California Fish and Game Commission Meets in San Diego

At its October 9-10, 2019 meeting in San Diego County, the California Fish and Game Commission discussed and took action on several items that relate to California’s natural resources.

The Commissioners unanimously adopted regulations to issue experimental fishing permits to support sustainable fisheries and promote innovation in California. The new regulations allow experimental fishing permits to be issued to those fishermen who participated in the 2018 box crab experimental gear permit program. Next year, the Commission will consider adopting regulations to establish an experimental fishing permit program.

The Herring Fishery Management Plan (FMP), and accompanying Pacific Herring regulations, were also unanimously adopted. The FMP formalizes Pacific Herring management strategies that are responsive to environmental and socioeconomic changes while also preserving the sustainability of the fishery within the context of the entire ecosystem. Among other changes, the regulations establish a recreational bag limit for Herring and allow for the regulation of the commercial Herring fishery under the Herring FMP.

The Commission also evaluated and discussed a state water bottom lease application from the Malibu Oyster Company, which is proposing to locate a shellfish aquaculture operation in Santa Monica Bay, approximately a mile offshore in Malibu. Preliminary considerations for the Commission included previous leases or uses of the site granted by State Lands Commission (of which there were none) and whether there were any known water quality issues (there were none at this time). Additional assessment of environmental impacts and public concerns still lie ahead. The Commission unanimously voted to allow the proposal to move forward for environmental review, tribal notification and public noticing. The proposal is still in the early stages of review and must gain many additional levels of approval, including from the Coastal Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies, before the project comes to fruition.

All members of the Commission were present at the meeting, including President Eric Sklar, Vice President Jacque Hostler-Carmesin and Commissioners Russell Burns, Samantha Murray and Peter Silva.

The full Commission agenda for this meeting along with supporting information is available at An archived video will also be available in coming days.


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

October 2019 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

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

Various Days — Ecological Reserve Tours at Elkhorn Slough, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Naturalists 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 onsite). 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

Various Days — General Bear Season Opening in Select Deer Zones. General bear season opens concurrently with general deer season in the A, B, C, D, X8, X9A, X9B, X10 and X12 zones. Current bear hunting regulations, in-season updates and general black bear information can be viewed at

Various Days — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadlines for Multiple Hunting Opportunities. Wild pig, deer, bear, turkey, dove and quail hunts are available through the SHARE program. An $11.88 non-refundable application fee will be charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit

First through Third Saturdays and Sundays of the Month — Sandhill Crane Wetland Tours at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, 7730 W. Woodbridge Road, Lodi (95242). Online registration has begun for those wishing to participate in these guided tours, which run October through February. Registration is available online at A one-day Lands Pass must be purchased to attend and instructions are available on the same website. Tours fill fast and registration may be done as much as six weeks in advance. For more information, please visit

Weekends Beginning Oct. 19 — Guided Wildlife Tours at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 12:30 p.m., 3207 Rutherford Rd., Gridley (95948). The 90-minute walking tour covers slightly more than a half mile through this premier birding spot that highlights migratory waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. Tours are canceled in heavy rain. This land is part of the CDFW Lands Pass Program and associated fee-for-use requirement. For more information on the Lands Pass Program, please visit There is no additional cost for the tour. Tour tickets online: Walk-ons welcome. For tours/general information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email

2 — California Spiny Lobster Commercial Fishing Season Opens Statewide. For more information regarding lobster and lobster management, please visit

5 — Wetland Wildlife Identification Workshop at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., 3207 Rutherford Rd, Gridley (95948). Wetland birds and plants will be the focus of this walking tour, though a variety of wildlife will be present. Information will include identification, behavior, habitat requirements and viewing equipment use. Reservations are required. This land is part of the CDFW Lands Pass Program and associated fee-for-use requirement. For more information on the Lands Pass Program, please visit For more information on the tour, please call (530) 846-7505 or email

