Category Archives: Invasive Species

CDFW’s Invasive Species Program Announces Youth Art Contest Winners

The winners of the “Don’t Let it Loose!” Youth Art Contest have been announced by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Invasive Species Program.

As part of the California Invasive Species Action Week, 126 youths from across California submitted their original artwork. Participants were asked to send artwork depicting invasive species that might be released by pet/aquarium owners, how their release impacts our natural resources, or what one could do with unwanted pets/plants instead of releasing them. The top three posters from each grade division were selected by members of the CDFW’s Invasive Species Program and the poster which best exemplified the contest theme was selected as the CDFW Invasive Species Program Choice Award.

Noah Petersen (5th Grade), of Fresno (Fort Washington Elementary School), was named the winner of the Invasive Species Program Choice Award. Peterson created a poster outlining multiple ways to be a responsible pet owner and avoid letting invasive species loose.

The top winners of the 2017 Invasive Species Action Week Youth Art Contest divisions were:

Grades 2-4

First Place: Jennifer Kang, 7, Mountain View, Springer Elementary School

Second Place: CJ Andelman, 10, Santa Barbara, Homeschool

Third Place: Lucia Wilkinson, 7, Carmichael, Cowan Fundamental Elementary

Grades 5-8

First Place: Aaliyah Zamorano (6th Grade), Roseville, Excelsior Elementary School

Second Place: Jaya Wollenberger (6th Grade), Roseville, Excelsior Elementary School

Third Place: Maria Ramirez, 14, Santa Cruz, Mission Hill Elementary School

Grades 9-12

First Place: Esmé Kim Ison, 17, Santa Monica, Santa Monica High School

Second Place: Summer Knight, 15, Roseville, Woodcreek High School

Third Place: Alexa Aitchison, 16, Chula Vista, Eastlake High School

CDFW congratulates all the participants for their excellent work, and thanks the teachers, nature centers, volunteer organizations and parents who encouraged, educated and assisted the students.

For more information or to obtain artwork images, please contact the Invasive Species Program at invasives@wildlife.ca.gov.

Media Contacts:
Rachael Klopfenstein, CDFW Invasive Species Program, (916) 651-3122
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

 

Help Kick Off California Invasive Species Action Week by Volunteering

The fourth annual California Invasive Species Action Week will run from Saturday, June 3 through Sunday, June 11. Sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Invasive Species Action Week is a statewide event that provides the public with opportunities to learn about and take action against non-native plants and animals that harm our environment and the native species that live here.

Federal and state agencies and numerous organizations across the state have teamed up to host more than 40 individual Action Week events this year. Examples of upcoming public volunteer opportunities include:

  • Sacramento County: CDFW’s Marine Invasive Species Program will be hosting interactive displays, screening of educational videos and a chance to see live and preserved invaders from June 5-9 at the Nimbus Hatchery Visitor Center. This family-friendly opportunity will have activities for all ages and picnic facilities are on site.
  • Mendocino County: Mussel Dogs (a consulting and inspection service) will host a public demonstration of their Quagga and zebra mussel detection dogs’ work on the banks of Lake Mendocino on Saturday, June 3, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Sonoma County: California State Parks and Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods will host an invasive plant removal volunteer day in the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Preserve on Wednesday, June 7, from 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Los Angeles County: The Mountain Restoration Trust needs volunteers to help trap and remove invasive red swamp crayfish from the Malibu Creek Watershed on Saturday, June 10 from 9 to 11 a.m.

Many other counties will also have volunteer opportunities this week. To view the full schedule of events and map, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/CISAW.

Don’t forget – stopping the spread of invasive species does not have to wait for the Action Week! Citizens can also contribute to a healthy environment by taking small, everyday actions – like selecting native plants for landscaping, cleaning your outdoor and aquatic gear after use, being responsible pet and aquaria owners, and reporting invasive species findings.

Another opportunity to monitor for invasive species during and beyond the Action Week is through California Nerodia Watch, the CDFW’s citizen-science monitoring project for invasive (and restricted) Nerodia watersnakes. Currently, Nerodia watersnake populations are established in Roseville, Folsom and Harbor City, with several sightings reported in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Nerodia are notorious predators of fish and amphibians, and if their range expands, they will pose a serious threat to nearby endangered fish and wildlife. Members of the public are encouraged to help CDFW biologists to monitor and prevent the spread of existing populations! Visit the CDFW invasive species profiles at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/invasives/species to learn more and report observations through the iNaturalist project webpage (www.inaturalist.org/projects/california-nerodia-watch) or by downloading the iNaturalist smartphone app.

