acres of mixed conifer forest in the Tuolumne River watershed located in Stanislaus National Forest 20 miles east of Sonora in Tuolumne County.
  • A $1.25 million grant to Port San Luis Obispo Harbor District for a cooperative project with California State Parks to rehabilitate a pier and boat landing at Avila Pier located approximately eight miles northwest of Pismo Beach in San Luis Obispo County.
  • A $689,000 grant to Bolsa Chica Conservancy for a cooperative project with Signal Landmark, Pacific Life Foundation and CDFW to install new portable buildings for an interpretive center and construct educational features, an Americans with Disabilities Act accessible observation desk and restrooms in the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve approximately four miles northeast of Huntington Beach in Orange County.
  • A $10 million grant to Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority for a cooperative project with the Peninsula Open Space Trust and State Coastal Conservancy to acquire in fee approximately 235 acres of land to protect a critical linkage both for movement of wildlife and for species adaptation to climate change, and the protection of a natural floodplain located in Coyote Valley in Santa Clara County.
  • A $5 million grant to the Ventura County Watershed Protection District for a planning project that will complete final design plans for Matilija Dam removal and for three downstream levee construction/rehabilitation projects as essential components of the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project, a watershed-scale dam removal initiative and one of California’s largest dam removal efforts located five miles northwest of Ojai in Ventura County.

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

###

Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, WCB, (916) 445-0137
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 817-0434

California Fish and Game Commission Meets Remotely

On the second day of its April remote meeting, 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 today’s part of the meeting (see information from yesterday).

The Commission acknowledged robust public participation using remote technology.FGC Logo

“While we all are learning this remote world together, this meeting proved that government can continue with public input,” said Commission President Eric Sklar. “Governor Newsom recently said we expect a mid-May peak of COVID-19. I implore Californians to stay healthy and stay home to help save lives.”

The Commission approved the mammal hunting regulations and increased the number of elk tags in the northwest management unit. This increased hunting opportunity for the state’s hunting public, based on the best-available scientific data, is due to robust elk populations in this part of the state. The recovery of these elk is a great success story in California wildlife conservation.

The Commission approved the waterfowl daily and seasonal limits for ducks and geese for the 2020-21 hunting season. The northern pintail limit will remain at one pintail per day due to the current status of the population. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to improve the models to address the public’s concerns that pintail limits are too low.

The Commission adopted proposed regulations for public use on CDFW lands, including wildlife areas and ecological reserves. The regulations designate one new wildlife area and seven new ecological reserves, remove areas from the regulations where CDFW no longer has management authority, authorize site-specific public uses and make minor changes to clarify the regulations.

The Commission voted unanimously that listing of the Shasta snow-wreath may be warranted. This commences a one-year status review by CDFW.

The Commission voted unanimously that listing of an evolutionarily significant unit of mountain lions may be warranted. This commences a one-year status review by the CDFW.

Commission President Sklar, Commission Vice President Samantha Murray, and Commissioners Jacque Hostler-Carmesin, Russell Burns and Peter Silva participated in the call.

The full Commission agenda for this meeting along with supporting information is available at fgc.ca.gov. An archived audio file will be available in coming days. The next meeting of the full Commission is a teleconference scheduled for May 14, 2020.

###

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.

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Stream Flow Enhancement Projects

The Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) has approved approximately $24.3 million in grants to help enhance flows in streams throughout California. A total of 19 stream flow enhancement projects were approved for funding at its April 1 meeting. The approved projects will provide or lead to a direct and measurable enhancement of the amount, timing and/or quality of water in streams for anadromous fish or special status, threatened, endangered or at-risk species, or to provide resilience to climate change. 

Funding for these projects comes from the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1). The Act authorized the Legislature to appropriate funds to address the objectives identified in the California Water Action Plan, including more reliable water supplies, the restoration of important species and habitat, and a more resilient and sustainably managed water infrastructure. 

Funded projects include: 

  • A $299,185 grant to Creek Lands Conservation for a cooperative project with Watershed Progressive, Eagle Aerial and Hicks Law to identify and analyze opportunities to enhance stream flow throughout the Ventura River watershed in Ventura County. The project will assess water demand, infiltration and opportunities for reduced consumptive use in order to prioritize parcels that have the highest potential to enhance stream flow.
  • A $3.8 million grant to California Trout for a cooperative project with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the Cardoza Ranch in Siskiyou County. The project will enhance flows in Parks Creek, a tributary to the Shasta River, and restore critical spawning and rearing habitat for salmon and steelhead throughout the watershed.
  • A $689,618 grant to Trout Unlimited to acquire the water rights on lower Battle Creek in Tehama County. The project will dedicate water rights to instream flow in the lower 7.3 miles of Battle Creek to restore dwindling Chinook salmon and steelhead runs and enhance wetlands on private lands managed as part of the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
  • A $1.52 million grant to the North Coast Resource Conservation and Development Council for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Alliance Redwoods Conference Grounds (ARCG) along the mainstem of Dutch Bill Creek in Sonoma County. The project will improve dry season stream flows in Dutch Bill Creek from May to October for the benefit of listed salmonids and aquatic habitat by addressing water use and water sources at the ARCG.
  • A $495,291 grant to Trout Unlimited for a cooperative project with Peter Marchi of Marchi and Son Farm to increase stream flow in San Gregorio Creek in San Mateo County during critically low flow months to improve passage and rearing conditions for anadromous fish. With the addition of Marchi and Son Farm, all commercial farms in the lower San Gregorio Creek will have implemented irrigation efficiency measures and be committed to 20 years of diversion forbearance during the dry season.
  • A $3.94 million grant to The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County for a cooperative project with Hicks Law and The Conservation Fund to acquire ownership of the Santa Rita Ranch and associated water rights in San Luis Obispo County. The project will conserve approximately 1,715 acres of intact wildlife habitat and includes the headwaters of Santa Rita Creek and Hartzell Dam. The entirety of the water rights will be dedicated to instream flow for the benefit of fish and wildlife, wetland habitat and riparian habitat restoration.

