Category Archives: Habitat Conservation

Anglers Can Retain Canary Rockfish in 2017

Starting in 2017, anglers will be allowed to retain canary rockfish for the first time in more than a decade. Canary rockfish was declared overfished in 2000, but the population rebuilt to healthy levels quicker than anticipated based on a combination of conservation efforts and restrictive management.

“We are pleased to offer new opportunities based on the improved stock status of canary rockfish.” said Marci Yaremko, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) state/federal fisheries program manager. “Sweeping changes were made to help rebuild the stock – prohibiting retention, shortening fishing seasons, closing deep-water fishing areas and encouraging widespread use of descending devices to improve survival for released fish. These sacrifices are finally paying off.”

The California Fish and Game Commission adopted changes to the state’s recreational groundfish fishing regulations in December, including allowing retention of canary rockfish. The new regulations are effective as of Feb. 7.

The open season dates and allowable fishing depths for each of the recreational Groundfish Management areas are as follows:

  • Northern – Open May 1 through Oct. 31 in 30 fathoms (180 feet) or less; Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 with no depth restriction
  • Mendocino – Open May 1 through Oct. 31 in 20 fathoms (120 feet) or less; Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 with no depth restriction
  • San Francisco – Open April 15 through Dec. 31 in 40 fathoms (240 feet) or less
  • Central – Open April 1 through Dec. 31 in 50 fathoms (300 feet) or less
  • Southern – Open March 1 through Dec. 31 in 60 fathoms (360 feet) or less

The 20 fathom depth restriction is described by the general depth contour. The 30, 40, 50 and 60 fathom depth contours are defined by straight lines connecting the waypoints as adopted in federal regulations (50 CFR Part 660, Subpart G).

New statewide changes include:

  • A new sub-bag limit of one canary rockfish within the 10-fish Rockfish, Cabezon and Greenling (RCG) Complex bag limit
  • A decrease in the sub-bag limit of black rockfish from five to three within the 10-fish RCG Complex bag limit
  • Elimination of the sub-bag limit of bocaccio within the 10-fish RCG Complex bag limit
  • A decrease in the lingcod bag limit from three to two fish
  • Allowance of petrale sole and starry flounder to be retained year round at all depths

Take and possession of bronzespotted rockfish, cowcod and yelloweye rockfish will remain prohibited statewide.

For more detailed information about recreational groundfish regulations and to stay informed of in-season changes, please call the Recreational Groundfish Hotline at (831) 649-2801 or check CDFW’s Marine Region Groundfish Central website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/groundfish .

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Media Contacts:
Joanna Grebel, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 601-2279

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

CDFW to Host Prop. 1 Grant Workshops in Southern California

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will conduct four public workshops throughout Southern California for its Proposition 1 Restoration Grant Programs. CDFW is collaborating with the Wildlife Conservation Board, the Coastal Conservancy and several local conservancies to encourage a wide variety of project proposals within the region.

Each three-hour workshop will provide information about the various grants available and provide an opportunity for local stakeholders to ask questions. The San Diego and Calexico workshops will also include information specific to cross-border creek and watershed restoration opportunities.

The workshops will be held on the following dates:

Tuesday, Feb. 21
1-4 p.m.
San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board
2375 Northside Dr.
San Diego, CA  92108

Wednesday, Feb. 22 (CDFW will be the only agency presenting)
4-8 p.m.
Camarena Memorial Library
850 Encinas Ave.
Calexico, CA  92231

Thursday, Feb. 23
1-4 p.m.
Riverside County Administrative Center
4080 Lemon St., fifth floor, Conference Room D
Riverside, CA  92501

Friday, Feb. 24
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
California State Parks Channel Coast District Office
911 San Pedro St.
Ventura, CA  93001-3744

To RSVP or if you have questions, please email watershedgrants@wildlife.ca.gov.

These projects are being conducted ahead of CDFW’s Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Proposition 1 Restoration Grant Program solicitation, anticipated for release in spring 2017. CDFW will also conduct a public meeting to introduce and discuss the draft version of this solicitation prior to its release. Please see CDFW’s Proposition 1 webpage for more grant program information.

