Category Archives: Wildlife

CDFW Awards $39.7 Million for Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration and Protection Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 39 projects to receive funding from its Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1) Restoration Grant Programs.

The awards, totaling $39.7 million, were made under CDFW’s 2017 Proposition 1 Restoration Grant Programs Solicitation (the third of 10 planned annual grant cycles). This includes approximately $31.7 million awarded through the Watershed Restoration Grant Program to projects of statewide importance outside of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and approximately $8 million awarded through the Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program to projects that directly benefit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The awarded projects represent priorities outlined in the 2017 Solicitation, as well as the California Water Action Plan.

“This round of grants expands the frontier of our Proposition 1 programs to critical watersheds, from as far north as Del Norte County to the Tijuana River watershed in San Diego County,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “This is an important milestone and another step forward in our strategic effort to ensure statewide priorties are addressed through this funding source.”

Projects approved for funding through the Watershed Restoration Grant Program include:

Implementation Projects:

  • Butte Creek Diversion 55 Fish Screen Project – Implementation ($209,633 to Family Water Alliance, Inc.);
  • Deer Creek Irrigation District Dam Fish Passage Improvement Project ($2,198,447 to Trout Unlimited);
  • Dennett Dam Removal ($509,520 to Tuolumne River Trust);
  • Fish Passage and Off-Channel Habitat Restoration at Roy’s Pools ($2,147,997 to Salmon Protection and Watershed Network);
  • Floodplain and Instream Habitat Restoration on San Geronimo Creek ($767,739 to Salmon Protection and Watershed Network);
  • GHMWC Fish Screen Project – Implementation ($1,159,183 to Family Water Alliance, Inc.);
  • Lagunita Diversion Dam Removal Project ($1,226,537 to Leland Stanford Jr. University);
  • Little Shasta Fish Passage Project ($474,114 to California Trout, Inc.);
  • Lower Arroyo Burro Open Space Restoration ($550,000 to City of Santa Barbara);
  • Mill-Shackleford Creek Fish Passage Restoration Project ($522,949 to California Trout, Inc.);
  • North San Diego County Multi-Watershed Enhancement & Restoration for Resiliency ($1,106,136 to San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy);

Planning Projects:

  • Advancing Meadow Restoration in the Truckee and American River Watersheds ($632,098 to Truckee River Watershed Council);
  • Atascadero Subwatershed Coho Habitat Assessment ($114,429 to Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District);
  • Bolsa Chica Lowlands Restoration Project: Sustainability Alternatives Planning Document ($282,492 to Bolsa Chica Land Trust);
  • Burdell Unit Tidal Restoration Feasibility Study ($394,452 to Ducks Unlimited, Inc.);
  • Cook and Butcher Fish Passage and Fish Screen Planning Project ($418,618 to Western Shasta Resource Conservation District);
  • Morrison Creek: Coho Salmon Passage and Habitat Enhancement Planning ($203,577 to Smith River Alliance);
  • Napa River Restoration Oakville to Oak Knoll Design-Group B and D ($750,000 to Napa County);
  • Paynes Creek BWU Fish Passage Assessment and Restoration Project ($345,885 to Trout Unlimited);
  • Restoring Tásmam Kojóm – Big Meadow ($95,130 to Maidu Summit Consortium and Conservancy);
  • Rose Valley Lakes System Alternatives Analysis and Feasibility Study ($194,708 to California Trout, Inc.);
  • Sentenac Cienega Ecosystem Restoration ($552,898 to California Department of Parks and Recreation);
  • TRVRP Brown Fill Restoration Project ($1,328,000 to County of San Diego);
  • Upper Sonoma Creek Habitat Restoration Plan and Demonstration Project Design ($335,738 to Sonoma Ecology Center);

Acquisition Projects:

  • Arcata Community Forest/Humboldt State University- Jacoby Creek Forest Expansion ($1,754,000 to City of Arcata);
  • Hornitos Ranch Conservation Easement Acquisition Project ($3,000,000 to Sierra Foothill Conservancy);
  • Mailliard Navarro and Garcia Rivers Headwaters Forest Project ($1,000,000 to Save the Redwoods League);
  • Mendonca Dairy Acquisition ($3,696,677 to River Partners);
  • Mt. Shasta Headwaters: Soda Springs Conservation Easement ($500,000 to Pacific Forest Trust);
  • Sierra Valley Wetlands/Wet Meadows Conservation Project ($1,723,560 to Feather River Land Trust);
  • Tijuana River Watershed Protection Project ($1,872,408 to The Trust for Public Land); and
  • Walker-Hearne Ranch Acquisition Project ($1,700,000 to Ventura Hillsides Conservancy).

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

Scientific Studies:

  • A next-generation model of juvenile salmon migration through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ($1,730,903 to University of California Santa Cruz, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology);
  • Application of cutting-edge tools to retrospectively evaluate habitat suitability and flow effects for Longfin Smelt ($604,792 to University of California Davis, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology);
  • Defining the fundamental niche of Longfin Smelt – Spirinchus thaleichthys ($1,597,446 to Regents of the University of California Davis, Office of Research Sponsored Programs);
  • Floodplains, Tidal Wetlands and the Dark Food web: determining heterotrophic carbon contribution to higher level consumers ($636,394 to University of California Davis Center for Watershed Sciences);
  • Impacts of climate change on pesticide bioavailability and sublethal effects on juvenile benefits of floodplain rearing ($963,408 to Regents of the University of California Riverside, Department of Environmental Sciences);
  • Interior Delta Export Effects Study ($1,349,309 to California Department of Water Resources); and
  • Juvenile salmon distribution, abundance, and growth in restored and relict Delta marsh habitats ($1,036,412 to California Department of Water Resources).

