Category Archives: Water

CDFW Honors Wildlife Officer of the Year

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Division has selected Warden Anastasia Norris as the 2019 Wildlife Officer of the Year.

“Warden Norris has spent plenty of time doing traditional wildlife law enforcement work, but her expertise in oil spill investigations and response is where she has shined over the course of her career,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “Investigations involving habitat damage from oil and hazardous materials spills are integral to the Law Enforcement Division’s mission. Warden Norris is one of the finest in this regard.”

Warden Norris received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Sciences from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1998 and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Oklahoma in 2001. She graduated as part of Academy Class 53 at Butte College in 2009 and began her career as a wildlife officer in Long Beach, where she gained expertise in marine enforcement and commercial fishing.

She soon transferred to the CDFW Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR), where she has excelled as the State On-Scene Coordinator and/or lead investigator for 20 complicated oil and hazardous materials spills. In 2015, Norris was designated the lead investigator on the Plains All-American/Refugio spill in Santa Barbara County, one of the largest and most detrimental oil spills to hit California’s coast in the last 50 years.

The Refugio oil spill began on May 19, 2015. Norris managed and coordinated the evidence and documentation efforts throughout the investigation, including embarking upon a cross-country drive to ensure chain-of-custody and security of a seized section of pipeline in Ohio. She interviewed dozens of witnesses during the investigation. The final 118-page report included support documentation that was an additional 13 inches thick. Norris also provided support for the prosecution and was in court every day of the almost four-month duration of the trial. On Sept. 7, 2018, guilty verdicts were reached on nine counts, including eight misdemeanors and one felony. Even while the Refugio investigation was dominating her workload, Norris continued to respond to numerous other petroleum spills.

“Warden Norris is the force behind major investigations involving water pollution and numerous environmental statutes and regulations affecting our great state’s waterways and ocean environment,” said Brett Morris, Supervising Deputy Attorney General of the California Attorney General’s Office, which prosecuted the Refugio case. “While away from her assigned beat and her family for over three months, Warden Norris successfully guided to conviction the largest criminal prosecution of corporate water polluters in Santa Barbara County’s history.”

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

 

CDFW Stocks More Than 1.45 Million Fingerling Landlocked Salmon

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently completed its 2019 stocking of fingerling Kokanee and landlocked Chinook Salmon, planting more than 1.45 million of the popular sport fish into inland waters where they will provide recreational angling opportunities in two to three years after growing to catchable size.

This year’s stocking consisted of releasing 792,942 fingerling Kokanee Salmon into 16 waters and 672,734 sterile, fingerling Chinook salmon into eight waters. Additional allotments of the sterile – or “triploid” – Chinook Salmon are scheduled to be released later this fall into northern California’s Lake Oroville, Lake Shasta and Trinity Lake.

The 2- to 4-inch fish are stocked into landlocked, inland waters to provide a diverse fishing experience where natural reproduction is insufficient to provide a high-quality angling experience. Anglers can expect excellent opportunities in these waters in two to three years when these fingerlings reach catchable size. Stocking fingerling-sized fish is a very cost-effective way to maintain these popular, inland recreational fisheries.

After a record Kokanee egg take in 2018, CDFW had an additional number of Kokanee fingerlings available for release this year. These fish were surplus to stocking goals. To provide and enhance recreational opportunities, CDFW released these additional Kokanee into Lake Shasta in Shasta County, where anglers can expect a new fishing opportunity in the next few years. Kokanee Salmon are the landlocked version of the Sockeye Salmon native to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Instead of migrating to the ocean, the landlocked Kokanee often are able to reproduce naturally in feeder streams, inlets and along gravel shoreline in the lakes where they are stocked. Like all Pacific salmon, Kokanee die after spawning.

Monitoring and evaluations of these fisheries are vital to providing a balance between numbers of fish and their average size. Stocking too many fish may provide an abundance of fish, but not produce fish of a desirable size. To evaluate stocking efforts, CDFW has begun marking stocked Kokanee Salmon prior to their release. In 2018, CDFW marked Kokanee that were released into Stampede Reservoir in Sierra County. In 2019, marked Kokanee were released into New Melones Reservoir in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties. All fish were marked with an adipose fin clip for easy identification and to distinguish from naturally spawned fish.