5 — Native Plant Sale, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve, 14715 State Highway 94, Jamul (91935). Join the Earth Discovery Institute (EDI) for the annual Native Plant Sale. This is an opportunity to learn about native plant gardening and to purchase trees, drought tolerant shrubs, and fragrant and flowering pollinator attracting plants. A wide array of plants that are native to Southern California and water wise will be available, and a consortium of gardeners and horticulturists will be on hand to answer questions and help you pick the perfect plants for your property. You can find a plant list on EDI’s website:

5 — General Duck and Goose Season Opens in the Northeastern Waterfowl Zone. For more information about regulations, please visit

5 — General Deer Season Opens in Zones D19, X1, X2, X3a, X3b, X4, X5a, X5b, X6a, X6b, X7a and X7b. For more information, please visit

5-6 — Early Season Junior Hunt for Quail in the Mojave National Preserve. For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit Upland Game Bird Hunting Regulations.

5-6 — Fall Fish Festival, Taylor Creek Visitor Center, 35 Visitor Center Road, South Lake Tahoe (96150), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., both days. The festival encourages participation by youths and their parents in a variety of educational and entertaining activities. For more information, please visit

8 — California Fish and Game Commission Tribal Committee Meeting, start time to be determined, Rincon Government Center, One Government Center Lane, Valley Center (92082). For more information, please visit

8 — Conservation and Mitigation Banking Program Stakeholder Meeting for Northern California, 1 to 4 p.m., Stanford Room, 650 Capitol Mall, Sacramento (95814). A public meeting to provide an opportunity for attendees to discuss their experience using the current Bank Enabling Instrument (BEI) and Conservation Easement (CE) templates, and to discuss other bank topics in a forum with the agencies’ banking staff and decision-makers. For more information, please visit or contact

9-10 — California Fish and Game Commission Meeting, begins at 9 a.m. both days, Rincon Government Center, One Government Center Lane, Valley Center (92082). For more information, please visit

9 — CDFW Conservation Lecture Series, 1 to 3 p.m., “The ecology and conservation of ungulate migrations in the American West,” presented by Arthur Middleton, Ph.D. In recent years, wildlife ecologists have made major strides in understanding how ungulate migrations evolve, why they are important, and what causes them to decline. At the same time, storytellers have been using advances in digital photography and videography to increase interest in wildlife migrations amongst the general public and policymakers. This talk will review major science and policy developments with insights and case studies from the diverse migratory ungulates of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, where Arthur Middleton and his group at UC Berkeley have done much of their work on the topic. Attendance is free. To register or learn more, please visit

12 — Elkhorn Slough Reserve Teachers on the Reserve Workshop, Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). The workshop introduces teachers to the reserve and the education field trip program. The workshop is free and continuing Education Units will be available. To register, please visit and for more information, please contact Virginia Guhin at

12 — General Bear Season Opens in the Remaining X Zones. General bear season opens for the remaining deer hunting X zones. The general bear season will remain open until Dec. 29, or until CDFW determines that 1,700 bears have been taken. CDFW reminds successful hunters to have their tag validated and a tooth extracted from the skull of their bear. Current bear hunting regulations, in-season updates and general black bear information can be viewed at

12 — General Deer Season Opens in Zones D11, D13, D14, D15 and D17. For more information, please visit

12 — Archery-only Pheasant Season Opens and Extends Through Nov. 3. For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit Upland Game Bird Hunting Regulations.

