Category Archives: native plants

Succulent Plant Poachers Convicted in Humboldt County

Three defendants in a succulent plant poaching case out of Humboldt County have each pled guilty to two felonies and other misdemeanor charges, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office announced. Felony convictions included conspiracy and false filings with the government, and misdemeanor convictions included removal of plant material from public lands and commercial sales of plants removed from public lands.

The succulent plants at the center of the investigation are called Dudleyas. They grow in unique niches close to the coastline, typically on cliffsides immediately adjacent to the water. The poachers had a network of buyers in Korea and China, where Dudleya are valued as a trendy houseplant.

Removal of Dudleya, or any vegetation in sensitive habitat, can result in environmental degradation of habitat and a destabilization of bluffs and cliffs on the coastline. Some Dudleya species are rare or at risk of extinction.

Wildlife officers worked extensively with allied law enforcement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Postal Service inspectors to track down and collect evidence of poaching the succulent plants for sale overseas. During the investigation, wildlife officers witnessed the three removing plants from coastal bluffs in the Humboldt Lagoons State Park. On April 4, officers found the trio in possession of 2,300 Dudleya plants and more than $10,200 in cash.

All three defendants were foreign nationals. Liu Fengxia, 37, of China, and Tae-Hun Kim, 52, and Tae-Hyun Kim, 46, both from Korea, were handed a sentence of three years and eight months in state prison and a $10,000 fine each. Judge John T. Feeney suspended the prison sentences with the conditions that the defendants are prohibited from entering the United States without prior authorization of the federal government and state courts, and prohibited from entering any local, state or national park.

In addition to the fines, the defendants will also forfeit the $10,200 to CDFW as restitution. These funds will be used specifically for the conservation of Dudleya on public lands in Humboldt County.

“Together with prosecuting Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada and the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, we hope this conviction and sentencing will send a message to those who may consider poaching California’s precious natural resources to sell overseas for personal profit,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of Law Enforcement.

The case developed from a tip from a member of the public who saw something amiss. Anyone who believes they are witness to unlawful poaching or pollution activity is encouraged to call CalTIP, CDFW’s confidential secret witness program, at (888) 334-2258 or send a text with the tip411 app. Both methods allow the public to provide wildlife officers with factual information to assist with investigations. Callers may remain anonymous, if desired, and a reward can result from successful capture and prosecution.

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Media Contact:
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 322-8911

 

CDFW Wildlife Officers Arrest Three for Poaching Succulents in Humboldt County

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers have made another arrest this week in their ongoing battle against a rising poaching trend on the north coast of northern California with international connections.

CDFW arrested Taehun Kim, 52, and Taeyun Kim, 46, both of Korea, and Liu Fengxia, 37, of China for poaching over 2,300 Dudleya succulent plants near Trinidad in Humboldt County. Charges include illegal take of the plants and felony conspiracy, among others.

Poachers profit financially from the illegal take of Dudleya by stripping plants from sea cliffs and shipping them overseas to other countries, including Korea, China and Japan, where they are prized by some for decorative purposes. On April 4, wildlife officers intercepted and seized 1,334 of the plants in boxes on their way to be shipped overseas. An additional 1,000 Dudleya were found in the suspects’ hotel room during the service of the search warrant. The overseas market value of the plants is between $40 to $50 per plant, resulting in a conservative value estimate of over $90,000.

The removal of Dudleya can result in environmental degradation of habitat and a destabilization of bluffs and cliffs on the coastline. Illegal harvesting is also alarming because California hosts a number of Dudleya species and subspecies that are rare or at risk of extinction.

CDFW enforcement initially identified this trend earlier this year, in part, after determining that a man was shipping Dudleya out of a Mendocino post office to China.

In recent months near Point Arena, Mendocino County, wildlife officers cited three individuals for a series of misdemeanor violations including illegal take and trespassing. The charges were elevated by the Mendocino District Attorney to felony conspiracy and grand theft, based upon the value of stolen plants.

On Jan. 29, one man was apprehended with approximately 50 succulents, and on March 6, two men were cited after being apprehended with 1,400 succulents. The individual in the January incident pleaded guilty to the illegal take of plants and received a sentence that included three years of probation, a $5,000 fine and 240 hours of community service. The March case is pending.

“We have seen a remarkable amount of concern over this from botanists and the public alike,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of Law Enforcement. “A public tip started this investigation and ultimately uncovered an international conspiracy to poach Dudleya succulents and ship them overseas for profit. A critical part of the Department’s mission is to protect and manage California’s diverse fish, wildlife and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend, for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public.”

Law enforcement personnel from the U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and East Bay Regional Parks, in addition to representatives of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), U.C. Santa Cruz Botany Department and local citizens, assisted with the investigation. CDFW personnel have replanted the seized succulents in the areas where taken whenever possible with assistance from CNPS and U.C. Santa Cruz botany experts.