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

###

Media Contacts: 
John Donnelly, WCB Executive Director, (916) 445-0137 
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 817-0434

Initiative Aims to Speed Coho Salmon Recovery in California Coastal Watersheds from Santa Cruz to Mendocino Counties

Coho salmon are getting a boost from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) strategic plan to prioritize salmon restoration and habitat improvement projects in coastal watersheds from Santa Cruz to Mendocino counties. In most of these watersheds, coho salmon are in severe decline or locally extinct due to human alterations to land and water resources.

The Priority Action Coho Team (PACT) is designed to focus much needed restoration to help maintain, stabilize and increase localized coho salmon populations. The approach of the PACT initiative is to identify and implement specific short-term actions, drawing from existing state and federal coho salmon recovery plans, to bring immediate benefits.

“PACT employs six strategies emphasizing planning actions and collaboration to accelerate coho salmon recovery from Santa Cruz to Mendocino counties,” said Kevin Shaffer, CDFW Branch Chief. “We look forward to working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) and our many partners on collaborating to recover this amazing fish.”

Watersheds where PACT restoration projects are being implemented include Scott Creek in Santa Cruz County and the Russian River in Sonoma County, where a range of projects to restore and improve stream and estuarine habitat have been carried out. These initiatives include recovery actions such as stream habitat restoration, water conservation, captive rearing and fish rescue, together with improvements to permitting, regulatory and enforcement processes.

PACT was developed jointly by CDFW and NOAA Fisheries, and is part of several initiatives to accelerate the implementation of ecological restoration and stewardship projects in California. Complimentary efforts include the Cutting the Green Tape initiative recently launched by the California Natural Resources Agency, other state agencies and the North Coast Salmon Project.

More information about the PACT process, as well as the link to the report, can be found on the CDFW website.

###

Media Contacts:
Stephen Swales, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 376-1746
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (208) 220-1169

Rush Ranch, landscape photo

CDFW Awards $37 Million for Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration, Protection and Scientific Study Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 40 multi-benefit ecosystem restoration and protection projects to receive funding under its Proposition 1 and Proposition 68 grant programs.

The awards, totaling $37 million, were made under CDFW’s 2020 Proposition 1 and Proposition 68 Grant Opportunities Proposal Solicitation Notice.

Of the $37 million, approximately $24 million was awarded to 19 projects statewide through the Proposition 1 Watershed Restoration Grant Program. Approximately $7 million was awarded to seven projects through the Proposition 1 Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program to projects that directly benefit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Approximately $6 million was awarded to 14 projects through the Proposition 68 Rivers and Streams Grant Program.

While California faces numerous challenges related to COVID-19 (coronavirus), CDFW will continue to administer its grant programs and will implement awarded grant projects while working with grantees to incorporate necessary accommodations under these circumstances.

“We are all currently going to get through this public health emergency together. In the longer term, this year’s awards represent a visionary effort to invest in our ecosystems statewide which will outlast our current challenges,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “These awards represent our focus on continuing necessary support for our restoration partners in local government, Tribes, nongovernmental organizations and communities who support these efforts, which is why we wanted to keep this business going in this difficult time with the announcement of these awards.”

The awarded projects represent priorities outlined in the solicitation, as well as the California Water Action Plan, State Wildlife Action Plan, Sacramento Valley Salmon Resiliency Strategy, Delta Plan, California EcoRestore, Safeguarding California Plan, the California Biodiversity Initiative and the fulfillment of CDFW’s mission.

The following projects were approved for funding through the Proposition 1 Watershed Grant Program.

