Category Archives: Public Lands

California Fish and Game Commission Adopts Master Plan for Fisheries, Endorses Ocean Litter Strategy, Announces Prosecutor of the Year and Approves Duck Stamp Projects at June Meeting

At its June 2018 meeting in Sacramento, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) took action on a number of issues affecting California’s natural resources.

The Commission voted unanimously to adopt the 2018 Master Plan for Fisheries: A Guide for Implementation of the Marine Life Management Act. The plan advances comprehensive marine ecosystem management using the best available science, meeting stock sustainability and ecosystem objectives, integrating Marine Protected Areas into fisheries management, engaging stakeholders, collaborating with partners, advancing socioeconomic and community objectives, and adapting to climate change.

With a unanimous vote, the Commission endorsed the California Ocean Protection Council’s 2018 California Ocean Litter Prevention Strategy. The document provides a holistic, collaborative strategy for addressing ocean litter in California, with a focus on reducing land-based litter at its source.

The Commission honored Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada with the 2017 Prosecutor of the Year Award for his skill and commitment in prosecuting a wide variety of fish, wildlife and environmental crime cases.

The Commission approved a list of proposed Duck Stamp projects for fiscal year 2018-19.  These projects are aimed at protecting, preserving, restoring, enhancing, and developing migratory waterfowl breeding and wintering habitat, and conducting waterfowl resource assessments and other waterfowl related research.

The Commission adopted the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) recommendation to issue zero sage grouse hunting permits for all four hunting zones.

CDFW provided an update to the Commission on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a fatal neurologic disease of deer and elk that has been detected in 24 states. The disease has not been detected in California, where CDFW actively tests animals and is in the process of creating a CWD action plan. To prevent the accidental importation of CWD into California, state law prohibits hunters from importing carcasses from out-of-state with a skull or backbone still attached.

The Commission denied a petition to repeal hunting of American badger and gray fox and denied a petition to increase the striped bass daily bag limit to three and reduce minimum size to 12 inches in anadromous coastal rivers and ocean waters south of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The California Fish and Game Commission was the first wildlife conservation agency in the United States, predating even the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries. There is often confusion about the distinction between CDFW and the Commission. In the most basic terms, CDFW implements and enforces the regulations set by the Commission, as well as provides biological data and expertise to inform the Commission’s decision-making process.

Media Contact:
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824

 

Humboldt Deputy District Attorney Honored for Protecting Natural Resources

Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada has been selected as the 2017 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year, the California Fish and Game Commission and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced.

The California Fish and Game Commission recognizes a courtroom champion of fish and wildlife each year. The Prosecutor of the Year award honors a currently seated district attorney or deputy district attorney who tirelessly prosecutes crimes against fish, wildlife, natural resources and the environment in California courts.

“CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division is grateful for Deputy District Attorney Kamada’s service, exceptional effort and leadership on poaching and environmental crime prosecutions,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of Law Enforcement. “We hold him up as an example to others.”

FG Commission Prosecutor of the Year 2018 (1 of 1)

Kamada began working at the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office in 2014, assigned as the lead prosecutor on all environmental cases for the county. Kamada, who was raised in Humboldt, appreciates and understands the importance of the county’s diverse fish and wildlife species and the habitats upon which they depend.

In 2015, Kamada formed the Humboldt County Environmental Crimes Task Force, a group of state and local agency representatives that meets several times a year to address ongoing environmental crimes, promote interagency communication and problem solving. Task Force members are encouraged to speak directly with Kamada about cases. Kamada has also frequently accompanied CDFW wildlife officers on general patrol and on search warrant services.

Kamada has shown considerable skill and commitment in prosecuting a wide variety of fish, wildlife and environmental crime cases, including the following:

  • In 2015, wildlife officers contacted a man near the Eel River after observing him driving on a river bar while shining a high-powered light and discarding litter on the river bar. A search warrant served on the subject’s residence led to the discovery of evidence of spotlighting and poaching activity. Following the successful prosecution of the case by Kamada, the suspect was sentenced to three years of probation and 200 hours of community service, as well as being prohibited from hunting, mandated to complete the hunter safety program and forfeiting three firearms, ammunition, knives and unlawfully possessed deer parts.
  • Working with the Humboldt County Environmental Crimes Task Force, Kamada has successfully prosecuted egregious violations of various Fish and Game and Health and Safety Code laws associated with marijuana cultivation. He ensures that mandated property restoration work is included in court dispositions and then follows up – in some cases personally – to confirm the work was indeed completed.
  • Kamada prosecuted a poacher who attempted to shoot a wildlife officer, resulting in a 20-year prison sentence for the shooter. The incident occurred in 2016, when an officer came across a pickup truck whose occupants were spotlighting deer in a remote area of Humboldt County. When the officer attempted a traffic stop, one of the occupants began shooting from the bed of the truck while the driver sped away. During the course of the pursuit, 10 shots were fired at the officer. The truck eventually crashed and the suspects fled into the woods on foot, evading immediate capture. In August 2017, after many months of investigation and surveillance, the suspect who shot at the officer turned himself in.
  • In 2018, Kamada prosecuted an unusual case involving largescale poaching of Dudleya, a succulent plant that grows in a unique ecological niche along the Humboldt County coastline. The suspects were foreign nationals who poached 2,300 Dudleya for sale overseas. Kamada dedication to the case ultimately led to felony convictions on conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor and false filing with the state, as well as misdemeanor convictions for removal of plant material from public lands and commercial sales of those plants.