Anyone who believes they are witness to unlawful poaching or pollution activity is encouraged to call CalTIP, CDFW’s confidential secret witness program, at (888) 334-2258 or send a text to tip411. Both methods allow the public to provide wildlife officers with factual information to assist with investigations. Callers may remain anonymous, if desired, and a reward can result from successful capture and prosecution.

Media Contacts:
Capt. John Lawson, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 804-8195
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-6692

Trout Plants Mean California Fishing Opportunities Abound Over the Holidays

The winter holidays are a great time for families and individuals to enjoy recreational trout fishing, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) trout hatcheries plan to provide plenty of opportunities for anglers of all ages over the next two weeks. Specific plants of catchable trout are scheduled at 79 waters in 25 counties between now and Jan. 5.

CDFW trout hatcheries stock many inland waters throughout the year, in support of the angling public. As always, CDFW’s trout stocking schedule can be found online, as well as California’s map-based Fishing Guide.

Please see the list below for a county-by-county breakdown of stocking locations. Happy Holidays and best wishes for excellent fishing in 2018!

Alameda County

  • Horseshoe Lake
  • Lakeshore Park Pond
  • Shadow Cliff Lake
  • Temescal Lake

Contra Costa County

  • Lafayette Reservoir
  • Los Vaqueros Reservoir
  • Contra Loma Reservoir
  • Heather Farms Pond

El Dorado County

  • Folsom Lake

Fresno County

  • Fresno City Woodward Park Lake

Inyo County

  • Diaz Lake
  • Owens River, below Tinnemeha
  • Owens River, Section II
  • Pleasant Valley Reservoir

Kern County

  • Ming Lake
  • Hart Park
  • Riverwalk
  • Truxton Lake
  • Kern River below Lake Isabella

Lake County

  • Blue Lake Upper

Los Angeles County

  • Alondra Park Lake
  • Echo Park Lake
  • El Dorado Park Lakes
  • Legg Lakes
  • Lincoln Park Lake
  • MacArthur Park Lake
  • Santa Fe Reservoir
  • Belvedere Lake
  • Downey Wilderness Park Lake
  • Hollenbeck Park Lake
  • Hansen Dam Lake
  • Kenneth Hahn Lake
  • La Mirada Lake

Madera County

  • Bass Lake
  • Sycamore Island
  • Eastman Lake
  • Hensley Lake

Marin County

  • Bon Tempe Lake

Merced County

  • Yosemite Lake

Nevada County

  • Rollins Reservoir

Orange County

  • Carr Park Lake
  • Centennial Lake
  • Eisenhower Lake
  • Greer Park Lake
  • Huntington Park Lake
  • Mile Square Park Lake
  • Tri-City Lake
  • Yorba Linda Regional Park Lake

Placer County

  • Halsey Forebay
  • Folsom Lake
  • Rollins Reservoir

Riverside County

  • Little Lake
  • Perris Lake
  • Rancho Jurupa Park Pond

Sacramento County

  • Elk Grove Park Pond
  • Hagen Park Pond
  • Folsom Lake (Granite Bay boat ramp)
  • Howe Community Park Pond
  • North Natomas Park Pond
  • Granit Park Pond
  • Rancho Seco Lake

San Bernardino County

  • Cucamonga Guasti Park Lake
  • Glen Helen Park Lake
  • Seccombe Lake
  • Yucaipa Lake
  • Silverwood Lake

San Diego County

  • Cuyamaca Lake
  • Chollas Lake
  • Lindo Lake
  • Murray Lake

Shasta County

  • Baum Lake
  • Shasta Lake

Solano County

  • Lake Chabot

Sonoma County

  • Ralphine Lake

Stanislaus County

  • Woodward Reservoir
  • Modesto Reservoir

Tulare County

  • Success Reservoir
  • Lake Kaweah

Ventura County

  • Casitas Lake
  • Rancho Simi Park Lake
  • Reseda Lake

Yuba County

  • Collins Lake

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Media Contacts:
Dr. Mark Clifford, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 764-2526 

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

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

 

Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project Draft EIR Released

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife released the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project. CDFW is the lead agency for the DEIR.

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CDFW, in partnership with the State Coastal Conservancy and The Bay Foundation, has spent years working with the public and envisioning a plan for the revitalization of the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve (BWER). The Ballona Wetlands were once a 2,000-acre expanse of marshes, mud flats, salt pans and sand dunes that stretched from Playa del Rey to Venice and inland to the Baldwin Hills. Today, BWER is 600 acres of open space that remains of the former wetlands and is owned by CDFW.

Today’s release of the DEIR opens a 60-day public comment period that is scheduled to end on Nov. 24, 2017. A public meeting is scheduled for early November. Information on where to send comments as well as detailed information about the public hearing are available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regions/5/Ballona-EIR.

Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937