Acquisition Projects:

  • Wagner Forest Conservation Easement ($5,000,000 to Northcoast Regional Land Trust)
  • Ocean Song Conservation Project – Myers Property Acquisition ($2,423,431 to LandPaths)
  • Snell Valley Ranch Conservation Easement ($1,337,500 to Land Trust of Napa County)
  • Mountain Meadows Conservation Project-Phase 2 ($1,342,449 to The Trust for Public Land)
  • Wright Ranch Conservation Easement Acquisition Project ($821,393 to Sierra Foothill Conservancy)
  • Butte Creek Water Right Acquisition ($791,892 to Friends of Butte Creek)

Implementation Projects:

  • Trout Creek Restoration Reaches 4 and 5 ($2,310,000 to Town of Truckee)
  • Napa River Restoration: Oakville to Oak Knoll, Group D ($2,235,000 to County of Napa)
  • Bear Creek Lower Meadow Restoration ($1,357,606 to Truckee River Watershed Council)
  • Cochran Creek (Humboldt Bay) Fish Passage and Habitat Rehabilitation Implementation Project ($996,986 to California Trout, Inc.)
  • Llano Seco/M&T Ranch Cone Fish Screen Project ($895,701 to Family Water Alliance)
  • Middle Stewart Canyon Creek Restoration Project ($864,317 to City of Ojai)
  • Escondido Creek Watershed Invasive Plant Control, Restoration and Fire Prevention Program ($552,097 to The Escondido Creek Conservancy)

Planning Projects:

  • Golden Trout Wilderness – Kern Plateau Meadows Restoration Planning Project ($834,799 to Trout Unlimited)
  • Atascadero Creek Sedimentation Analysis and Fish Passage Restoration 65 Percent Design Project ($551,220 to Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District)
  • Making the Most of the Urban Landspace: Habitat Restoration and Stormwater Banking for Coho Recovery and Watershed Health in the San Geronimo Valley (536,091 to Salmon Protection and Watershed Network)
  • Tijuana River Valley Regional Park Invasive Species Removal and Restoration Plan ($520,168 to County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation)
  • Southern Los Cerritos Wetlands Restoration Planning ($405,828 to Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority)
  • The Alamo and New Rivers Riparian Habitat Restoration Planning and Permitting Project ($321,332 to River Partners)

The following projects were approved for funding through the Proposition 1 Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program.

Implementation Projects:

  • Lower Walnut Creek Restoration Project ($1,350,000 to Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District)

Planning Projects:

  • Analysis of opportunities for island-wide improvements that includes a mosaic of multiple land uses for subsidence reversal, sustainable agricultural practices, carbon sequestration, water quality and habitat restoration ($1,131,942 to Metropolitan Water District of Southern California)

Scientific Studies:

  • Interior Delta Export Effects Study ($1,689,432 to State Water Contractors)
  • Ecosystem Engineering Impacts of Water Primrose in the Delta ($952,844 to University of California, Merced)
  • Identifying Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Bloom Toxins in Delta Invertebrates: Implications for Native Species and Human Health ($823,415 to San Francisco Estuary Institute)
  • Impacts of storm-driven contaminants on larval delta smelt and the community scale adaptive capacity of prey items to handle those stressors ($659,991 to University of California, Davis)
  • Willow Bend Floodplain Monitoring ($338,282 to River Partners)

The following projects were approved for funding through the Proposition 68 Rivers and Streams Grant Program.

Implementation Projects:

  • East Fork Scott – Meadow Enhancement and Large Woody Debris Addition ($92,299 to U.S. Forest Service – Klamath National Forest)
  • Riprap and Ditch Removal to Restore Merced River Riparian and Meadow Habitat ($293,933 to Yosemite National Park)
  • Restoring Riparian Habitat for Native Aquatic Species in Southern Sierra Watersheds ($264,442 to Yosemite National Park)

Planning Projects:

    • Final Fish Passage Design for the I-5 and Metrolink barriers in Trabuco Creek ($1,499,499 to California Trout, Inc.)
    • Russian River Floodplain Restoration Planning Grant ($717,900 to Endangered Habitats Conservancy)
    • Final Design for Santa Margarita River Fish Passage Project and Bridge Replacement ($714,865 to California Trout, Inc.)
    • Lower Sutter Bypass Anadromous Fish Habitat Restoration Planning ($500,000 to River Partners)
    • Upper Rose Bar Restoration Project: Planning ($365,157 to South Yuba River Citizens League)
    • Lakeville Creek Restoration Project, Phase 1 Planning ($332,495 to Sonoma Land Trust)
    • Lagunitas Creek Watershed Enhancement Plan ($300,000 to Marin Municipal Water District)
    • Advancing Fish Passage in the Little Shasta Watershed ($292,405 to California Trout, Inc.)
    • Sulphur Creek Fish Passage Improvement Project – 100 Percent Designs ($220,000 to California Trout, Inc.)

 

  • Chadd Creek Fish Passage Enhancement Planning Project ($189,780 to Humboldt County Public Works
  • Tenmile Creek Bridge Design Project ($169,945 to Eel River Watershed Improvement Group (ERWIG))

 

General information about CDFW’s Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 Restoration Grant Programs, as well as a schedule for upcoming grant solicitations, once available, can be found at wildlife.ca.gov/grants.

Funding for these projects comes from Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 bond funds, a portion of which are allocated annually through the California State Budget Act. More information about Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 can be found on the California Natural Resources Agency website.

###

Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, CDFW Watershed Restoration Grant Branch, (916) 216-7848
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714