CDFW Offering Free, Physically Distanced Swan Tours This Fall and Winter

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is once again offering free swan tours in Yuba County near Marysville on select Saturdays, November through January.

Held in partnership with the Mathews Rice farming operation, this area – called District 10 – boasts the largest number of overwintering tundra swans in the Central Valley as well as abundant geese, ducks, shorebirds and raptors.

These popular, naturalist-led tours last approximately two hours and have been reconfigured to meet current COVID-19-related health and safety protocols. These safety measures include all participants and guides driving their own vehicles instead of carpooling together. Walkie talkies will be distributed to each participant vehicle to hear and communicate with the guide during the tour. Participants are required to follow all health protocols, which will be distributed upon registration.

The tour dates are:

  • Nov. 21 and 28
  • Dec. 5, 12 and 19
  • Jan. 2, 9 and 16

Tours are offered at 9:30 a.m. and at 1 p.m. on each date.

Pre-registration is required by contacting Genelle Treaster, CDFW North Central Region, at genelle.treaster@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
Genelle Treaster, CDFW North Central Region, (916) 396-1518
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 215-3858

CDFW Offers Vamos A Pescar™ Grants to Promote Equitable Access to Fishing

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting grant applications for fishing programs, classes and activities that educate and engage diverse, metro-centric communities. This grant program is part of CDFW’s ongoing angler recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) effort to increase fishing participation statewide.

To be eligible for funding, programs must be:

  • Ethnically inclusive: Events will be open to families of all races/ethnicities with Spanish-English bilingual instruction, materials and outreach.
  • Family-focused: Program will encourage participation across multiple generations and genders.
  • Metro-centric: Program will encourage focus in California metro areas.
  • Focused on multiple opportunities: Program will provide multiple opportunities for the same audience to participate in fishing activities.
  • Virtual learning compatible: Program will use both in-person and virtual platforms in conjunction with one another, as required by current local and state health and safety standards at the time of each event. When virtual delivery cannot be utilized, COVID-19 prevention measures must be followed and incorporated into events.

Program should also promote good stewardship toward the state’s aquatic resources and include information on angler-funded (i.e. Sport Fish Restoration Act) conservation projects.

The funds are made available from the George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar™ Education Fund. The fund supports the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) Hispanic initiative, Vamos A Pescar™. To further the reach and facilitate partnerships at the local level, funds are provided for state agencies to match and sub grant to local 501(c)(3) organizations. With the help of donations from companies and organizations, this fund has continued to grow and expand nationally to keep future generations educated about the joys of fishing and boating and the importance of conservation.

Interested 501 (c)(3) organizations should review the RBFF George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar™ Grant Guidelines, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife blank grant agreement template and then complete both the California Department of Fish and Wildlife grant application and the RBFF George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar™ application. Completed application packets containing both applications should be sent via email to jennifer.benedet@wildlife.ca.gov no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020.

Proposals will be ranked by CDFW staff and submitted to RBFF for review by their advisory board. The advisory board will choose the final grant recipients by Jan. 19, 2021 and CDFW will notify recipients soon thereafter. Final decisions on the program are subject to the availability of state matching funds.

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Media Contact:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 215-3858

Angler casting a line on the water

2021 Fishing Licenses and Related Items Now Available for Sale

New This Year: Anglers Can Choose to Auto-Renew Sport Fishing Licenses

California anglers can now purchase 2021 fishing licenses and related items directly through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) website or authorized license agents. (Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, license sales counters at CDFW offices remain temporarily closed to the public.)

The cost of a 2021 annual resident fishing license has been set at $52.66, while a one-day license will cost $17.02.

For the first time, anglers have the option to sign up for auto-renewal of their annual sport fishing licenses, report cards and validations.

“More than a million anglers purchase annual licenses to fish California waters and for many of them, this will be a welcome feature,” said Josh Morgan, chief of CDFW’s License and Revenue Branch. “Signing up for auto-renewal helps ensure that you won’t end up on the water with an expired license.”

Anglers must enroll in the auto-renewal program through CDFW’s online sales website. License agents cannot enroll customers in the auto-renewal program, but customers who make purchases in person from license agents can go online later and enroll themselves.

Not all CDFW products for sale are eligible for auto-renewal at this time, although the feature will be expanded to other items in the future. For more information and a complete list of items available for auto-renewal, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions about auto-renewal on CDFW’s website.

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Media Contact:
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

Pismo clams

CDFW Reminds the Public Not to Disturb Pismo Clams on Central Coast Beaches

With the re-opening of several State Parks beaches in San Luis Obispo County, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds visitors to avoid disturbing small Pismo clams and rebury any small clams they encounter.

