Category Archives: Wildlife

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

Shikar-Safari Club International Honors CDFW Assistant Chief John Baker as Wildlife Officer of the Year

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is pleased to announce that Assistant Chief John Baker has been selected as the 2018 Shikar-Safari Club International Wildlife Officer of the Year. Asst. Chief Baker, who began his wildlife career as a student assistant with the CDFW Law Enforcement Division, has served the people of California and its incredible natural resources for over 30 years. He has distinguished himself through his successful enforcement work, commitment to public service, progressive thinking and strong leadership skills.

Upon completion of the Wildlife Officer Academy in 1992, Warden Baker started his long career with a field assignment in Santa Barbara County, eventually moving into an assignment in the San Joaquin Valley. Over the years, he has demonstrated exceptional investigation skills in traditional poaching cases, but also the more complicated natural resource related crimes such as pollution and water theft. Another one of his career-long projects has been leading the transition from handwritten to electronic recordkeeping by field officers statewide. The data generated by those electronic records has helped the Law Enforcement Division secure and defend overtime allotments, justify new positions and position movements and answer countless questions from legislators and policymakers about poaching and pollution trends.

In the mid-2000s, Asst. Chief Baker found that CDFW was spending more and more time doing law enforcement work related to illegal cannabis cultivation with allied law enforcement agencies. While allied agencies’ focus was most often on the plants themselves, Asst. Chief Baker recognized the need to allocate time and resources to combating other problems associated with cannabis cultivation – poaching, pollution, habitat destruction and water theft. Investigation and prosecution of those environmental crimes resonated well with the public, and some of that early work set the stage to transition into the broader range of illegal cannabis cultivation enforcement work done today.

Several years ago, Asst. Chief Baker realized there was a need for greater public outreach to the Hmong community of the San Joaquin Valley. He participated in a series of radio interviews  broadcast to primarily Hmong listeners to welcome those community members to a lifetime of hunting and fishing as a recreation and as a way to feed their families. As part of that effort, he helped explain what is required to have a successful hunting or fishing trip and stay in compliance with the law.

Another significant accomplishment by Asst. Chief Baker is his commitment to the annual Battle of the Badges blood drive. The friendly competition pits law enforcement against firefighters to see who can donate the most blood, a precious resource to the community. Asst. Chief Baker is there every year rolling up his sleeves to take part himself and to inspire others to do the same.

Shikar-Safari was founded in 1952 as a hunting organization but quickly recognized its potential to effect meaningful change in the area of wildlife conservation. Funds raised by the Shikar-Safari Club International Foundation are used to support various conservation projects in the United States and throughout the world.

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

 

California Black Bears are Back in Action: Stash Food and Trash

California’s black bears are waking up hungry from their winter downtime. To help minimize unwanted bear foraging behavior, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding those living in or visiting bear country to store food and dispose of garbage properly.

Black bears typically prefer remote mountainous areas. However, as more people frequent or live in natural bear habitat, the abundance of food and garbage associated with human activities is a temptation hungry bears find hard to resist.

“Over the years, we have seen bear behavior change significantly in areas where more people live and recreate in bear habitat,” said Vicky Monroe, CDFW’s Conflict Programs Coordinator. “Beginning with spring and into late fall, we receive a steady stream of calls from the public reporting anything from bears breaking into cabins and tents to bears stealing food off picnic tables.”

Black bears, like other bear species, have a highly specialized sense of smell, which can sometimes lead them to towns and recreation areas where they may quickly find an overflowing garbage can or someone’s leftover hamburger and French fries.

The public can help bears stay out of human settlements and stick to their natural diet by properly disposing of leftover food and garbage. Additional suggestions include:

  • Residents and vacationers should remove any food attractants from around their home or rental. Pet food, barbecue grills and bird feeders are also attractants. Store trash in bear-resistant storage sheds until trash pickup day.
  • Use sensory deterrents (such as ammonia), electric mats and bear-resistant fencing to exclude hungry and curious bears from gaining access to attractants.
  • Visitors to towns and tourist areas should not pile trash in a trash can or bin that is already overflowing – take trash to a proper receptacle or another location if necessary.
  • Keep campsites and other recreation areas clean. Use bear-resistant coolers and store all food in bear lockers.
  • Never feed wildlife.

Additional information can be found on CDFW’s website, including tips on how to keep California black bears wild, information about bear proof containers and information about black bear biology.

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Media Contacts:
Lesa Johnston, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 322-8933
Victoria Monroe, CDFW Human-Wildlife Conflict Program, (916) 856-8335

Lassen County Raptor Poacher Convicted

The largest raptor poaching case in known California history has ended in a conviction in Lassen County, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced.