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

CDFW Now Accepting Fisheries Habitat Restoration Project Proposals

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting proposals for projects under its 2017 Fisheries Habitat Restoration Proposal Soliciation Notice (PSN). The PSN and online grant application can be found online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/grants/frgp/solicitation. Applications must be submitted online by 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 16, 2017.

CDFW will also hold a series of public workshops to assist applicants in understanding the requirements of the PSN. Applicants are encouraged to attend a workshop even if they have submitted proposals in the past. Workshops will be held in Yreka, Fortuna, Fort Bragg, Sacramento, Petaluma, Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Camarillo on various dates in February. For details and meeting contact information, please see https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=137841&inline.

The PSN invites restoration projects that meet the funding requirements of the Fisheries Restoration Grant Program (focusing on recovery of state-listed salmon and steelhead along the coast and in the Central Valley), the Forest Legacy Program (focusing on the restoration of watersheds affected by historic forest practices), the Commerical Salmon Stamp Program (focusing on projects enhancing the salmon fishery) and the Steelhead Restoration and Report Card Program (focusing on projects enhancing the recreational steelhead fishery). Eligible applicants include public agencies, recognized tribes and qualified nonprofit organizations. Funded projects could include habitat restoration, water conservation, education, monitoring and restoration planning.

While the amount of available funding is not known at this time, in 2016 the program was able to provide more than $15 million in funding for eligible projects. Funding for 2017 grants is expected to be awarded to approved projects in early 2018.

For information or questions about the PSN or application process, please contact Patty Forbes, CDFW Fisheries Restoration Grant Program Coordinator, at (916) 327-8842.

Media Contacts:
Patty Forbes, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 327-8842
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

CDFW Awards $40 Million for Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration and Protection Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced that it is awarding $40 million in Proposition 1 funds for water quality, river and watershed protection, and restoration projects for vital waterways throughout California.

In the second of ten planned annual grant cycles, CDFW has selected 44 projects to receive funding from its Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Prop 1) Restoration Grant Programs. The awards, totaling $40 million, include approximately $28 million awarded through the Watershed Restoration Grant Program to projects of statewide importance outside of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and approximately $12 million awarded through the Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program to projects that directly benefit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

“In year two of our Prop 1 grant program we continue to support on-the-ground actions that meet the objectives of the California Water Action Plan, as well as planning activities that set the stage for future restoration statewide,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “We have made great progress in the first two grant cycles and we cannot wait to get more multi-benefit projects done throughout the state.”

Each of these multi-benefit projects addresses the priorities outlined in the 2016 Proposition 1 Restoration Grant Programs Solicitation and the California Water Action Plan. Priorities include: Protecting and restoring mountain meadow ecosystems, managing headwaters for multiple benefits, protecting and restoring anadromous fish habitat, and protecting and restoring coastal wetland ecosystems.