13 — Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve Canyoneer Hike, Grasslands Loop. 3 to 7 p.m., 14715 State Highway 94, Jamul (91935). Canyoneers have special permission to hike this 5600-acre CDFW ecological reserve. View sage scrub and riparian environments and hear about efforts to convert grasslands to native habitat. The ruins of a historic brick-making kiln will also be visited. This is an intermediate 5-mile hike with an elevation gain/loss of up to 1,000 feet. For more information, please call (619) 468-9125 or email

15 — Tour Leader Workshop at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 3207 Rutherford Rd, Gridley (95948). The free workshop will focus on developing leaders in nature study for the Tuesday morning, “Wildlife Ramble” and “Exploring the Wetlands” youth education programs. Reservations are required. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email

18 — General Duck and Goose Season Opens in the Colorado River Waterfowl Zone. For more information, please visit

19 — General Season for All Quail Opens in Zone Q1 and Zone Q3 (extending through Jan. 26, 2020). For more information, please visit

19 — General Snipe Season Opens Statewide (extending through Feb. 2, 2020). For more information, please visit

19 — General Chukar Season Opens Statewide (extending through Jan. 26, 2020). For more information, please visit

19 — General Duck and Goose Season Opens in the Balance of State, Southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern California Waterfowl Zones. For more information, please visit

19 — General Deer Season Opens in Zone X9c. For more information, please visit

23 — California Northern Spotted Owl Stakeholder Forum, 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m., 5550 Skylane Blvd., Suite A, Santa Rosa (95403). The California Northern Spotted Owl Stakeholder Forum is a meeting that allows agencies, nongovernmental organizations, researchers, landowners, timber companies and other interested parties to share information surrounding northern spotted owl management and conservation efforts in California. Participants may attend in-person or via webinar and reservations are not required. For more information, please visit  

26 — General Deer Season Opens in Zone D16. For more information, please visit

31  Last Day of Recreational Ocean Salmon Season from Horse Mountain to Pigeon Point. Recreational ocean salmon fishing closes statewide. For more information, please visit the ocean salmon webpage at 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.


Media Contacts:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8907
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988



CDFW Celebrates Contributions of California’s Hunters and Anglers on National Hunting and Fishing Day

National Hunting and Fishing Day will be celebrated on Saturday, Sept. 28. In conjunction with this annual observance, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds Californians of the plentiful opportunities to enjoy hunting and fishing in the state and commends them for their commitment to conservation.

President Richard Nixon signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day in 1972. It is annually held on the fourth Saturday in September to promote outdoor sports and conservation. Shortly after this proclamation was signed, participation in hunting and fishing started to steadily decline in California and nationwide. Because of the important financial and volunteer contributions that hunters and anglers make to conservation and wildlife management activities, the decline in participation poses an ever-increasing threat to our natural resources. As a result, CDFW is leading the effort in California to increase participation through its involvement with the nationwide campaign to recruit, retain and reactivate (R3) hunters and anglers. The California R3 effort is engaging diverse hunting and fishing stakeholder groups to turn barriers to hunting and fishing into opportunities for participation.

California is the third-largest state in the nation and approximately half of its land is publicly owned. That translates into millions of acres of huntable public property on which CDFW offers varied hunting opportunities.

In 2018, 269,277 licensed hunters contributed approximately $26.2 million toward wildlife management and conservation activities in the state. Wildlife management and conservation activities have resulted in many success stories for various species around the state, including the Tule elk, wild turkeys, Desert Bighorn Sheep, Aleutian Canada Goose, numerous ducks, among others, over the years in California.

Fishing opportunities also abound in the more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,172 lakes and reservoirs and 80 major rivers in California. The state features more than 1,100 miles of coastline that is home to hundreds of fish and shellfish species.

CDFW offers two “free fishing” days each year in the state, and this year prospective anglers received those opportunities on July 6 and Aug. 31. Fish production is also an important CDFW activity which in 2018 produced millions of pounds of trout for recreational angling.

Last year, CDFW issued 1.77 million fishing licenses and those licenses (including report cards and validations) generated $66.9 million in funding for fisheries management and protection.

Fisheries management and conservation activities have also resulted in numerous success stories over the years in California for various species around the state, including wild trout, landlocked salmon, Largemouth Bass and the Alabama Spotted Bass.

These management activities are funded by hunting and fishing dollars. In order to help increase the number of success stories and contribute to these important conservation and wildlife management activities, consider helping by signing up to take a hunter education course, visit the CDFW website to learn more about participating in fishing and hunting opportunities, or reach out to your local CDFW office or the statewide R3 coordinator to seek guidance on getting started.