Commission President Eric Sklar also offers high praise for Kamada’s efforts, noting, “Without strong prosecutors such as Deputy District Attorney Kamada, our natural resources would be at increased risk. We thank him for his important work and his commitment to safeguarding California’s biodiversity for the future.”

Media Contacts:
Valerie Termini, California Fish and Game Commission, (916) 653-4899
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-6692

 

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

 

June 2018 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

DATE — EVENT

Various Days — Bat Talk and Walk at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. Various times, 45211 County Road 32 B, Davis (95618). Each year, from June through September, the Yolo Basin Foundation offers “Bat Talk and Walk” tours. The tour begins with a 45-minute indoor presentation on bat natural history, after which attendees are shuttled to the outdoor viewing area to witness firsthand the spectacular aerial performance of the Mexican free-tailed bats. There are 30 dates scheduled and registration is required at www.yolobasin.org. For more information, please contact Corky Quirk at cquirk@yolobasin.org.

Various Days — Ecological Reserve Tours at Elkhorn Slough. Volunteers lead walks every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m, and Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 11 a.m. Binoculars and bird books are available for the public to borrow at no cost. The visitor center and main overlook are fully accessible. The day use permit fee is $4.12 per person, ages 16 and older (permits may be purchased on-site). Groups of five or more should please notify staff that they are coming and groups of 10 or more can request a separate tour. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/places-to-visit/elkhorn-slough-er.

Various Days — Guided Wetland Tours, By Reservation, at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). A wildlife naturalist will lead any group, school or organization on a half-mile route through the diverse wetlands of the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. General information includes wildlife identification, behavior patterns and conservation efforts. The experience can be customized to include requested information. The minimum group size is 18 people. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

1  Recreational Ocean Salmon Season Opens from the Oregon/California Border to Horse Mountain. For more information, please visit the Ocean Salmon webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon or call either the CDFW Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (800) 662-9825.

2 — Big Game Drawing Deadline. The deadline to submit applications for elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and premium deer tags is June 2. Sales transactions must be completed before midnight. Hunters may apply at a CDFW license agent, a CDFW license sales office, online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales or through telephone sales at (800) 565-1458. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/hunting/big-game.

2-10 — California Invasive Species Action Week. CDFW will kick off the fifth annual California Invasive Species Action Week on June 2. The goal is to promote public awareness of invasive species issues and to encourage public participation in the fight against California’s invasive species and their impacts on our natural resources. CDFW will be partnering with other departments, agencies, organizations and volunteer programs across California to host various educational and “action” events. A schedule of events planned can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/invasives/action-week.

6 — Public Outreach Meeting on Grizzly Island, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Areas. CDFW will hold an outreach meeting on Wednesday, June 6 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area’s conference room. The address is 45211 County Road 32B, Davis. CDFW annually provides an opportunity for licensed hunters to comment and make recommendations on public hunting programs and receive updates, including anticipated habitat conditions in the hunting areas on state-owned wildlife areas through public meetings and other outreach. For additional information, please contact Peter Tira at peter.tira@wildlife.ca.gov or at (916) 322-8908.

16 — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Applications On Sale for Fall Elk Hunts. Forty-eight SHARE elk tags will be available during 32 elk hunts offered through the SHARE program. Also on sale are deer, bear and upland game hunts on various properties. A $10.75 non-refundable application fee (plus handling fees) will be charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

17  Recreational Ocean Salmon Season Opens from Horse Mountain to Pigeon Point. For more information, please visit the Ocean Salmon webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon or call the CDFW Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (800) 662-9825.

19 — California Fish and Game Commission Tribal Committee Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Resources Building, Jim Kellogg Conference Room (Room 1320), 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2018/index.aspx.

19-21 — Elkhorn Slough Reserve Teachers on the EstuaryClimate Change and Blue Carbon Workshop, Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). The three-day workshop for middle school and high school teachers focuses on estuary systems, climate change impacts and blue carbon sequestration. Teachers will receive lessons and activities to use in their classroom, and continuing education credits will be available. The workshop is free and lunch will be provided each day. To register, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/education-program/teacher-development/ and for more information, please contact Virginia Guhin at virginia.guhin@wildlife.ca.gov.

20-21 — California Fish and Game Commission Meeting, 8:30 a.m. both days, Resources Building, First Floor Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2018/index.aspx.

30 — Trout Fest 2018 at Hot Creek Hatchery, 121 Hot Creek Hatchery Road, Mammoth Lakes (93546). Trout Fest is a free event that introduces youths to the basics of trout fishing. Youths will learn to tie basic fishing knots, rig a pole, cast, and clean and cook trout. All equipment is provided and no outside gear is allowed. Fishing is for youths 15 and under. For more information, please contact troutfest@wildlife.ca.gov or visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/hatcheries.

Media Contact:
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

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CDFW to Hold Public Outreach Meeting on Grizzly Island, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Areas

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold an outreach meeting on Wednesday, June 6 in Davis regarding Bay Delta Region Type A wildlife areas. CDFW will take comments and recommendations and provide updates on habitat conditions, availability of water for wetlands and possible impacts to hunter access on these public lands.

The meeting will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area’s conference room, which is located at 45211 County Road 32B in Davis. State wildlife areas to be discussed are the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area and the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area Complex.

CDFW’s Bay Delta Region includes 12 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:
Joe Hobbs, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, (530) 757-2431
Larry Wyckoff, Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, (707) 944-5542
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

 

CDFW photo courtesy of Stuart Itoga.