General information about CDFW’s Proposition 1 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 the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act 2014 (Proposition 1) bond funds, a portion of which are allocated annually through the California State Budget Act. More information about Proposition 1 can be found here.

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Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, CDFW Watershed Restoration Grants Branch, (916) 445-1285
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

 

California Elk Plan Draft Now Available for Public Comment

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released a draft of the Statewide Elk Conservation and Management Plan for public review and comment. The plan provides guidance and direction to help set priorities for elk management efforts statewide.

“This draft plan is an important milestone for many of our wildlife program staff, and we’re pleased to be one step closer to completion,” said CDFW Wildlife Branch Chief Kari Lewis. “Public feedback is a critical part of shaping this effort, which emphasizes the sharing of resources and collaboration with all parties interested in elk and elk management. These are essential for effective management of California’s elk populations.”

The overarching plan addresses historical and current geographic range, habitat conditions and trends, and major factors affecting Roosevelt, Rocky Mountain and tule elk in California. The plan also includes subsections that are specific to each of the 22 Elk Management Units (EMUs) in California. These areas collectively comprise the currently known distribution of elk in California. Each subsection includes a description of the EMU and information about elk distribution and abundance, management goals, objectives and actions, herd viability and a summary of annual harvests in that unit.

The plan also outlines management actions that emphasize maintenance and improvement of habitat conditions on both public and private land.

All public comments should be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. Comments may be submitted online at ElkManagementPlan@wildlife.ca.gov, or can be mailed to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Wildlife Branch, Attn: Joe Hobbs
1812 Ninth St.
Sacramento, CA  95811

Comments received by the deadline will be reviewed by CDFW, and appropriate changes will be incorporated into the final document prior to its anticipated release in early 2018.

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Media Contacts:
Joe Hobbs, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-9992
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 212-7352

 

2017 Youth Essay Contest Offers Chance To Earn Lifetime Hunting License

 

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the California Wildlife Officers Foundation are again co-sponsoring the annual “Passing on the Tradition” essay contest for young hunters.

The California Wildlife Officers Foundation will recognize one grand-prize winner with a lifetime California hunting license that is valued at more than $600. Second and third place winners will also be selected and prize packages will be awarded.

This year’s contest invites entrants to share how hunting has influenced or affected their lives.

“Youth hunters learn invaluable lessons about safety, ethics and conservation when they team with their mentors,” said CDFW Hunter Education Program Administrator Capt. Robert Pelzman. “This year’s essay topic promises to provide plenty of heartfelt examples of how their varied experiences in the field have had a beneficial impact on their individual lives.”

The contest is open to all junior hunting license holders, as well as youths under 18 who have earned a hunter education certificate. Entrants should submit an essay of 500 words or less.

Entries should be submitted via email to Lt. John Nores at john.nores@wildlife.ca.gov and must be received on or before Friday, Dec. 15 at 5 p.m. On their essay, applicants must also provide their date of birth, place of residence and a contact telephone number and email address.

Essays will be reviewed and scored by CDFW wildlife officers and other CDFW representatives. The winners will then be notified by telephone. For additional information, please contact Lt. John Nores at (408) 591-5174.

AWARD CEREMONY: The grand prize will be awarded during a special ceremony at the International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE) show scheduled in Sacramento on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. The contest winner must be present and accompanied by a parent or guardian.

For information on becoming a Hunter Education Instructor to help “Pass on the Tradition” to others, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunter-education.

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Media Contacts:
Lt. John Nores, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (408) 591-5174
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

Turkey Vultures Poisoned by Euthanasia Drugs

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has confirmed that several turkey vultures have been poisoned from the veterinary euthanasia drug pentobarbital in the Simi Valley area of Ventura County.

Seven turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) were found dead or impaired in Simi Valley in October. Two of these were successfully rehabilitated by the Ojai Raptor Center, but the other five died. Pentobarbital exposure was confirmed in the digestive system of one of the dead turkey vultures. The source of the exposure remains unknown.

Pentobarbital is a drug used by veterinarians to euthanize companion animals, livestock and horses. If the remains of animals euthanized with pentobarbital are not properly disposed of after death, scavenging wildlife – such as turkey vultures and eagles – can be poisoned. Veterinarians and animal owners are responsible for disposing of animal remains properly by legal methods such as cremation or deep burial.

Turkey vultures are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and California Fish and Game Code. Improperly disposed-of euthanized remains are a danger to all scavenging wildlife.

Members of the veterinary and livestock communities are asked to share this information with colleagues in an effort to prevent further incidents.

CDFW also asks the public to pay attention to and report grounded turkey vultures and other raptors and scavengers.

Pentobarbital-poisoned birds appear to be dead. They have no reflex response and breathing can barely be detected. The birds appear intact, without wounds or obvious trauma. Anyone finding a comatose vulture should report the finding to CDFW at 916-358-2954.

Brown and black turkey vulture with pinkish-red face on the stub of a tree limb, seen from the back
Turkey vulture on the stub of a tree limb. USFWS photos

Media Contacts:
Stella McMillin,  CDFW Wildlife Investigations Lab, (916) 358-2954
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

 

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