For questions or more information about Action Week or California Nerodia Watch, please contact invasives@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
Rachael Klopfenstein, CDFW Invasive Species Program, (916) 651-3122
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

Boaters Can Help Fight Spread of Invasive Mussels Over Memorial Day Weekend

California agencies combatting the spread of invasive quagga and zebra mussels remind boaters to remain cautious over Memorial Day weekend.

Quagga and zebra mussels are invasive freshwater mussels native to Eurasia. They multiply quickly, encrust watercraft and infrastructure, alter water quality and the aquatic food web, and ultimately impact native and sport fish communities. These mussels spread from one body of water to another by attaching to watercraft, equipment and nearly anything that has been in an infested waterbody.

Microscopic juveniles, invisible to the naked eye, are spread from infested waterbodies in water entrapped in boat engines, bilges, live-wells and buckets. Quagga mussels have infested 31 waterways in Southern California and zebra mussels have infested two waterways in San Benito County.

To prevent the spread of these mussels and other aquatic invasive species, people launching vessels at any body of water are subject to watercraft inspections and are strongly encouraged to clean, drain and dry their motorized and non-motorized boats, including personal watercraft, and any equipment that contacts the water before and after recreating.

“The public plays a critical role in preventing the spread of quagga and zebra mussels,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham. “The public should remember to Clean, Drain, and Dry their watercraft to prevent the further spread of quagga/zebra mussels, and other invasive species.”

To ensure watercraft are clean, drained and dry, many local agencies conduct boat inspections. The CDFW website provides a list of these inspection programs (www.wildlife.ca.gov/mussels), along with additional information about the invasive mussels and what people can do to help prevent their spread in California. Prior to traveling, boaters should contact destination waterbodies directly to check for restrictions and requirements.

Take the following steps both before traveling to and before leaving a waterbody to prevent spreading invasive mussels, improve your inspection experience and safeguard California waterways:

  • CLEAN — inspect exposed surfaces and remove all plants and organisms,
  • DRAIN — all water, including water contained in lower outboard units, live-wells and bait buckets, and
  • DRY — allow the watercraft to thoroughly dry between launches. Watercraft should be kept dry for at least five days in warm weather and up to 30 days in cool weather.

CDFW has developed a brief video demonstrating the ease of implementing the clean, drain and dry prevention method, which can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaeAIPLoK-k. In addition, a detailed guide to cleaning vessels of invasive mussels is available on the CDFW’s webpage at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=4957&inline. Additional information is available on the Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) website at http://dbw.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=28996.

Travelers are also advised to be prepared for inspections at California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Border Protection Stations. Over the past nine years, more than one million watercraft entering California have been inspected at the Border Protection Stations. Inspections, which can also be conducted by CDFW and California State Parks, include a check of boats and personal watercraft, as well as trailers and all onboard items. Contaminated vessels and equipment are subject to decontamination, rejection, quarantine or impoundment.

Quagga and zebra mussels can attach to and damage virtually any submerged surface. They can:

  • Ruin a boat engine by blocking the cooling system and causing it to overheat
  • Jam a boat’s steering equipment, putting occupants and others at risk
  • Require frequent scraping and repainting of boat hulls
  • Colonize all underwater substrates such as boat ramps, docks, lines and other underwater surfaces, causing them to require constant cleaning
  • Impose large expenses to owners

A multi-agency effort that includes CDFW, DBW, CDFA and the California Department of Water Resources has been leading an outreach campaign to alert the public to the quagga and zebra mussel threats. A toll-free hotline, 1 (866) 440-9530, is available for those seeking information on quagga or zebra mussels.

Media Contacts:
Dennis Weber, California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways, (916) 651-8724
Kyle Orr, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, (916) 322-8958
Doug Carlson, California Department of Water Resources, (916) 653-5114
Steve Lyle, California Department of Food and Agriculture, (916) 654-0462

2017 Invasive Species Youth Art Contest Kicks Off with “Don’t Let it Loose” Theme

Young artists and future biologists are invited to enter this year’s California Invasive Species Art Contest, sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). This year’s theme is “Don’t Let it Loose!”

Youths in grades 2 through 12 are eligible to enter. Entries should depict invasive species that might be released into California’s waters, parks and wildlands, along with appropriate messaging such as (but not limited to) the following:2017 CISAW Youth Poster Contest Announcement Flier

  • Releasing invasive species into the wild can harm the environment and California’s native plants and animals
  • Description(s) of one or more species that are commonly released into waters, parks or wildlands
  • Explanations or illustrations showing other ways to rehome unwanted pets or plants

All types of media are welcome and encouraged – drawings, paintings, animations, comic strips, videos, public service announcements, etc. Submissions must be received no later than May 5, 2017, and may be submitted by email or regular mail.

