Initiative Aims to Speed Coho Salmon Recovery in California Coastal Watersheds from Santa Cruz to Mendocino Counties

Coho salmon are getting a boost from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) strategic plan to prioritize salmon restoration and habitat improvement projects in coastal watersheds from Santa Cruz to Mendocino counties. In most of these watersheds, coho salmon are in severe decline or locally extinct due to human alterations to land and water resources.

The Priority Action Coho Team (PACT) is designed to focus much needed restoration to help maintain, stabilize and increase localized coho salmon populations. The approach of the PACT initiative is to identify and implement specific short-term actions, drawing from existing state and federal coho salmon recovery plans, to bring immediate benefits.

“PACT employs six strategies emphasizing planning actions and collaboration to accelerate coho salmon recovery from Santa Cruz to Mendocino counties,” said Kevin Shaffer, CDFW Branch Chief. “We look forward to working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) and our many partners on collaborating to recover this amazing fish.”

Watersheds where PACT restoration projects are being implemented include Scott Creek in Santa Cruz County and the Russian River in Sonoma County, where a range of projects to restore and improve stream and estuarine habitat have been carried out. These initiatives include recovery actions such as stream habitat restoration, water conservation, captive rearing and fish rescue, together with improvements to permitting, regulatory and enforcement processes.

PACT was developed jointly by CDFW and NOAA Fisheries, and is part of several initiatives to accelerate the implementation of ecological restoration and stewardship projects in California. Complimentary efforts include the Cutting the Green Tape initiative recently launched by the California Natural Resources Agency, other state agencies and the North Coast Salmon Project.

More information about the PACT process, as well as the link to the report, can be found on the CDFW website.

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Media Contacts:
Stephen Swales, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 376-1746
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (208) 220-1169

April 2020 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

All calendar items are subject to change as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

1 — Recreational Groundfish Season Opens, for all boat-based anglers in the San Francisco Management Area (Point Arena, Mendocino County to Pigeon Point, San Mateo County) and the Central Management Area (Pigeon Point, San Mateo County to Point Conception, Santa Barbara County). For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/groundfish.

1 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Stream Flow Enhancement Program Meeting, 10 a.m., via Skype or teleconference. For more information, please visit wcb.ca.gov.

2 — 150th Anniversary of the California Fish and Game Commission and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

4 — Recreational Ocean Salmon Season Opens from Pigeon Point to U.S./Mexico Border. For more information, please visit the ocean salmon webpage at 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.

11 — Recreational Ocean Salmon Season Opens from Horse Mountain to Pigeon Point. For more information, please visit the ocean salmon webpage at 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.

14 — CDFW-OSPR California Oil Spill Study and Evaluation Program Monthly Seminar Series, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., “Dry Stream Channel Assessment.” CDFW-OSPR scientist Daniel Orr will present some of his research regarding injury assessment of dry streams. Online attendance is free. To join via Skype go to meet.wildlife.ca.gov/bryand.duke/csgweop8. To join via phone dial (916) 210-1965, 94138#. For more information or to receive a calendar invite, please email Bryand Duke at bryand.duke@wildlife.ca.gov.

15 — 2020-21 Hunting Items on Sale. Hunters can purchase 2020-21 hunting licenses, tags, validations and apply for the annual Big Game Drawing. Items may be purchased online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales or by phone at (800) 565-1458. Sales transactions for the Big Game Drawing applications must be completed before midnight on June 2, 2020. Please contact a local CDFW license sales office for more information.

15 — Deadline to Submit Lobster Trap Loss Affidavits. Commercial lobster fishermen must submit an affidavit reporting trap loss for the 2019-2020 season. Forms can be found at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/filehandler.ashx?documentid=141218 and can be returned either by email to lobster@wildlife.ca.gov or by mail to 3883 Ruffin Road, San Diego, CA 92123.

15-16 — California Fish and Game Commission Meeting, time to be determined, teleconference/webinar only. For more information, please visit fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2020.

25 – General Trout Opener. The general trout season opens one hour before sunrise on many waters throughout the state – including all streams, lakes and reservoirs in Inyo and Mono counties, except those listed by name in the Special Regulations portion of the 2020-2021 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations. Anglers are advised to check specific area and water regulations and opening dates.

30 — Deadline to Report Spiny Lobster Report Cards. Divers and hoop netters who were issued report cards for spiny lobster must report either their harvest or effort by April 30, 2020. Report card holders who fail to return their Spiny Lobster Report Card or report their harvest online by the deadline will be assessed a $21.60 non-return fee when they purchase a spiny lobster report card for the following season. People may report online or mail their report card to the address printed on the report card. To report online, please visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/customersearch/begin.

turkey vulture receiving veterinary treatment for poisoning

CDFW Reminds Veterinarians and Pet Owners to Properly Dispose of Animal Remains

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reaching out to veterinarians and owners of pets and livestock to remind them of the importance of properly disposing of the remains of chemically euthanized animals. CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory has recently confirmed the fourth known incident of secondary pentobarbital poisoning in a turkey vulture from Marin County.

