Category Archives: waterfowl

Landowners Invited to Participate in California Waterfowl Habitat Program

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications from landowners for the California Waterfowl Habitat Program (CWHP). 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.

In response to the loss of wetland habitat in California, the Legislature passed the California Waterfowl Habitat Preservation Act in 1987. This Act established the CWHP, a multi-faceted wetland incentive program designed to improve habitat conditions for waterfowl on private lands. Consistent with its primary waterfowl habitat objectives, the program also endeavors to enhance habitat for shorebirds, wading birds and other wetland-dependent species. The program has remained very popular with existing enrollees, but lack of adequate funding has limited CDFW’s ability to enroll new properties since the mid-2000s. The passing of Proposition 68 in 2018 approved $10 million in new funding for the program.

The program is designed to contribute to large-scale conservation objectives by helping private landowners overcome many of the challenges associated with wetland management in California. Approximately two-thirds of the managed wetlands in the Central Valley are privately owned, and many of these landowners are not trained in the science, policy or regulation of wetland management. In addition to guidance offered by CDFW biologists, landowners also receive an incentive payment following the successful implementation of work plans. The program offers $30 per acre for the management of seasonal wetlands ($60/acre in the Tulare basin) and $60 per acre for the management of semi-permanent wetlands statewide.

“Partnerships with private landowners, such as those developed through the California Waterfowl Habitat Program, are critical to ensuring our waterfowl and other wetland dependent species habitat objectives are met,” said CDFW’s Comprehensive Wetland Habitat Program Coordinator, Brian Olson. “We truly value the relationships developed with private landowners, and appreciate their efforts in helping provide for the needs of California’s fish and wildlife.”

Landowners have until Aug. 30 to apply. For more information on the program, or to submit an application, please visitwww.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/cwhp/private-lands-programs/waterfowl-habitat.

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Media Contacts: 
Brian Olson, CDFW Comprehensive Wetland Habitat Program, (916) 445-3486 
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Volunteers Needed for Maintenance Day at Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area has scheduled a cleanup and hunting blind maintenance day on Saturday, Aug. 17 from 7 a.m. to noon. The wildlife area consists of Little Dry Creek and Llano Seco in Butte County and Howard Slough in Glenn County.

At last year’s event, wildlife area staff and approximately 20 volunteers cleaned out and brushed up hunting blinds and posted field markers in preparation for the upcoming waterfowl season. Activities this year will include cleaning out and brushing up hunting blinds, installing and painting area signage, and improving mobility-impaired hunting blinds. Volunteers should bring gloves, work boots and sunscreen. Water and insect repellent will be provided, as will a barbecue lunch hosted by the California Waterfowl Association.

Volunteers will meet at 7 a.m. at the wildlife area headquarters located at Howard Slough Wildlife Area, 9256 Highway 162, Butte City (95920). For more information, please call (530) 982-2169.

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Media Contacts:
Tim Hermansen, Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area, (530) 982-2169
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

CDFW to Hold Public Outreach Meeting on Central Region Wildlife Areas

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will host a public outreach meeting on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Los Banos regarding Central Region Type A wildlife areas. CDFW will take comments and recommendations and provide updates on habitat conditions, availability of water for wetlands and possible impacts to hunter access on these public lands.

State wildlife areas to be discussed include Mendota, Los Banos, Volta and North Grasslands, including the Salt Slough, China Island, Gadwall, Widell/Ramaciotti and Mud Slough units. Federal refuge personnel will also be available to address the Merced National Wildlife Refuge, including the Lone Tree Unit and the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, including the Kesterson, Blue Goose, East and West Bear Creek and Freitas units. The Grassland Water District will make a short presentation on refuge water supply.

The meeting will take place from 9 a.m. to noon at the Grassland Environmental Education Center located at 18110 W. Henry Miller Road in Los Banos. Please email Sean Allen if you are planning to attend so enough seating and refreshments can be arranged.

CDFW annually provides an opportunity for licensed hunters to comment and make recommendations on public hunting programs, including anticipated habitat conditions in the hunting areas on Type A wildlife areas through public meetings and outreach.

