CDFW Recognizes California Invasive Species Action Week

volunteers remove invasive plants at a public park

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is inviting all Californians to learn about – and join the fight against – harmful non-native plants and animals that threaten our state’s natural resources.

The seventh annual California Invasive Species Action Week (CISAW) runs from Saturday, June 6 through Sunday, June 14, 2020. Historically, agencies, non-profits and volunteer organizations across the state have teamed up to host events for CISAW. This year, due to COVID-19 concerns, activities will be hosted online, including webinars, videos and Facebook live events. Visit wildlife.ca.gov/CISAW to view the schedule.

All Californians can help stop the spread of invasive species by taking small, everyday actions, such as landscaping with native plants, not releasing unwanted pets into the wild, reporting invasive species findings, and cleaning, draining and drying gear when recreating in bodies of water.

Additionally, the winners of CDFW’s annual California Invasive Species Youth Art Contest will be announced on social media during CISAW. The theme of this year’s contest was “Be a Habitat Hero.”

The mission of CDFW’s Invasive Species Program is to reduce the impacts of invasive species on the wildlands and waterways of California. The program is involved in efforts to prevent the introduction of these species into the state, detect and respond to introductions when they occur and prevent the spread of those species that have established.

For questions or more information about CISAW, please contact invasives@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 825-7120
Elizabeth Brusati, CDFW Invasive Species Program, (916) 376-8657

Youth Art Contest Celebrates Habitat Heroes

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is pleased to announce the seventh annual California Invasive Species Youth Art Contest. This year’s theme, “Be a Habitat Hero,” encourages students to think about what they can do in their own communities to protect against the spread of invasive species.

“Everyone can be a habitat hero by taking small steps to stop invasive species. Helpful steps include choosing native plants for landscaping, not releasing unwanted pets into the wild, reporting invasive species findings and taking precautions to clean, drain and dry gear after recreating in waterbodies,” said Elizabeth Brusati, an environmental scientist with CDFW’s Invasive Species Program.

The contest is offered by CDFW’s Invasive Species Program as part of California Invasive Species Action Week, June 6-14.

There are three age divisions for youths in grades 2-4, 5-8 and 9-12. All types of media are welcome and encouraged, including (but not limited to) drawings, paintings, animations, comic strips, videos and public service announcements. Entries should reflect the 2020 theme: “Be a Habitat Hero.”

The top three winners in each division will receive awards and have their entries displayed on CDFW’s Invasive Species Action Week web page.

The deadline for art contest entries is May 1. Completed entries and entry forms should be sent to:

CDFW Invasive Species Program
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

The entry form and entries may also be emailed to invasives@wildlife.ca.gov.

The goal of California Invasive Species 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.

Action Week activities 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 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 web page.

Visit CDFW online for details about the 2020 contest and information on how to participate in Action Week.

The mission of CDFW’s Invasive Species Program is to reduce the impacts of invasive species on the wildlands and waterways of California. The program is involved in efforts to prevent the introduction of these species into the state, detect and respond to introductions when they occur and prevent the spread of those species that have established.

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Media Contacts:
Elizabeth Brusati, CDFW Invasive Species Program, (916) 376-8657
Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

Invasive Snails Found in Santa Ana River and Bear Creek

Anglers, Residents and Visitors Urged to Help Prevent Further Spread

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has confirmed the presence of New Zealand mudsnail (NZMS) within San Bernardino County. The invasive snails were found in both the Santa Ana River and designated wild trout stream of Bear Creek within the greater Santa Ana River Watershed.

Despite their small size, NZMS is a highly problematic aquatic species. At only 4 to 6 millimeters in length on average, dense populations of NZMS can displace and outcompete native species, sometimes by consuming up to half the food resources in a waterway that native insects and fishes would eat. The snails have been linked to reducing populations of aquatic insects, including mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, chironomids and other insect groups upon which trout and other organisms depend.

CDFW urges anglers, boaters, visitors and locals to “clean, drain and dry” all recreational items and fishing gear, which generally means anything that has gotten wet. It is important to leave any stream water, debris and organic plant matter at a recreational site in order to prevent the further spread of the snails. Once NZMS is established in a new habitat, it is impossible to eradicate it without damaging other components of the ecosystem. Boaters, anglers and others who may visit any body of water, within or outside of infested areas, are asked to decontaminate their equipment and follow the “clean, drain and dry” best practices for all equipment and clothing used in a waterway:

  • If you wade, freeze waders, wading boots and other gear overnight (at least six hours, though 24 hours is recommended).
  • After leaving the water, inspect waders, boots, float tubes, paddleboards, kayaks or any gear used in the water. Leave all water and debris at the site that you exited.
  • Additionally, remove any visible snails with a stiff brush, clean off soils and organic material, and follow this by rinsing at the site, preferably with high-pressure hot water.
  • It is critical to completely dry out gear for a minimum of 24 hours.
  • Never transport live fish or other aquatic plants or animals from one body of water to another.
  • An informational flier on the “clean, drain and dry” directive is available for download on CDFW’s website.

The Santa Ana River is the largest river completely in Southern California. Its flow begins in the San Bernardino mountains and concludes at the ocean in Huntington Beach. Bear Creek begins at Big Bear Lake and connects with the Santa Ana River in the mountains. The Santa Ana River watershed has a drainage basin size of 2,650 square miles, is home to 4.5 million people, and is popular among recreationalists and fishermen.

