Category Archives: Public Safety

May 2017 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

 

DATE — EVENT

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

Various Days — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Multiple Hunting Opportunities. Wild pig, deer, bear, turkey, dove and quail hunts are available through the SHARE program. A $10.50 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.

Weekends — Ecological Reserve Tours at Elkhorn Slough. Volunteers lead walks every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.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 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.

1 Northern California Red Abalone Season Opens. Northern California red abalone season is opening one month later than normal this season as low numbers of abalone seen in deeper waters (below 28 feet) during dive surveys prompted the California Fish and Game Commission to reduce the catch of red abalone for 2017. The months of April and November are closed this year and the number of abalone on the report card has been reduced from 18 to 12. Other regulations remain unchanged, including the start time of 8 a.m. For more information, please visit https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/north-coast-abalone-season-dates-regulations-change/ or contact Jerry Kashiwada at (707) 964-5791 or jerry.kashiwada@wildlife.ca.gov.

1 — Archery Only Spring Turkey and Additional Junior Spring Turkey Seasons Open. Season extends through May 14, 2017. For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

1 — Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery Opens. There will be four open periods for the 2017 fishery: May 1-June 15, July 1-15, Aug. 1-15 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/pacific-halibut.

6 — Take It Outside California! Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076), 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will feature games, crafts and guided trail walks. The cost is $4.12 for trail use and no pets are allowed. For more information, please contact Virginia Guhin at virginia.guhin@wildlife.ca.gov.

12-13 — Monterey Bay Youth Outdoor Day, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Fishing Passport Program will quiz kids on different aspects of sport fish and fishing, provide California Fishing Passports and California Finfish and Shellfish Identification books, and provide fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing information. More than 40 organizations will be represented and the event is free. For more information, please visit www.mbyod.org/.

13 — Gray Lodge Wildlife Area Kids’ Fishing Day, 7 a.m. to noon, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). Youths 15 and under can compete for the biggest catfish in the morning at the free event, and fishing poles and bait will be available. The event will include prizes and lunch for participating youths and a bicycle will be awarded to the holder of the largest fish. Anglers age 16 and over who have a valid California Sport Fishing License may fish from this location after noon. For more information, please contact the Gridley Recreation Department at (530) 846-3264 or Gray Lodge Wildlife Area at (530) 846-7505.

15 — Recreational Ocean Salmon Season Reopens from the Point Arena to Pigeon Point. For more information, please visit the Ocean Salmon webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429.

20 — Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs, 7 a.m. to noon, Bidwell Park, Chico. To kick off National Fishing Week, the city of Chico will host this free children’s fishing event for kids 15 and under. Tackle, bait and instruction are provided and the lake will be stocked with 8,000 lbs. of catfish. For more information, please call (530) 891-4757. 

24 — California Fish and Game Commission Wildlife Resources Committee Meeting, time to be determined, Resources Building, First Floor Auditorium, 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento (95814). For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2017/index.aspx.

24 — Delta Fisheries Forum, 1-4 p.m., Resources Building, First Floor Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). Interested stakeholders are invited to join a forum to explore and discuss the future of fisheries management in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Jointly sponsored by the California Fish and Game Commission and CDFW. For more information, please see www.fgc.ca.gov.

25 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Meeting, 10 a.m., State Capitol, Room 112, Sacramento (95814). For more information, please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

31 — Nomination Deadline for Fisheries Restoration Grant Program Peer Review Committee. The CDFW Fisheries Restoration Grant Program (FRGP) is seeking nominations from the public to fill three vacancies on the FRGP Peer Review Committee. Applications are sought for the timber industry, agricultural industry, and academic or research positions. For more information, please visit https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/nominations-now-being-accepted-for-fisheries-restoration-grant-program-peer-review-committee-7/.

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

Mountain Lion DNA Found Inside Pescadero Home

A trace of mountain lion DNA was identified in a blood sample taken from inside a home in Pescadero, confirming reports that a mountain lion entered an occupied home and took a dog off the bed where the homeowner was sleeping.

On Monday, Apr. 17, 2017, a Pescadero homeowner called 911 at 3 a.m. to report an animal had entered her home through an open door and taken her 15-pound dog, which was sleeping on the end of her bed. San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies responded and although they did not find the dog, they reported seeing wet paw prints at the entrance to the bedroom. They notified the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and a wildlife officer responded later that morning. The wet prints had dried and were no longer visible. The wildlife officer was unable to find any other tracks or obvious sign of a mountain lion. He did discover a small drop of blood on the door, which he collected for analysis.