To assist in these evaluations, CDFW has partnered with the California Inland Fisheries Foundation, Inc. (CIFFI) and Kokanee Power (KP) to develop an online angler survey. The Kokanee & Inland Chinook Anglers Survey allows anglers to provide catch and effort data from any device with internet connectivity. Anglers are asked to report their effort and catch, both the number kept and released by size class, for each angling day. This data will assist fisheries managers in evaluating management goals for these fisheries.

CDFW would like to thank volunteers from CIFFI and KP for their continued cooperation assisting with the Landlocked Salmon Program. The careful planning, coordination and funding provided by these two organizations have contributed to the success of this program.

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Media Contacts:
Kyle Murphy, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 375-5483

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Draft California Waterfowl Habitat Program Proposal Solicitation Notice Available for Public Comment

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting public comment pertaining to a Draft Proposal Solicitation Notice (PSN) for the California Waterfowl Habitat Program (CWHP). The passing of Proposition 68 in June of 2018 approved $10 million in funding for the program.

Created by the California Waterfowl Habitat Preservation Act in 1987, the CWHP provides technical guidance and economic incentives to private landowners who agree to manage their properties in accordance with a wetland management plan developed cooperatively by CDFW biologists and participating landowners. These plans are designed to contribute to large-scale conservation objectives identified by the Central Valley Joint Venture, a coalition of 21 state and federal agencies and private conservation organizations that directs efforts to provide for the habitat needs of migrating and resident birds in the Central Valley.

CDFW will be holding a public meeting to provide information about the priorities and requirements of the 2019 CWHP PSN, and gather public input and comments that will help finalize the solicitation. The meeting will be held July 3, 2019 from 10 a.m. to noon at the CDFW Wildlife Branch second floor conference room, 1812 Ninth St., Sacramento, Calif. 95811. This facility is wheelchair accessible.

Members of the public may also submit comments in writing to cwhp@wildlife.ca.gov. All comments received by 5 p.m. on July 21, 2019 will be considered by staff prior to finalizing the solicitation.

To view the Draft 2019 CWHP PSN, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/cwhp/private-lands-programs/waterfowl-habitat.

For additional information, please email cwhp@wildlife.ca.gov or call (916) 445-3486.

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Media Contacts:
Brian Olson, CDFW Wetland Habitat Program, (916) 445-3486

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

CDFW Awarded $8.5 Million to Expand Nutria Eradication Operations; Nutria Confirmed in Stockton, Heart of the Delta

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today was awarded $8.5 million in funding over three years by the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy to expand its nutria eradication operations.

The funding was awarded in a competitive process as part of the Delta Conservancy’s Proposition 1 Ecosystem Restoration and Water Quality Grant Program. The money complements state funding anticipated in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2019-20 budget, which together will establish a dedicated Nutria Eradication Program within CDFW and vastly expand field operations across the entire area of infestation.

The grant funding represents the second, significant award from the Delta Conservancy. In 2018, the Delta Conservancy awarded CDFW $1.2 million over three years that, along with grants from the Wildlife Conservation Board and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s State Wildlife Grant Program, largely enabled CDFW’s eradication efforts to get off the ground.

To date, CDFW has prioritized detection and eradication efforts in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in order to limit the invasive rodents’ spread and impact on California’s most important water resource and the heart of the state’s water delivery and infrastructure.

Last week, CDFW confirmed via trail camera video the first nutria detected in Stockton. This is the northernmost nutria detected to date and is approximately 16 river miles north of the nearest known nutria population near Manteca, where CDFW and its partners have been actively trapping. The Stockton detection is within the heart of the Delta. CDFW immediately responded with trapping in the area, redirecting additional resources to the Delta, and surveying for upstream source populations.