Many hunting and fishing seasons are currently open and provide opportunity to acquire lean, antibiotic-free protein sources such as wild trout and other fish, deer, bear, dove, tree squirrel, rabbit and other upland game.

For more information on hunting and fishing opportunities in the Golden State, please visit For information on hunter education, please visit For information on how to purchase a hunting or fishing license, please visit For more information on National Hunting and Fishing Day, please visit


Media Contact:
Jen Benedet, CDFW Hunter and Angler R3 Program, (916) 903-9270


Registration Now Open for San Joaquin County Sandhill Crane Tours

Each September, more than 10,000 sandhill cranes descend upon the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta where they spend five months roosting and foraging in a protected wetlands area just west of Lodi.

During their stay at the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve and surrounding areas, the birds captivate onlookers with expressive song and unique social behavior, including a “dance” thought to be connected with courtship and bonding.

Registration is now open for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Sandhill Crane Wetland Tour, which offers guided tours of sandhill cranes in their fall-winter habitat. Guided tours, which begin Oct. 5, are offered mid-to-late afternoon during the first three weekends of each month from October through February.

“The sandhill cranes’ fly-in around sundown can be nothing short of spectacular. It’s a very worthwhile tour,” said CDFW Interpretive Services Supervisor David Moore.

Registration and additional information can be found at the CDFW Bay Delta Region’s Sandhill Crane Wetland Tour page.

The Woodbridge Ecological Reserve is also accessible at any time for self-guided tours. A series of informative displays are located at the reserve’s southern unit at 11154 W. Woodbridge Road in Lodi. Reserve staff recommend that guests stay through sunset to witness the sights and sounds of groups of sandhills returning to their roosting spots for the evening.

Please note that visitors who are age 16 or older must purchase a one-day Lands Pass or have a current hunting or fishing license in possession in order to access the reserve. Proceeds from Lands Pass purchases (which are less than $5) go toward wildlife conservation.

CDFW is also proud to co-sponsor the Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival from Nov. 1-3.

Media Contacts:
Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958
David Moore, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 766-8380


CDFW Expands Statewide Sampling for Chronic Wasting Disease

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is increasing the scope of its monitoring and testing efforts for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in California’s deer and elk herds.

“While California has never had a report of CWD, increased testing is needed to establish with a high degree of certainty that there are no deer with CWD in California,” said CDFW Wildlife Veterinarian Brandon Munk. “Keeping this disease out of our state is a top priority, both for wildlife managers and for hunters.”

CWD is always fatal to deer and elk, and is an ongoing concern for hunters and managers throughout the country. Once CWD enters a herd, it is nearly impossible to eradicate. Although there are no known cases of CWD being transferred to humans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends not consuming meat or organs from any animal that tests positive for CWD.

CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory has set an ambitious goal to test 600 deer statewide during this year’s hunting seasons and increasing that number to 2,000 statewide in the upcoming years.

Continued hunter cooperation will be key to achieving the CWD deer testing goals. CDFW will set up check stations during the various deer seasons, and hunters will be asked to bring their deer in for the quick removal of a lymph node for testing. CWD testing of hunter-taken deer is voluntary, and no meat is taken.

Information about specific locations and times of operation of CWD check stations in each of the state’s deer zones and control hunt areas will appear on CDFW’s website. Hunters can also contact regional CDFW offices to get check station schedules. Some offices may also offer onsite deer testing.

Some professional meat processors and butchers throughout the state are also partnering with CDFW to take samples from deer at the hunter’s request. Hunters who may be unable to visit a check station or CDFW regional office for sampling are encouraged to ask their butcher ahead of time if sampling is available at the time of processing.


Media Contacts:
Brandon Munk, CDFW Wildlife Investigations Lab, (916) 358-1194
Nathan Graveline, CDFW Big Game Program, (916) 445-3652
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988