Winners will be chosen in three age divisions: grades 2-4, 5-8 and 9-12. Winners from each division will receive awards and have their posters displayed on CDFW’s Invasive Species Action Week webpage. The submission judged to be the best overall will also receive the “Invasive Species Program Choice” Award.

The entry form and a pdf of the contest announcement flyer can be found online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/CISAW.

The contest is sponsored by CDFW’s Invasive Species Program as part of the 2017 California Invasive Species Action Week, June 3-11. The goal of the Action Week is to increase public awareness of invasive species issues and encourage public participation in the fight against California’s invasive species and their impacts on our natural resources.

Many people don’t realize the potential implications of very simple acts. For example, the release of non-native crayfish used as fishing bait has likely resulted in the decline of California’s native crayfish and impacted other species dependent on the habitat. The dumping of aquarium plants can ultimately end up destroying the quality of our waterways and lands. Red-eared sliders, aquarium fish, and Nerodia watersnakes are other examples of released species that can become invasive and negatively impact native species.

California Invasive Species Action Week activities around the state will include presentations on aquatic and terrestrial invasives, guided outings to observe and assess infested areas, invasive species removal efforts, habitat restoration projects and the announcement of the winners of the youth poster contest. Opportunities for youths and adults to participate or volunteer will be available across the state through participating agencies, organizations and volunteer groups, with information and details to be provided on the Action Week webpage.

More information about CDFW’s Invasive Species Program, including examples of invasive species currently affecting California’s wild lands, can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/invasives.

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Media Contacts:
Rachael Klopfenstein, CDFW Invasive Species Program, (916) 651-3122
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

CDFW Increases Its Booths and Educational Events at Annual Sportsmen’s Show in Sacramento

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has returned with even greater presence to the International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE) at Cal Expo in Sacramento, which began yesterday and runs through Sunday, Jan. 22. This is the largest hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation show of its kind in northern California and marks the 30th year of the event in Sacramento.

CDFW has increased its presence at the ISE show in Sacramento, as its fisheries and wildlife branches now have their own booths adjacent to the main CDFW booth located in the Pavilion Building (space 3700). There will also be a booth providing information on invasive species.

The main CDFW booth is selling all licenses, tags, report cards and warden stamps. This provides an enhanced opportunity for department staff to respond to angling and hunting constituents by answering their questions, and discussing programs and available fishing and hunting opportunities throughout the state. At its main booth, CDFW is selling its current warden stamp, with proceeds from the $5 stamp supporting wildlife officers and K-9 teams and helping fund the purchase of law enforcement equipment.

For the fourth year, CDFW’s leaders will hold a panel discussion about various topics of interest to California hunters and anglers. The open-forum panel is scheduled in the California Sportsmen’s Theater in the Pavilion Building on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 1 p.m.  Audience members are encouraged to ask questions of the panel.

Additional CDFW booths and highlights will include:

  • CDFW’s First Trout-Planting Truck — This 1925 Dodge pickup was the first truck used for planting trout. The fish back then were transported in big milk cans! It has been refurbished and will be on display near the Youth Fair Expo Center. The vintage truck still runs and looks as if it just rolled off the showroom floor.
  • Wildlife Officer and Recruitment Trailer with Laser Shot. CDFW’s Law Enforcement trailer will be on display outside the Pavilion Building, featuring a taxidermy display and a free, laser-shot hunting simulator game. Wildlife officers, including statewide recruiting Lieutenant Specialist Chris Stoots, will answer questions about employment opportunities. Large-equipment assets used to study, manage and protect California’s wildlife and fisheries, including boats, traps and more, will also be on display.
  • 2017 Hunting Heritage Youth Essay Contest Winner Honored — Tyler Benedetti, a 17-year-old youth hunter from Morgan Hill, recently earned the top prize, a lifetime hunting license donated by the Wildlife Officer Foundation, for winning the annual “Passing on the Tradition” essay contest. The grand prize will be awarded to Tyler during a ceremony Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Cal Expo’s Adventure Theater.
  • A Youth Fair in the Expo Center will feature information on the California Fishing Passport Program, Fishing in the City Program, Hunter Education, Bear Aware Program, the Nimbus Fish Hatchery Interpretive Services Program and feature a Youth Fishing Pond, with trout provided by CDFW.
  • Outdoor California — Free copies of CDFW’s award-winning magazine will be available (as supplies last) at the main booth. Yearly subscriptions may also be purchased for $15.
  • The Cal Expo State Fairgrounds are located at 1600 Exposition Blvd. in Sacramento.  ISE show hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $17 for adults and youths under age 16 are free. There is a $10 charge to park on the Cal Expo grounds.

For additional information, schedules and to purchase tickets, please visit the ISE webpage at www.sportsexpos.com/attend/sacramento/.