Category Archives: Public Safety

A Section of the Commercial Spiny Lobster Fishery Closure around Anacapa Island has been Lifted

Today the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham lifted a portion of the commercial fishery closure around Anacapa Island east of 119°30.000’ W. longitude and north of 34°00.000’ N. latitude as recommended by state health agencies. According to the notice from the Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessments (OEHHA), sampling of spiny lobster and analysis of samples by California Department of Public Health (CDPH) laboratories indicates that consumption of spiny lobster taken from this area no longer poses a significant threat for domoic acid exposure.

On October 24, 2017 State health agencies determined that spiny lobster near Anacapa Island, Ventura County and the east end of Santa Cruz Island, Santa Barbara County had unhealthy levels of domoic acid and recommended closure of the commercial fishery in this area.

Except for state waters east of 119°30.000’ W. longitude and north of 34°00.000’ N. latitude, the commercial closure remains in effect in all state waters around Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands east of 119°40.000’ W. longitude, and west of 119°20.000’ W. longitude. State waters extends three nautical miles beyond outermost islands, reefs and rocks. The recreational fishery for spiny lobster remains open statewide with a warning from CDPH to recreational anglers to avoid consuming the viscera (tomalley) of spiny lobster taken from the closed area.

This closure shall remain in effect until the Director of OEHHA, in consultation with the State Public Health Officer at CDPH, determines that domoic acid no longer poses a significant risk to public health and recommends the fishery be open in this area. CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in spiny lobster to determine when the fishery can safely be opened in the closed area.

Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin produced by a naturally occurring marine alga, whose levels can be increased under certain ocean conditions. State and federal laws prohibit the commercial distribution of seafood products that contain domoic acid levels above the federal action level, which is 20 parts per million in the viscera of spiny lobster.

For more information:

CDFW Declaration 11/03/2017

Memo from Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (11/03/17)

http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Health-Advisories

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

Fall is the Season for Heightened Bear Activity in the High Country and Foothills

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the U.S. Forest Service remind citizens visiting or living in the high country and foothills that fall is the time of year for increased bear foraging activity and more human and bear encounters are possible.

California black bears are typically active and foraging between April and mid-fall, but in autumn, black bears experience changes in metabolism that drives the need to consume as many rich calories as possible. This metabolic spike is an important signal to the bear to bulk up and gain the fat that will sustain the animal through hibernation and periods of lean food sources. Scientists estimate that black bears may forage as many as 20 hours a day at this time.FS-OfficialColor5inch Resized

During this transition, residents in bear country are asked to diligently manage food, garbage and other attractants around the home and yard in order to avoid attracting bears. Residents leaving cabins for the season should remove all attractants from the cabins, and seal and lock all doors and windows. Crawl spaces under houses or porches should be sealed in order to prevent them from becoming denning sites.

Here are things to know:

  • Bears have a sense of smell seven times stronger than a bloodhound and eyesight as good as a human’s
  • Any scent, especially one of odorous foods like fish or other meats, may attract a bear to your home and yard
  • Remove bird feeders completely until later in the year
  • Remove fallen fruit off the ground promptly
  • Use bear-resistant garbage cans and wait to set trash out until the day of pick up
  • Store pet food inside
  • Do not leave food or other scented items in your car
  • Bears fed intentionally or unintentionally by people may become bold and aggressive—they may be killed if they become a threat to public safety or cause property damage

In the rare event a bear breaks into your home, move to a safe location and contact local authorities. Wildlife experts caution against directly confronting the bear or blocking the bear’s escape route.

Visitors to bear country should act responsibly and be mindful of their safety while in bear habitat. Camping season is ending in many areas, but with the cooler temperatures, fall hiking is very popular in the mountains and foothills and visitors often flock to salmon spawning sites in hopes of getting a glimpse of a bear. Wildlife experts offer these important tips:

  • Be alert on trails (avoid wearing headphones)
  • Keep a respectful and safe distance from bears at all times
  • Do not attempt to take “selfies” with bears or other wildlife
  • Never feed a bear – it is unlawful and dangerous to people and may result in the needless death of a bear.

For an expanded list of living and recreating in bear country, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/keep-me-wild/bear.

For information about being, bear aware while visiting national forests, please visit http://www.fs.fed.us/visit/know-before-you-go/bears .

To learn more about black bear ecology, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/mammals/black-bear/biology.

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Media Contacts:
Lesa Johnston, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 322-8933
Paul Wade, U.S. Forest Service Public Affairs, (707) 562-9010

 

CDFW Accepting Applications for Wildlife Officer Cadet through Sept. 30

Do you have what it takes to be a California wildlife officer? The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Law Enforcement Division (LED) is currently accepting applications for Wildlife Officer Cadet. CDFW is particularly interested in recruiting applicants with a love of the outdoors and a passion for fish and wildlife conservation.

All prospective candidates are encouraged to extensively review materials on the LED website (www.wildlife.ca.gov/enforcement/career) before contacting CDFW with questions.

If you are interested in becoming a Wildlife Officer Cadet, please apply online at https://jobs.ca.gov/JOBSGEN/7FG13.PDF by Sept. 30, 2017.