CDFW’s Central Region encompasses 12 counties in Central California and is one of seven CDFW regions in the state.

Nebraska Artist Wins 2019 California Duck Stamp Art Contest

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A painting of northern pintails by Frank Dolphens, Jr. of Omaha, Neb. has been chosen as the winner of the 2019 California Duck Stamp Art Contest. The image will be the official design for the 2019-2020 stamp.

The contest judges praised the anatomical accuracy of Dolphens’s painting, as well as the accuracy of the habitat. They complimented the excellent body shape and the contrast between the subjects and the background, which seems to make the pintails “pop” off the canvas. The judges also appreciated the three-bird composition and the fact that both sexes were represented.

“I have always admired the northern pintail,” said Dolphens. “I am inspired by their mysticism and their colors and was anxious to enter this year’s contest to portray these characteristics in the painting. I wanted to present the pintails in a grouping to show the strength of their colors in a background setting that enhanced their features.”

Artists from around the country submitted entries for the contest, sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). John Nelson Harris of Groveland, Fla., placed second, Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Ind., placed third and Roberta Baer of Redding received honorable mention.

The top four paintings will be displayed at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s 49th Annual Classic Wildlife Art Festival, which is scheduled July 20-21 in Sacramento.

Since 1971, the California Duck Stamp Program’s annual contest has attracted top wildlife artists from around the country. The contest is traditionally open to artists from all 50 states in order to ensure a wide pool of submissions. All proceeds generated from stamp sales go directly to waterfowl conservation projects throughout California.

In the past, hunters were required to purchase and affix the stamp to their hunting licenses. Today, hunters are no longer required to carry the stamps because California’s modern licensing system prints proof of additional fees paid directly onto the license. However, CDFW still produces the stamps, which can be requested on CDFW’s website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps.

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

Melanie Weaver, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3717

CDFW Completes 2019 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed its annual waterfowl breeding population survey. Mallards, gadwall and cinnamon teal comprised 85 percent of ducks observed. The survey results included the following:

  • Total breeding ducks in the survey area decreased 14 percent from 2018 and are 14 percent below the long-term average.
  • Mallards – which were the most abundant species of ducks surveyed – decreased 12 percent from 2018 and are 28 percent below the long-term average.
  • Gadwalls increased eight percent from 2018 and are 29 percent above long-term average.
  • Cinnamon teal decreased 36 percent from 2018 and are 17 percent above long-term average.

According to Dan Skalos, a CDFW waterfowl program biologist, the decline was disappointing, given near-normal precipitation levels over the past two years. “It would have been nice to see higher numbers in the survey, but there may be some increases still ahead,” Skalos said. “The abundant rainfall we saw in May likely led to a longer nesting season and should contribute to better production going forward.”

Skalos also noted that while local waterfowl production should be better than the past few years, the decrease in wildlife-friendly agriculture (e.g. wheat and other annual crops that provide important nesting cover) in the Central Valley will limit long-term improvement of populations.

CDFW biologists and warden pilots have conducted this annual survey using fixed-wing aircraft since 1948. The population estimates are for the surveyed areas only, which include the majority of the suitable duck nesting habitat in the state. Surveyed areas include wetland and agricultural areas in northeastern California, throughout the Central Valley, the Suisun Marsh and some coastal valleys.

The 2019 California Survey was flown April 22-26 in the Central Valley and May 7-9 in northeastern California. Some of the scheduled transects in the northeastern stratum were not flown due to high winds, but the survey was 100 percent complete in the Central Valley and 95 percent complete in the northeast, for a total survey effort of 99 percent.

The full Breeding Population Survey Report can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/birds/waterfowl.

The majority of California’s wintering duck population originates from breeding areas surveyed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Alaska and Canada. Those survey results should be available in early August. CDFW survey information, along with similar data from other Pacific Flyway states, is used by the USFWS and the Pacific Flyway Council when setting hunting regulations for the Pacific Flyway states, including California.

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Media Contacts:
Dan Skalos, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3763
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988