Category Archives: Public Lands

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Stream Flow Enhancement Projects

The Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) has approved approximately $13 million in grants to help enhance flows in streams throughout California. A total of 11 stream flow enhancement projects were approved at an April 4 meeting of the Stream Flow Enhancement Program Board. 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; 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 $499,955 grant to the University of California, Davis for a cooperative project with the University of California, Berkeley that will apply the newly developing California Environmental Flows Framework to inform decisions regarding instream flow enhancements in the Little Shasta River in Siskiyou County and San Juan Creek in Orange County, by defining target hydrologic regimes that meet ecological and geomorphic objectives.
      • A $1.5 million grant to the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in the Oroville Wildlife Area in Butte County. The project will reconnect the Feather River to approximately 400 acres of its historic floodplain, increasing the frequency and duration of floodplain inundation, and enhancing habitat for anadromous salmonids.
      • A $1.98 million grant to the Truckee River Watershed Council for a cooperative project with the CDFW, U.S. Forest Service, Tahoe National Forest and Bella Vista Foundation to enhance hydrologic and ecological function and improve base flows during the low flow period within Lower Perazzo Meadow in Sierra County.
      • A $621,754 grant to the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with DWR and State Coastal Conservancy to construct an off-channel storage pond on Klingman-Moty Farm. Combined with irrigation efficiency upgrades and a commitment from the landowner to forbear diversions during the low flow period, the project will improve instream flow conditions in San Gregorio Creek in San Mateo County.
      • A $1.78 million grant to the Ventura Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with Ojai Valley Inn, the city of Ojai, the Thacher School, and a diverse array of other partners. They will develop an Integrated Water Management Framework for Instream Flow Enhancement and Water Security and complete planning, permitting and outreach to advance 25 stream flow enhancement projects to an implementation ready stage.

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 Communications, (916) 322-2420

CDFW to Hold Public Meeting on North Central Region Type A Wildlife Areas

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold its annual public outreach meeting on Saturday, April 27 in Gridley regarding North Central Region Type A wildlife areas. CDFW will take comments and recommendations from the public and provide updates on habitat conditions, availability of water for wetlands and possible impacts to hunter access on these public lands.

The state wildlife areas to be discussed are the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area and the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area Complex (Little Dry Creek Unit, Howard Slough Unit and Llano Seco Unit). The meeting is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area’s main office conference room, 3207 Rutherford Road, in Gridley.

CDFW’s North Central Region covers all or part of 17 counties in northern California and is one of seven CDFW regions in the state.

CDFW annually provides an opportunity for licensed hunters to comment and make recommendations on public hunting programs, including anticipated habitat conditions in the hunting areas on wildlife areas, through public meetings and other outreach.

Media Contacts:
Tim Hermansen, Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area, (530) 982-2169
Dave Van Baren, Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, (530) 846-7500
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

CDFW Combatting Illegal Activities at Ecological Reserve in San Diego County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is stepping up educational outreach and enforcement to stop illegal activities including mountain biking, trail building, vandalism, theft, drone use, motorcycle use, equestrian use and dogs off leash at the Carlsbad Highlands Ecological Reserve in San Diego County.

The effort begins this weekend with the installation of new signage and increased enforcement by CDFW wildlife officers of long-standing regulations to protect animals, plants and habitats that depend on the reserve.

Simultaneously, CDFW is working to repair the extensive environmental damage caused by illegal mountain biking and the illegal construction of trails, berms and jumps that not only harm animals and damage habitat, but make the ecological reserve unsafe for authorized activities that include hiking, nature viewing and educational uses.

“I believe the vast majority of the mountain biking community in San Diego County cares deeply about the environment and follows the law. That’s not what’s happening at the Carlsbad Highlands Ecological Reserve,” said Ed Pert, manager of CDFW’s South Coast Region. “We’re dealing with vandals and trail poachers who take it upon themselves to build illegal trails and modify existing trails. These folks knowingly and willfully violate the law and the environment for their own amusement and personal gratification. Unfortunately, this group of bad actors is giving the entire mountain biking community here a bad name.”

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The primary purpose of state ecological reserves is to protect sensitive species and habitats. The 473-acre Carlsbad Highlands Ecological Reserve, sometimes referred to as CHER, was established formally in 2000, although its habitat protections date back to 1995 as a conservation bank to offset the impacts of local development. The reserve provides habitat for the federally threatened California gnatcatcher as well as state-listed endangered plants such as the Encinitas baccharis, thread-leaved Brodiaea, and other sensitive native species.

CDFW has been working with the local mountain biking community as well as the San Diego-based Wildlife and Habitat Conservation Coalition to identify good, legal alternatives to biking at CHER.

Areas within CHER that formerly supported rare plants now have illegal trails through them, and areas that previously supported the California gnatcatcher are fragmented and less productive. Habitat damage within the reserve is estimated at 12.5 acres with 17 miles of illegal trails forming an extensive trail system throughout the reserve that at one time was a contiguous block of undisturbed habitat.

Scientific studies on trail use consistently show that trails have significant impacts on wildlife behavior, movement and habitat use. While CDFW encourages Californians to get outside and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible, the illegal use and overuse of sensitive properties such as the Carlsbad Highlands Ecological Reserve has significant consequences on wildlife. In addition to the loss of habitat, wildlife such as lizards, frogs and snakes are often killed when run over by mountain bikers or motorcyclists.

Under state law (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 630), CDFW is obligated to protect and maintain designated ecological reserves, which includes enforcing the rules. Failure to comply could result in a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

“CDFW has no interest in being punitive. We just want the illegal behavior to stop,” Pert said. “So we are getting the word out to anyone who might knowingly or unknowingly ride illegally on CHER. Please don’t ride there. You could be fined.”

For more information on CHER, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/places-to-visit/carlsbad-highlands-er.

Photos and video clips of vandalism, theft and environmental damage at CHER can be found at ftp://ftp.wildlife.ca.gov/oceo/carlsbadhighlandser.

Media Contacts:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 215-3858
Tim Dillingham, CDFW South Coast Region, (858) 627-3939

 

Photos: The Coastal California gnatcatcher is a federally threatened species that depends on the Carlsbad Highlands Ecological Reserve for habitat. Illegal mountain biking and trail construction jeopardizes the reserve’s ability to safeguard the charismatic songbird along with other sensitive plant and animal species at the reserve. Examples of the extensive damage at the ecological reserve are pictured in the slideshow above.

CDFW Now Accepting Fisheries Habitat Restoration Project Proposals

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting proposals for projects under its Fiscal Year 2019-20 Fisheries Habitat Restoration Proposal Solicitation 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 Friday, April 16, 2019 at 3 p.m.

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) and the Forest Legacy Program (focusing on the restoration of watersheds affected by historic forest practices). 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 FY 2018-19 the program was able to provide more than $15 million in funding for eligible projects. Funding for FY 2019-20 grants is expected to be awarded to approved projects in early 2020.

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 Fortuna, Sacramento, Petaluma, San Luis Obispo, Los Alamitos, Monterey and Camarillo on various dates in March. For details and meeting contact information, please see PSN Workshop Letter.

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

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

 

East Side of Knoxville Wildlife Area Reopens Following 2018 County Fire

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is pleased to announce the reopening of the east side of the Knoxville Wildlife Area in Napa County on March 1, 2019.

The July 2018 County Fire consumed approximately 6,000 acres of the wildlife area and forced the closure of the entire east side. This winter’s vegetation regrowth over the burned area has helped stabilize hillsides allowing the public to once again enjoy the recreational opportunities the 21,500-acre wildlife area has to offer.

Media Contact:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908