Due to the nature of the report, the wildlife officer drove the blood sample to the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento the same day. Forensic analysis confirmed the blood found in the home was predominantly domestic dog, with trace amounts of mountain lion DNA, confirming a mountain lion had entered the home and taken the dog.

The property owners are eligible for a depredation permit, which would allow them or an agent acting on their behalf to take the offending mountain lion. However, they opted not to receive the permit. No further action will be taken by CDFW.

CDFW stresses that this lion’s behavior is extremely rare. Most mountain lions are elusive in nature and rarely seen. CDFW urges residents in the area to take all reasonable actions to secure their properties and domestic pets to better coexist with not only mountain lions, but all wildlife. For tips, please see www.wildlife.ca.gov/Keep-Me-Wild.

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Media Contact:
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-6692

State Agencies Pilot Wildlife Crossing Mitigation Credit System

California’s state wildlife and transportation departments signed a credit agreement on an innovative pilot project to create advanced mitigation credits for wildlife highway crossings. The mitigation crediting system developed for the Laurel Curve Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Project on Highway 17 in Santa Cruz County can be used to transition into a statewide program being developed through the new Regional Conservation Investments Strategies Program.

Using the Laurel Curve project as a pilot, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) developed a model compensatory mitigation crediting system.

An agreement between CDFW and Caltrans creates credits that can be used to mitigate for impacts to wildlife movement for future transportation projects within a geographical area defined as the Service Area, and determines the price of each credit. Mitigation credits are calculated using a first-of-its-kind methodology which takes into account the length of highway to be improved in lane miles or the project footprint in acres and the total cost of the project. When appropriate, Caltrans may sell or transfer the credits within Caltrans or to other transportation agencies with projects in the Service Area, thereby freeing funds for additional infrastructure projects.

“Highway 17 bisects undeveloped, wildlife-rich land in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and for the safety of deer, mountain lion, and motorists, too, we need to connect this habitat with a safe corridor,” said California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird.  “CDFW, Caltrans and the new transportation package have come together to solve this problem.”

Senate Bill 1, the transportation funding package, includes $30 million for advanced mitigation strategies for projects similar to the creative Highway 17 project.

“Not only will this improve wildlife habitat connectivity and highway safety, but will also allow us to expedite future transportation projects using the mitigation credits made available,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.

CDFW and Caltrans worked closely with the California Transportation Commission (CTC) to formulate the credit agreement. Caltrans, CDFW, the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, Pathways for Wildlife, the U.C. Santa Cruz Puma Study and the Santa Cruz County Transportation Commission all worked together to develop a solution for the wildlife crossing at Laurel Curve.

Caltrans has built similar wildlife crossings on highways 1, 68, 101, 152 and 280.

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Media Contacts:
Jennifer Garrison, CDFW Habitat Conservation Planning Branch, (916) 653-9779
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824
Jim Shivers, Caltrans, (805) 549-3237

Be Rattlesnake Safe this Spring

With the coming of spring and warmer weather conditions, snakes of many species are through hunkering down, making human encounters with these elusive creatures more likely. Although most native snakes are harmless, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recommends steering clear of the venomous rattlesnake  – and knowing what to do in the event of a strike.

Rattlesnakes are widespread in California and are found in a variety of habitat throughout the state from coastal to desert. They may also turn up around homes and yards in brushy areas and under wood piles. Generally not aggressive, rattlesnakes will likely retreat if given room or not deliberately provoked or threatened. Most bites occur when a rattlesnake is handled or accidentally touched by someone walking or climbing.

On rare occasions, rattlesnake bites have caused severe injury – even death. However, the potential of encountering a rattlesnake should not deter anyone from venturing outdoors. The California Poison Control System notes that the chances of being bitten are small compared to the risk of other environmental injuries. Most bites occur between the months of April and October when snakes and humans are most active outdoors, but there are precautions that can and should be taken to lessen the chances of being bitten.

The dos and don’ts in snake country

Rattlesnakes are not confined to rural areas. They have been found in urban areas, on riverbanks and lakeside parks and at golf courses. The following safety precautions can be taken to reduce the likelihood of an encounter with a rattlesnake.