CDFW wildlife officers are fully sworn California peace officers with a fundamental duty to serve and protect the public. They have the authority to enforce all California laws, including the Vehicle Code, Penal Code, Health and Safety drug laws and more. The primary mission of a wildlife officer is to enforce wildlife resource laws; to protect California waterways and habitat from destruction, pollution and litter; provide the public with hunting and fishing information; and to promote and coordinate hunter education and safe weapons handling.

Wildlife officers patrol the mountains, valleys, deserts, creeks, streams, rivers and ocean. They frequently work alone and cover both rural and urban areas. California’s diverse ecosystem spans 159,000 square miles divided into 58 counties, with a human population in excess of 39 million. The state has 1,100 miles of coastline, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,800 lakes and reservoirs and 80 major rivers. Wildlife officers patrol utilizing trucks, ATVs, personal watercraft, boats, snowmobiles and airplanes, making contact with Californians in the great outdoors. Wildlife officers work undercover, conduct surveillances and complete in-depth investigations, including writing and serving search warrants. CDFW LED has numerous specialized teams and assignments including K-9, wildlife trafficking, marijuana eradication, marine patrol and oil spill prevention and response.

Annually, wildlife officers make contact with more than 295,000 people and issue more than 15,000 citations for violations of the law.

Successful applicants for Warden Cadet will attend a Peace Officer Standards of Training (POST) certified law enforcement training academy, conducted by CDFW at Butte College, near Chico in northern California. Following the academy, probationary wildlife officers will work with a seasoned field training officer for several weeks, where they learn to apply their training in practical circumstances.

Media Contact:
Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-9982

CDFW Law Enforcement Academy Graduates 30 Cadets, Adding 18 New Wildlife Officers to the Ranks

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Law Enforcement Academy Class 60 today added 18 new wildlife officers to the ranks of those who have dedicated their lives to the protection of California’s incredible natural resources.

The graduation ceremony took place Friday, Aug. 11 at the Paradise Performing Arts Center in Paradise. The 18 new wildlife officers will be going directly into CDFW’s Field Training Officer (FTO) program to put their training into practice under the close supervision of experienced FTOs. An additional 12 cadets paid their way through the Academy as “self-sponsors” in the interest of either applying for a law enforcement position with a different law enforcement agency or with CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division.

CDFW is also pleased to announce the recent hiring of four new wildlife officers who left previous full-time peace officer positions to work as wildlife officers. They will receive additional wildlife law enforcement specific training at the Academy prior to beginning their FTO Programs.

“Our cadets and Academy staff have worked tirelessly every day during the duration of the Academy to help develop necessary skills they will need to protect California’s natural resources and the California’s communities for generations to come,” said David Bess, CDFW Chief of Law Enforcement.

CDFW’s Wildlife Officer Academy is certified through the California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) and offers training consistent with every law enforcement agency in California. Field training with experienced FTOs is also mandated by POST to be sure new wildlife officers can apply the skills they learned during the academy to real life circumstances. FTO is the final stage of formal training. Upon successful completion, these officers will begin patrolling California to protect the natural resources of this great state.

Annually, wildlife officers make contact with more than 295,000 people and issue more than 15,000 citations. These officers primarily work alone, in remote areas, contacting subjects who almost always have some form of weapon, and they do so knowing that backup could be hours away. Wildlife officers have large patrol districts and great responsibilities, and frequently a sole officer will cover an entire county. The average California wildlife officer’s patrol district exceeds 500 square miles.

In 2008, CDFW teamed with Butte College to provide peace officer academy training for prospective wildlife officers. That partnership provided CDFW a state of the art POST-certified academy facility with 42 years of police training history.

The Law Enforcement Division will be accepting applications through Sept. 30, 2017, for the Academy beginning in January 2019. For more information about becoming a wildlife officer and the application timeline, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/enforcement/career.

Media Contact:
Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-9982

Suspect Wanted for Attempted Murder of a Wildlife Officer Turns Himself In

Shawn Eugene Hof, Jr., suspected of attempting to shoot a California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officer in August 2016, has turned himself in.

Law enforcement officers from CDFW, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office continued their focused effort to find Hof by visiting areas he was known to frequent.

“We believe it was this focused effort with our partners that prompted him to turn himself in,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “The Department thanks our allied agency partners for their efforts that began a year ago. We’re relieved that the situation resolved itself without injuries to our officers or the public.”

CDFW also thanks the California Wildlife Officers Foundation, California Waterfowl Association, Defenders of Wildlife, Humane Society of the United States, Nature Conservancy, Sportfishing Alliance and private donors who collaborated on a reward for information leading to Hof’s arrest.

On Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016, approximately 12:40 a.m., a CDFW wildlife officer was patrolling in Carlotta in Humboldt County. The officer saw a pickup truck with several occupants using spotlights on Redwood House Road near Highway 36. The officer attempted an enforcement stop of the truck when the driver sped away. A pursuit ensued and a person in the rear of the truck, believed to be Hof, began shooting at the wildlife officer during the attempt to get away. The suspects crashed their vehicle into a tree before fleeing on foot into the woods, where they escaped.

The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office will assume the lead for deciding on charges then filing the case in Humboldt County.

Media Contact
Contact: Lt. Chris Stoots 916-651-9982