The other three Marin County incidents, dating back to 2014, also involved turkey vultures that were suffering from secondary poisoning after consuming the remains of animals that were euthanized with sodium pentobarbital. CDFW has confirmed similar cases of poisoning in Ventura County in 2017 and Shasta County in 2018, also involving turkey vultures. In 2017, a bald eagle was also poisoned by pentobarbital in Fresno County.

Sodium pentobarbital is commonly used to humanely euthanize domestic animals such as dogs and cats, horses, goats, cattle, poultry and other livestock. The drug is quickly distributed throughout the animals’ body. Secondary poisoning of wildlife occurs when the animal remains are disposed of improperly and scavengers feed on the animal exposing them to the euthanasia drug.

Pentobarbital poisoning of wildlife is entirely preventable. Law requires that animals chemically euthanized with pentobarbital be cremated or buried at least 3 to 4 feet deep to prevent exposing scavenging wildlife to the euthanasia drug. Leaving a euthanized animal unburied in a field or landfill will put wildlife scavengers at risk of poisoning. Proper disposal of animal remains is the responsibility of the animal owner and veterinarian administering the drug.

Wildlife that have ingested pentobarbital-contaminated animal remains may appear dead. They often have no reflex response and breathing may be barely detectible. If treated promptly, turkey vultures have a fair chance of survival. The most recent turkey vulture was successfully treated and released by wildlife rehabilitation staff at WildCare in San Rafael. Unfortunately, given that several turkey vultures may feed on the same animal remains, it is possible additional vultures and other scavengers may have been similarly affected but not recovered.

Incidents and information about possible sources of poisoning may be reported to the CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory by phone at (916) 358-2790, by email at WILab@wildlife.ca.gov or online via the CDFW website.

If grounded birds are observed, please contact your local wildlife rehabilitation center.

For more information, please see the USFWS Fact Sheet “Secondary Pentobarbital Poisoning of Wildlife.”

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Media Contacts:
Krysta Rogers, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 531-7647
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714
Alison Hermance, WildCare, (415) 453-1000, ext. 24

 

California ocean salmon catch

Delayed Opening of April 2020 Recreational Ocean Salmon Fishery for Much of the California Coast

California’s recreational salmon fishery will open in ocean waters on Saturday, April 4 in the Monterey management area, from Pigeon Point (37° 11’ 00” N. latitude) south to the U.S./Mexico border. In the Fort Bragg and San Francisco management areas, between Horse Mountain (40° 05’ 00” N. latitude) and Pigeon Point, the recreational salmon fishery will open on Saturday, April 11 rather than April 4. The Klamath Management Zone (Horse Mountain to the Oregon state line) will remain closed for the month of April. The remaining 2020 season dates will be finalized next month.

At its meeting this week in Rohnert Park the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) made the decision to open sections of the California coast on April 4 and April 11. The delayed opening will help managers achieve conservation goals for Klamath River fall Chinook, which are projected to return in low numbers this year, while providing anglers with opportunity to catch Sacramento River fall Chinook.

Traditionally, fishing in the Monterey area is better early in the season, prompting recreational fishing representatives to prioritize opening this area ahead of others on the California coast. Delaying the opener in areas to the north should allow for more fishing opportunity there later in the year, when catch rates are typically better.

Final season dates will be decided during the April 4-10 PFMC meeting in Vancouver, Washington. The public is invited to comment on the PFMC’s season proposals at that meeting or at a hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24 at the Red Lion Hotel, 1929 Fourth St. in Eureka. Comments can also be submitted through the PFMC website at www.pcouncil.org.

In April, the minimum size limit in the Fort Bragg management area is 20 inches total length. In the San Francisco and Monterey management areas, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length.

Anglers are advised to check for updated information when planning a salmon fishing trip. Season dates, bag/possession limit information and gear restrictions can be found on CDFW’s ocean salmon web page at: wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon. Public notification of any in-season change to conform state regulations to federal regulations is made through the National Marine Fisheries Service ocean salmon hotline at (800) 662-9825.

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Media Contacts:
Pete McHugh, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2870

Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478

Helicopter Elk Surveys to Be Conducted in Mendocino County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is planning to conduct helicopter surveys of elk in Mendocino County on March 12, 13, 14 and 15.

Aerial surveying is a common technique used by wildlife biologists to count deer, elk, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep populations throughout the state.

Many of the elk living in Mendocino County are found on private property, which means residents, tourists and motorists passing through the area may notice low-flying helicopters surveying for elk over private property during these days.

For additional information regarding the Mendocino elk helicopter surveys, please contact Angela Moran at (707) 445-5363.

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Media Contacts:
Angela Moran, CDFW Northern Region, (707) 445-5363
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908