Richard Parker, 68, of Standish pled guilty to crimes associated with poaching in excess of 150 raptors and other wildlife on his rural Lassen County property. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and given a $75,000 fine and five years of probation. Probation terms include full search authority, prohibitions on possessing firearms, hunting and fishing, and a requirement to obey all laws. The two firearms used during the commission of the crimes were ordered destroyed by the court.

wildlife officers conducting investigation.JPG

In March 2018, wildlife officers assigned to Lassen County received an anonymous tip from someone who reportedly witnessed a man killing a hawk near the town of Standish. The wildlife officer conducted covert surveillance of the suspect, then visited the private property and discovered nine dead raptors. The entire local Lassen/Plumas County Wildlife Officer squad later returned to the property with a search warrant. A search of the home and 80-acre property turned up more than 150 carcasses of protected birds and other wildlife in various states of decay, along with spent rifle casings. Most of the birds were red-tailed hawks, but several other species of hawks, other nongame birds and an owl were found. Four of the birds were migratory ferruginous hawks, which are uncommon in the area. Officers also located two dead bobcats and one taxidermied mountain lion, all of which were suspected to be unlawfully taken.

A CDFW wildlife veterinarian and avian specialist analyzed the first nine carcasses collected. However, investigators sent the majority of the carcasses to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Ore., where wildlife forensic scientists meticulously necropsied 159 samples to determine cause of death. The 400-page necropsy report significantly contributed to the Deputy Attorney General’s ability to effectively prosecute the case.

Dead birds at bottom of roost

 

“We are pleased to work with the California Attorney General’s Office, as well as CDFW’s Office of General Counsel, to put this egregious poacher out of business,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “The case came together as a result of collaboration of our local wildlife officers and laboratory and wildlife biology staff from the state and federal governments.”

“Poaching is not a game, it’s a serious crime,” said Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “Richard Parker willfully and egregiously disregarded California law to kill protected wildlife, including hawks. To anyone who breaks our laws for illegal sport, know that we will prosecute and hold you accountable.”

CDFW also expresses appreciation to Lassen County District Attorney Melyssah Rios for her contribution to the monumental effort put forth to bring this case to closure.

The case developed from a tip originating with a member of the public who saw something amiss. Anyone who believes they are witness to unlawful poaching or pollution activity is encouraged to call CalTIP, CDFW’s confidential secret witness program, at (888) 334-2258 or send a text with the tip411 app. Both methods allow the public to provide wildlife officers with factual information to assist with investigations. Callers may remain anonymous, if desired, and a reward can result from successful capture and prosecution.

Media Contacts:
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 508-7095
Lt. Kyle Kroll, CDFW Law Enforcement, (530) 575-5736

 

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Stream Flow Enhancement Projects

The Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) has approved approximately $13 million in grants to help enhance flows in streams throughout California. A total of 11 stream flow enhancement projects were approved at an April 4 meeting of the Stream Flow Enhancement Program Board. The approved projects will provide or lead to a direct and measurable enhancement of the amount, timing and/or quality of water in streams for anadromous fish; special status, threatened, endangered or at-risk species; or to provide resilience to climate change.

Funding for these projects comes from the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1). The Act authorized the Legislature to appropriate funds to address the objectives identified in the California Water Action Plan, including more reliable water supplies, the restoration of important species and habitat, and a more resilient and sustainably managed water infrastructure.

Funded projects include:

      • A $499,955 grant to the University of California, Davis for a cooperative project with the University of California, Berkeley that will apply the newly developing California Environmental Flows Framework to inform decisions regarding instream flow enhancements in the Little Shasta River in Siskiyou County and San Juan Creek in Orange County, by defining target hydrologic regimes that meet ecological and geomorphic objectives.
      • A $1.5 million grant to the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in the Oroville Wildlife Area in Butte County. The project will reconnect the Feather River to approximately 400 acres of its historic floodplain, increasing the frequency and duration of floodplain inundation, and enhancing habitat for anadromous salmonids.
      • A $1.98 million grant to the Truckee River Watershed Council for a cooperative project with the CDFW, U.S. Forest Service, Tahoe National Forest and Bella Vista Foundation to enhance hydrologic and ecological function and improve base flows during the low flow period within Lower Perazzo Meadow in Sierra County.
      • A $621,754 grant to the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with DWR and State Coastal Conservancy to construct an off-channel storage pond on Klingman-Moty Farm. Combined with irrigation efficiency upgrades and a commitment from the landowner to forbear diversions during the low flow period, the project will improve instream flow conditions in San Gregorio Creek in San Mateo County.
      • A $1.78 million grant to the Ventura Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with Ojai Valley Inn, the city of Ojai, the Thacher School, and a diverse array of other partners. They will develop an Integrated Water Management Framework for Instream Flow Enhancement and Water Security and complete planning, permitting and outreach to advance 25 stream flow enhancement projects to an implementation ready stage.

For more information about the WCB please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, WCB Executive Director, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420