  • Be alert. Like all reptiles, rattlesnakes are sensitive to the ambient temperature and will adjust their behavior accordingly. After a cold or cool night, they will attempt to raise their body temperature by basking in the sun midmorning. To prevent overheating during hot days of spring and summer, they will become more active at dawn, dusk or night.
  • Wear sturdy boots and loose-fitting long pants. Never go barefoot or wear sandals when walking through brushy, wild areas. Startled rattlesnakes may not rattle before striking defensively.
  • Children should not wear flip-flops while playing outdoors in snake country.
  • When hiking, stick to well-used trails. Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during the day.
  • Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see. Step ON logs and rocks, never over them, and be especially careful when climbing rocks or gathering firewood. Check out stumps or logs before sitting down, and shake out sleeping bags before use.
  • Never grab “sticks” or “branches” while swimming in lakes and rivers. Rattlesnakes can swim.
  • Be careful when stepping over doorsteps as well. Snakes like to crawl along the edge of buildings where they are protected on one side.
  • Never hike alone. Always have someone with you who can assist in an emergency.
  • Do not handle a freshly killed snake, as it can still inject venom.
  • Teach children early to respect snakes and to leave them alone.
  • Leash your dog when hiking in snake country. Dogs are at increased risk of being bitten due to holding their nose to the ground while investigating the outdoors. Speak to your veterinarian about canine rattlesnake vaccines and what to do if your pet is bitten.

Rattlesnakes belong to a unique group of venomous snakes known as pit vipers and the rattlesnake is the only pit viper found in California. The copperhead and water moccasin also belong to this group; however, they are most commonly found in the southern, southeastern and eastern part of the United States. The term “pit” refers to special heat sensors located midway between the snake’s eye and nostril. These special thermoreceptors detect differences in temperature which help the snake pinpoint prey while hunting. The term “viper” is short for Viperidae, the family in which scientists categorize the rattlesnake.  Pit vipers are venomous and rely on the use of venom to kill prey to eat. The rattlesnake’s prey of choice is chiefly rodents and other small mammals and this is an important factor in terms of keeping rodent populations in an ecosystem in check.

Keeping snakes out of the yard

The best protection against rattlesnakes in the yard is a “rattlesnake proof” fence. The fence should either be solid or with mesh no larger than one-quarter inch. It should be at least three feet high with the bottom buried a few inches in the ground. Slanting your snake fence outward about a 30-degree angle will help. Keep vegetation away from the fence and remove piles of boards or rocks around the home. Use caution when removing those piles – there may already be a snake there. Encourage and protect natural competitors like gopher snakes, king snakes and racers. King snakes actually kill and eat rattlesnakes.

What to do in the event of a snake bite:

Though uncommon, rattlesnake bites do occur, so have a plan in place for responding to any situation. Carry a cell phone, hike with a companion who can assist in an emergency and make sure that family or friends know where you are going and when you will be checking in. In the event of a bite:

  • Stay calm but act quickly.
  • Remove watches, rings, etc., which may constrict swelling.
  • Transport the victim to the nearest medical facility.
  • For more first aid information, please call the California Poison Control System at (800) 222.1222.

What you should NOT do after a rattlesnake bite:

  • DON’T apply a tourniquet.
  • DON’T pack the bite area in ice.
  • DON’T cut the wound with a knife or razor.
  • DON’T use your mouth to suck out the venom.
  • DON’T let the victim drink alcohol.

More information about rattlesnakes can be found at the following websites:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Habitat and Relationships: www.wildlife.ca.gov/Data/CWHR/Life-History-and-Range

UC Davis Integrative Pest Management: www.californiaherps.com/info/rattlesnakeinfo.html

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Media Contact:
Lesa Johnston, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 322-8933

Feather River Hatchery Closed Until Further Notice

Due to recent flooding from the Feather River, the Feather River Hatchery in Oroville will remain closed to the public until further notice.

The hatchery’s infrastructure and public viewing areas were damaged by high flood waters, silt and debris, making it unsafe for the public to be on the grounds or access the river via hatchery property.

“Our staff is focused on keeping the hatchery salmon and steelhead alive, and facility cleanup efforts won’t be completed for some time,” said Anna Kastner, Feather River Hatchery Manager. “We appreciate the public’s patience and support of our efforts to preserve these critical stocks under unusual and challenging circumstances. We’ll be very happy when all operations are back to normal.”

On Feb. 9 and 10, more than 60 people from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries and other agencies successfully transferred more than five million Chinook salmon to an annex hatchery nine miles away. Fisheries staff also constructed an emergency filtration system for the remaining salmon and steelhead at the Oroville facility.

To date, losses at the hatchery have been minimal.

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Media Contacts:
Anna Kastner, CDFW Feather River Fish Hatchery, (530) 538-2222

Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 201-2958