“We have not seen a population boom of this magnitude in decades,” said CDFW Marine Environmental Scientist Derek Stein. “We are hopeful that these young clams could increase the chances of a recreational fishery returning to the central coast.”

Pismo clams were once prolific along central coast beaches, supporting a vibrant recreational fishery. Due to overharvest, illegal removals and other environmental conditions, the fishery has not rebounded to historical levels. Although it is currently legal to harvest clams recreationally, almost no legal-sized clams have been found in recent years.

Pismo clams are frequently encountered by people walking along the beaches or digging in the sand. CDFW encourages the public to leave the clams in the sand to help the population expand. Any disturbed clams should be immediately reburied to increase the chance of survival. Beachgoers may also notice interesting round formations in clam beds. These formations are created by the clams as they expel sand from their siphons and are not caused by other human disturbances. However, the tidal flat environment is sensitive and beachgoers should do their best to avoid disturbing clam beds.

Pismo clams can be harvested with a valid fishing license. Anglers may retain 10 Pismo clams per day if the clams meet the minimum size of 5 inches in greatest diameter north of the San Luis Obispo/Monterey county line, and 4½ inches south of the county line. All undersized clams must be immediately reburied in the area they were found. In Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, the season for Pismo clams starts Sept. 1 and ends after April 30. In all other counties, the season is open year-round. No commercial harvest is permitted.

With the help of the public we can all protect this once abundant and iconic central coast species. If you witness a poaching, wildlife trafficking or pollution incident, immediately dial the toll free CalTIP number, (888) 334-2258, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tips may also be submitted by texting to tip411 (847411). Anyone with a cell phone may send an anonymous tip to tip411 by texting “CALTIP” followed by a space and the message.

Tips can also be reported through the free CalTIP smartphone app, which operates similarly to tip411 by creating an anonymous two-way conversation with wildlife officers. The CalTIP app can be downloaded via the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.

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Media Contacts:
Derek Stein, CDFW Marine Region, (805) 242-6726
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

CDFW Offering Waterfowl Hunts at East Bay Ecological Reserve

Hunters can soon participate in no-fee waterfowl hunts amid restored salt ponds at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve (ELER) in Hayward. Access to ELER will be open to 100 hunters on a first-come, first-served basis on the following dates:

2020 hunts (5 a.m. check-in)

  • Saturday, Nov. 21
  • Tuesday, Nov. 24
  • Saturday, Dec. 5
  • Thursday, Dec. 10
  • Tuesday, Dec. 15
  • Saturday, Dec. 19

2021 hunts (5 a.m. check-in)

  • Saturday, Jan. 2
  • Thursday, Jan. 7
  • Saturday, Jan. 16
  • Thursday, Jan. 21

“Eden Landing waterfowl hunts are unique in that there are no fees charged and hunting is offered on some Tuesdays and Thursdays when many public waterfowl hunting areas are closed. These hunts typically produce a two-to-three-bird average per season with northern shoveler and American wigeon being most common taken,” said ELER Manager John Krause.

To keep hunters and CDFW staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, sanitation procedures have been put in place including a requirement for all individuals on the property to wear masks and maintain distance from others while conducting check station business. Controls for hunter/visitor check-out will be implemented to minimize contact between hunters and staff. All hunters/visitors should familiarize themselves with CDFW’s operational changes due to COVID-19.

Improvements have been made to ELER including a boat launch on Mount Eden Creek allowing access to tidal areas. Boaters are advised to consult local tide charts before launching as mud flats can subject vessels to hidden underwater hazards during low tides.

There is a 25-shell limit in the field and nonlead ammunition is required when taking wildlife anywhere in California. A small boat, canoe or other floatation device is highly recommended to access ponds and blinds. A hunting dog is recommended for retrieving birds. Hunters are responsible for avoiding closed areas.

To access ELER from Interstate 880: Exit at Alvarado Boulevard; continue west and turn right on Union City Boulevard; left on Bettencourt Road (look for Union Sanitary District sign); left on Whipple Road, right on Horner Street; right on Veasy Street. Enter at the yellow gate and proceed to the check station.

Adult hunters must have a valid California Hunting License, federal duck stamp, state duck stamp and Harvest Information Program validations. Junior hunters must have a junior license and, if 16 or older, also possess a federal duck stamp. Junior hunters must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older (hunter or non-hunter).

Public access opportunities at the reserve in addition to hunting are available. More information is available at wildlife.ca.gov/Lands/Places-to-Visit/Eden-Landing-ER and South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project. www.southbayrestoration.org.

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Media Contacts:
Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 825-7120
John Krause, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (415) 454-8050