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

  • Lost Coast Redwood and Salmon Initiative Phase 2 (2016) – Indian Creek Conservation Easement ($1,400,00 to Northcoast Regional Land Trust);
  • Humboldt Bay Regional Invasive Spartina Eradication Project ($450,000 to Redwood Community Action Agency);
  • Modoc Plateau Meadows Assessment and Restoration Design Project ($253,309 to California Trout, Inc.);
  • Dry Creek Meadow Restoration ($290,000 to Truckee River Watershed Council);
  • Stanford-Vina Fish Passage Planning and Design Project ($418,408 to Trout Unlimited);
  • San Vicente Creek Watershed Clematis vitalba Control Project ($1,141,555 to Sempervirens Fund);
  • Carman Watershed Restoration Project, Phase II ($589,732 to Sierra Valley Resource Conservation District);
  • Lagunitas Creek Floodplain and Riparian Restoration Project ($935,467 to Salmon Protection and Watershed Network);
  • Napa River Restoration Oakville to Oak Knoll Project ($200,000 to Napa County Department of Public Works);
  • Protecting and Restoring Wilderness Meadows in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks ($86,340 to American Rivers);
  • Oroville Wildlife Area Flood Stage Reduction and Restoration Project ($2,509,700 to Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency);
  • Dennett Dam Removal ($363,183 to Tuolumne River Trust);
  • Marshall Ranch Conservation Easement – 2016 ($5,012,125 to California Rangeland Trust);
  • Middle Branch of Russian Gulch – Forbearance Agreement/Conservation Easement ($400,000 to Sonoma Land Trust);
  • Matilija Dam Removal 65 Percent Design Planning Project ($3,300,504 to County of Ventura);
  • A Watershed Approach to Enhancing Habitat for Salmonids in the San Lorenzo River Watershed ($705,094 to Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County);
  • Green Valley Watershed Coho Migration Enhancement Project – Design Phase ($376,895 to North Coast Resource Conservation and Development Council);
  • McInnis Marsh Restoration Project ($550,000 to Marin County Parks);
  • South Canal Diversion Fish Screen ($829,129 to Yuba County Water Agency);
  • Thompson Meadow Restoration and Water Budget Evaluation Project ($196,784 to Plumas Corporation);
  • Freshwater Creek Off-Channel Habitat Restoration Project-Regulatory Compliance ($124,701 to Redwood Community Action Agency);
  • Mill Creek Barrier Removal and Riparian Restoration Project in Talmage ($383,939 to Mendocino County Resource Conservation District);
  • Non-Natal Habitat Enhancement Planning For ESA-Listed Salmonids in the Humboldt Bay Watershed ($179,316 to Pacific Coast Fish, Wildlife and Wetlands Restoration Association);
  • Van Norden Meadow Restoration Project ($1,108,657 to South Yuba River Citizens League);
  • Laguna-Mark West Creek Watershed Master Restoration Planning Project ($517,000 to Sonoma County Water Agency);
  • CICC Packer Ranch Fish Screen Project and Pump Station Upgrade ($467,611 to Family Water Alliance, Inc.);
  • Fish Passage Design at Interstate 5 Bridge Array on Trabuco Creek ($383,890 to California Trout, Inc.);
  • Salmon River Floodplain Restoration Planning and NEPA Analysis ($225,340 to Salmon River Restoration Council);
  • Grayson Restoration Planning ($188,679 to River Partners);
  • Planning for Priority Meadow Restoration in Lahontan Basin Watersheds ($346,352 to American Rivers);
  • DCWC Lower Deer Creek Flood and Ecosystem Improvement Project, Phase 1 ($1,950,289 to Deer Creek Watershed Conservancy);
  • Rancho Cañada Carmel River Protection and Instream Flow Enhancement Project ($1,450,000 to Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District);
  • Developing Restoration Strategies for Hydrologic Connectivity in Williams Creek ($291,594 to Humboldt County Resource Conservation District);
  • Restoration of Priority Meadows in the Walker Watershed ($235,757 to American Rivers);
  • Cottonwood Canyon Acquisition Project ($507,000 to Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy);
  • Auburn Ravine-Hemphill Diversion Assessment Phase 2 ($177,042 to Nevada Irrigation District); and
  • Hat Creek Enhancement Project – 2016 ($196,564 to Fall River Resource Conservation District).

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

  • Paradise Cut Flood and Conservation Easement Acquisition ($2,035,000 to American Rivers);
  • Contaminant Effects on Two California Fish Species and the Food Web That Supports Them ($1,701,829 to The Regents of the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine);
  • Impact of Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Water Flows on Migratory Behavior of Chinook Salmon Smolts in the South Delta ($1,510,723 to Regents of the University of California, Davis, Agriculture and Natural Resources);
  • Investigating the Factors that Affect Age-0 Longfin Smelt Abundance, Distribution, and Recruitment in the Upper SF Estuary ($330,811 to Metropolitan Water District of Southern California);
  • Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Habitat and Drainage Improvement Project Construction ($4,852,766 to Ducks Unlimited);
  • Impact of Climate Variability on Surface Water Quality: Cyanobacteria and Contaminants ($891,341 to The Regents of the University of California, Davis, Aquatic Toxicology Program); and
  • Lower Walnut Creek Restoration Project ($537,457 to Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District).

CDFW plans to release the next Prop 1 solicitation in late spring or early summer 2017. Prior to its release, CDFW will host a series of workshops to engage potential project proponents. CDFW hopes to provide additional outreach to certain regions of the state that have submitted fewer proposals, particularly in Southern California.

At that time, general information about CDFW’s Proposition 1 Restoration Grant Programs, as well as a schedule of locations and dates for workshops will be available 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.

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

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