Since first discovering nutria in Merced County in 2017, CDFW and its partner agencies have taken or confirmed the take of 510 nutria in five counties – 430 from Merced County, 65 from San Joaquin County, 12 from Stanislaus County, two from Mariposa County and one from Fresno County. Nutria have also been confirmed in Tuolumne County.

Nutria, which are native to South America, have established populations in more than a dozen states, including Oregon, Washington, Texas, Louisiana, and the Delmarva Peninsula region of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

In California, nutria pose a significant threat as an agricultural pest, a destroyer of critical wetlands needed by native wildlife, and a public safety risk as their destructive burrowing jeopardizes the state’s water delivery and flood control infrastructure. CDFW is working with both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Food and Agriculture to eradicate nutria from the state.

Any suspected nutria sightings should be reported immediately to CDFW’s toll-free public reporting hotline at (866) 440-9530. The e-mail address to report sightings is invasives@wildlife.ca.gov. CDFW’s nutria eradication webpage at wildlife.ca.gov/nutria offers references for identifying nutria and distinguishing nutria from other similar aquatic animals.

Media Contact:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

CDFW Awards $48.5 Million for Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration, Protection and Scientific Study Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 38 projects to receive funding for multi-benefit ecosystem restoration and protection projects under its Proposition 1 and Proposition 68 grant programs.

The awards, totaling $48.5 million, were made under two separate solicitations for projects focused in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and watersheds statewide.

CDFW participated in a joint solicitation in 2018 with the Delta Science Program and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for scientific studies projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Through this effort, CDFW awarded 11 projects a total of $7.3 million through its Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Proposition 1 Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program.

CDFW conducted a second solicitation in 2018 with funding available from both Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Proposition 1 and Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Proposition 68 funding, resulting in the award of $41.2 million to 27 projects statewide, outside of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Of the $41.2 million, approximately $23.9 million was awarded through the Proposition 1 Watershed Restoration Grant Program. Approximately $17.3 million was awarded through the Proposition 68 grant program which includes three separate focuses: Rivers and Streams, Southern California Steelhead and Habitat Improvement Projects.

“This year represents new opportunities for important projects getting off the ground, including long-planned efforts to support recovery of critical species and respond to new ecological challenges,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “We look forward to continuing statewide restoration and protection efforts of our state’s watersheds.”

The awarded projects represent priorities outlined in the two solicitations, as well as the California Water Action Plan, State Wildlife Action Plan, Sacramento Valley Salmon Resiliency Strategy, Delta Plan, California EcoRestore, Safeguarding California Plan, the California Biodiversity Initiative and the fulfillment of CDFW’s mission. This year marks CDFW’s first allocation of Proposition 68 funding and the fifth of 10 planned annual allocations of Proposition 1 funding.

Projects approved for funding through the Proposition 1 Watershed Restoration Grant Program and Proposition 68 grant programs include:

Acquisition Projects:

  • Van Arken Community Forest Project ($1,861,312 to Sanctuary Forest)
  • Scott Ranch Acquisition, Napa County ($1,000,000 to Land Trust of Napa County)
  • Acquisition and Monitoring Program for Critical Fish and Wildlife Habitat in and Around the Angelo Coast Range Reserve, Upper South Fork Eel River ($806,022 to Angelo Coast Range Reserve, University of California, Berkeley)
  • Arcata Community Forest (Jacoby Creek Tract) Expansion – Swaner 114 acres ($760,300 to City of Arcata)
  • Sierra Valley Mountain Meadow Conservation Project ($648,077 to Feather River Land Trust)
  • Mendocino Pygmy Forest Protection Project ($347,843 to Mendocino Land Trust)

Implementation Projects:

  • Santa Ana Bridge Replacement – a Component of the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project ($13,426,938 to Ventura County Watershed Protection District)
  • Rim Fire Watershed Health Improvement Project ($3,641,211 to Tuolumne River Trust)
  • Oroville Wildlife Area Flood Stage Reduction and Restoration Project ($3,139,136 to Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency)
  • Hotelling Gulch Aquatic Restoration ($2,038,942 to Salmon River Restoration Council)
  • Oroville Wildlife Area Flood Stage Reduction and Restoration Project – New Vegetation Plantings ($1,716,847 to Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency)
  • Jameson Creek Fish Passage Improvement and Restoration Project ($1,704,990 to City of Fortuna)
  • Big Canyon Habitat Restoration and Adaptation Project, Phase II ($1,196,444 to Newport Bay Conservancy)
  • Martin Slough Enhancement ($1,106,982 to California State Coastal Conservancy)
  • Post-Fire Restoration of Coast Range Headwaters for Multiple Benefits at Pepperwood Preserve ($838,135 to Pepperwood Foundation)
  • Lagunitas Creek Floodplain Restoration for Coho Recovery, Phase II ($593,040 to Salmon Protection and Watershed Network)

Planning Projects:

  • Bellota Fish Screen and Passage Improvement Project ($1,952,559 to Stockton East Water District)
  • Harvey Diversion Fish Passage Restoration 100% Designs ($1,019,271 to California Trout)
  • Cannibal Island Restoration Intermediate Designs ($802,886 to California Trout)
    Lower San Luis Obispo Creek Fish Passage Design and Habitat Improvement Project ($459,798 to Central Coast Salmon Enhancement)
  • Wildlife Corridor at Liberty Canyon ($400,000 to National Wildlife Federation)
  • Restoring the Deer Creek Headwaters at Childs Meadow ($374,588 to Point Blue Conservation Science)
  • Elk Creek Restoration Feasibility Study ($347,204 to Smith River Alliance)
    Rowdy Creek and Dominie Creek Fish Passage Improvement Planning Project ($273,146 to Tolowa Dee-ni Nation)
  • Advancing Restoration Strategies for Hydrologic Connectivity in Williams Creek ($268,862 to Humboldt County Resource Conservation District)
  • Scott Creek Lagoon and Marsh Restoration ($237,690 to Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission)
  • Restoration planning at the Sespe Cienega in Fillmore ($237,570 to Santa Clara River Conservancy)

Projects approved for funding through the Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program include:

Scientific Studies:

  • Reconnecting Delta food webs: evaluating the influence of tidal marsh restoration on energy flow and prey availability for native fishes ($1,107,041 to State Water Contractors)
  • Quantifying genetic and epigenetic variation in Delta smelt that may enable adaptation to future environments ($934,616 to University of California, Davis)
  • Effects of Multiple Environmental Stressors on Ecological Performance of Early Life Stage Sturgeon ($957,427 to University of California, Davis)
  • Monitoring and Modeling Pathogen Exposure in Salmon Migrating to the Delta ($847,041 to University of California, Santa Cruz)
  • Delta Wetlands and Resilience: blue carbon and marsh accretion ($819,998 to San Francisco Estuary Institute)
  • Enhancing predictive capability for phytoplankton response to natural and operational induced variability of phytoplankton blooming in the Delta. ($784,970 to San Francisco State University)
  • Quantifying Biogeochemical Processes through Transport Modeling: Pilot Application in the Cache Slough Complex ($570,602 to University of California, Davis)
  • Developing an eDNA metabarcoding protocol to improve fish and mussel monitoring in the San Francisco Estuary ($419,742 to University of California, Davis)
  • The role of wetlands in pelagic food webs: metagenomics reveals how wetland plant detritus may promote zooplankton growth and survival ($399,171 to University of California, Davis)
  • Trade-offs and Co-benefits of Landscape Change Scenarios on Human and Bird Communities in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta ($248,077 to Point Blue Conservation Science)
  • Developing a new molecular isotopic tool to examine Delta food webs ($211,907 to University of California, Santa Cruz)

General information about CDFW’s Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 Restoration Grant Programs, as well as a schedule of locations and dates for workshops, once available, can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/grants.

Funding for these projects comes from Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 bond funds, a portion of which are allocated annually through the California State Budget Act. More information about Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 is on the California Natural Resources Agency website.

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Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, CDFW Watershed Restoration Grant Branch, (916) 445-1285
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988