To date, NZMS has been identified in over 17 bodies of waters in the coastal Southern California counties of Ventura, Los Angeles, and Orange, including Lower Santa Ana River. NZMS-positive lakes and streams in the Eastern Sierra are in Inyo and Mono counties – Diaz Lake (Inyo), Pleasant Valley Reservoir (Inyo), Tinnemaha Reservoir (Inyo), Lone Pine Creek (Inyo), Lower Bishop Creek (Inyo), Bishop Creek (Inyo), Bishop Creek Canal (Inyo) and Los Angeles Aqueduct (Inyo); Owens River (Mono and Inyo); Upper Owens River (Mono), Hot Creek (Mono), Rush Creek below Grant Lake Dam (Mono) and Crowley Lake (Mono).

CDFW has launched public outreach and education efforts to discuss NZMS in San Bernardino County with local water districts, federal and state agencies, non-profit fisheries partners and fly fishing clubs. Greater outreach efforts will occur in the next few months and into the spring, including posting NZMS signage at Bear Creek angler survey boxes and at other water access points along the Santa Ana River.

For more information on NZMS , please visit the Invasive Species page on CDFW’s website. The U.S. Geological Survey’s website also features an interactive map showing the current distribution of NZMS  in California and throughout the U.S.

Media Contacts:
Jennifer E. Hemmert, CDFW Inland Deserts Region, (951) 634-8793
Tim Daly, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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Help Protect Steelhead Trout: Clean, Drain and Dry Fishing Gear to Prevent Spread of New Zealand Mudsnails

With the December 1st opening of steelhead trout fishing in coastal counties south of San Francisco, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds anglers that it’s critically important to clean gear after every fishing outing. This practice helps prevent the spread of New Zealand mudsnails (NZMS), tiny (3/16”) aquatic snails capable of surviving out of water in the crevasses of damp gear for weeks.

The resiliency of NZMS has enabled them to spread to aquatic environments across the globe, including Europe, Australia, North America, and Asia. To prevent further spread, anglers and others who wade or work in California waters should thoroughly clean all gear before using it in another waterbody.

“While New Zealand mudsnails have been detected in watersheds across the state, many watersheds and counties remain free of this unwanted species. Anglers and the public are key to keeping these waters free of mudsnails,” said CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist George Neillands.

NZMS were first reported in California in 2000 in the Owens River (Inyo and Mono counties). In 2003, NZMS were discovered in northern California in Putah Creek (Yolo County) and the Mokelumne River (San Joaquin River). They have since been detected in one or more waterbodies in 27 additional counties (Alameda, Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Los Angeles, Marin, Mendocino, Merced, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Sacramento, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tehama, Ventura, and Yuba).

NZMS can survive in a variety of environments including rivers, streams, reservoirs and estuaries. They are parthenogenic live-bearers, meaning they self-reproduce. This enables a new population to begin from only one snail. NZMS have demonstrated the potential to reach high densities of up to nearly one million snails per square meter and comprising up to 95 percent of the invertebrate biomass of a river. When they reach high densities, NZMS outcompete native insects and invertebrates for space and algae, which reduces the forage available to steelhead trout. As a result, steelhead populations can decline. Once NZMS are established in a body of water, it may not be possible to eradicate them.

Here’s what you can do to prevent the spread of NZMS:

  • After leaving a body of water, inspect all gear including waders, boots and float tubes. Also inspect boats and trailers. Remove visible debris with a stiff brush and rinse on site.
  • Freeze waders and other gear overnight (for a minimum of six hours) or dry completely between use.
  • Use additional waders and boots in infested waters and store them separately.
  • Never transport live fish or other aquatic animals or plants from one waterbody to another.

For more information on NZMS visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/NZMS

Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Media Contacts:

George Neillands, CDFW Region 3 Fisheries, (707) 576-2812

Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

CDFW Recognizes California Invasive Species Action Week

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The sixth annual California Invasive Species Action Week runs from Saturday, June 1 through Sunday, June 9. Sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the Action Week is a statewide event that promotes public participation in the fight against invasive species that harm our environment and native species.

Numerous agencies, non-profit organizations and volunteer groups across the state have teamed up to host events this year. The week’s opportunities range from a raft trip in Humboldt County, to an identification workshop at Lake Tahoe, to online webinars, to invasive plant removals. To view the Schedule of Events and Map, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/cisaw.

Want to stop the spread of invasive species year-round? Citizens can also contribute to a healthy environment by taking small, everyday actions, including selecting native plants for landscaping, not releasing unwanted pets into the wild, reporting invasive species findings, and taking precautions to clean, drain and dry gear after recreating in waterbodies.

This year’s winners of the CISAW Youth Art Contest have also been announced. The contest was open to students in grades 2-12, focused on the theme “Say No to Nutria.” Contest winners will be displayed at the State Capitol, on the third floor of the Capitol Annex, from June 3 to June 14.

Congratulations to our Youth Art Contest Winners!

Invasive Species Program Choice Award:

  • Cara Lee, Woodside Priory School, Menlo Park

Grades 2-4:

  • 1st: Mrs. DeMoss’ Fourth Grade Class, Charleston Elementary, Los Banos
  • 2nd: Jude Dellinger, Sutter Peak Charter School, Orangevale
  • 3rd: Sydney Jane Camera, Phoenix Charter Academy, Palo Cedro

Grades 5-8:

  • 1st: Edison Jun, Capital Innovations Academy, Sacramento
  • 2nd: Claire Gonzales, Washington Middle School, Salinas
  • 3rd: Isabella Grant, El Portal Middle School, Escalon

Grades 9-12:

  • 1st: Shreya Dhanala, Folsom High School, Folsom

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

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Media Contacts:
Elizabeth Brusati, CDFW Invasive Species Program, (916) 651-7866

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