Northern Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Further Delayed in Ocean Waters North of Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County due to Public Health Hazard

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery from Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County north to the California/Oregon state line after state health agencies recommended to delay the fishery in the area due to elevated levels of domoic acid.

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery in the area south of Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line will open at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, to be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12.

This delay shall remain in effect until the Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), in consultation with the State Public Health Officer at California Department of Public Health (CDPH), determines that domoic acid no longer poses a significant risk to public health and recommends opening the fishery in this region. CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in Dungeness crab to determine when the commercial fishery in this area can safely be opened.

No vessel may take, possess or land crab within a delayed area during the closure period. In addition, any vessel that takes, possesses on board or lands Dungeness crab from ocean waters outside of this delayed area is prohibited from taking, possessing onboard or landing Dungeness crab for 30 days in this area once it opens to commercial fishing pursuant to Section 8279.1 of the Fish and Game Code.

Once a positive determination is made to open the fishery, CDFW may provide the fleet a minimum of 72-hour advance notice announcing when trap gear can be set.

For more information, please see CDFW’s Frequently Asked Questions regarding the 2018-19 Dungeness crab commercial season.

This area north of Patrick’s Point remains closed for recreational take of Dungeness crab, also due to domoic acid.

Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin produced by a naturally occurring marine alga, whose levels can be increased under certain ocean conditions, and can accumulate in shellfish, other invertebrates and sometimes fish. It causes illness and sometimes death in a variety of birds and marine mammals that consume affected organisms. At low levels, domoic acid exposure can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness in humans. At higher levels, it can cause persistent short-term memory loss, seizures and death.

For more information:

Memo from Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (1/7/2019)

CDFW Director’s Closure Declaration (1/7/2019)

2018-19 Frequently Asked Questions for the Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery (12/3/2018)

www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Health-Advisories

www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab

Media Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, Marine Region, (707) 576-2887
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

January 2019 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

Various Days — Guided Wetland Tours, By Reservation, at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). A wildlife naturalist will lead any group, school or organization on a half-mile route through the diverse wetlands of the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. General information includes wildlife identification, behavior patterns and conservation efforts. The experience can be customized to include requested information. The minimum group size is 18 people. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

Various Days — Ecological Reserve Tours at Elkhorn Slough, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Volunteers lead walks every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Binoculars and bird books are available for the public to borrow at no cost. The visitor center and main overlook are fully accessible. The day use permit fee is $4.12 per person, ages 16 and older (permits may be purchased onsite). Groups of five or more should please notify staff that they are coming and groups of 10 or more can request a separate tour. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/places-to-visit/elkhorn-slough-er.

Various Days Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Multiple Hunting Opportunities. Wild pig, waterfowl, turkey, dove and quail hunts are available through the SHARE program. A $10.75 non-refundable application fee (plus handling fees) is charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

Various Days — Nature Bowl Coaching Workshops. Training for those interested in becoming coaches for the Nature Bowl will be held on various days at various sites in the Sacramento area in January. The Nature Bowl is an educational event for third through sixth graders who form teams of up to nine students with an adult coach. The event is scheduled at various sites in the Sacramento area in April and May. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/nature-bowl/schedule or email joanie.cahill@wildlife.ca.gov.

First Through Third Saturdays and Sundays of the Month — Sandhill Crane Wetland Tours at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, 7730 W. Woodbridge Road, Lodi (95242). Online registration is underway for those wishing to participate in guided tours, which run through February. A one-day Lands Pass must be purchased to attend and instructions are available on the same website. Tours fill fast and registration may be done as much as six weeks in advance. To register or for more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/3/crane-tour.

Saturdays — Swan Tours. CDFW will offer free swan tours near Marysville on Saturdays through January. Co-hosted by local rice farmers, the naturalist-led tours will focus on tundra swans in one of the premier locations for viewing swans in California. Tours will be held on Saturdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m. The driving tours also involve walking a short distance and carpooling is encouraged. Pre-registration is required at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/swan-tours and up to 30 people can register for each tour. For more information, please call (916) 358-2869 or email interpretiveservices@wildlife.ca.gov.

Weekends — Guided Wildlife Tours at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948), 12:30 p.m. The 90-minute walking tour covers slightly more than a half mile through this premier birding spot that highlights migratory waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. Tours are canceled in heavy rain. No reservations are necessary for groups of less than 20 people. This land is part of the CDFW Lands Pass Program and its associated fee-for-use requirement. There is no additional cost for the tour. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

2 — SHARE Access Permit Application Deadline for Sierra Valley Preserve Waterfowl Hunt. Western Wildlife Adventures will provide guide services, two nights of lodging, food and transportation for this two-day hunt. CDFW will randomly draw one permit (good for two hunters) for each hunt period. Wild pig, turkey and quail hunts are also currently available through the SHARE program. A $10.75 non-refundable application fee (plus handling fees) will be charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

5 — White and White-fronted Goose Season Opens in the Northeastern California Zone. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

10 — California Fish and Game Commission Wildlife Resources Committee, time to be determined, CDFW Regional Office, Large Conference Room, 3602 Inland Empire Blvd., Suite C-220, Ontario (91764). For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2019/index.aspx.

13 — Large Canada Goose Season Closes in the Northeastern California Zone. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

15 — SHARE Access Permit Application Deadline for Dye Creek Preserve Wild Pig Hunt. Western Wildlife Adventures will provide guide services, two nights of lodging, food and transportation for this two-day hunt. CDFW will randomly draw one permit (good for two hunters) for each hunt period. Wild pig, turkey and quail hunts are also currently available through the SHARE program. A $10.75 non-refundable application fee (plus handling fees) will be charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

18 — Duck Season and White Geese and White-fronted Goose Season Closes in the Northeastern California Zone. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

20 — Elkhorn Slough Reserve Annual King Tides Photography Walk, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Participants can witness one of the highest tides of the year and help scientists document the “King Tide” phenomenon. Reserve naturalists discuss the impacts of sea level rise on coastal on the slough and its surrounding coastlines while touring designated “King Tide” sites. Participants should bring cameras to record the tides at each site. The event is free but registration is required. For more information and to register, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/annual-king-tide-citizen-science-walk.

23 — Elkhorn Slough Reserve Volunteer Orientation and Information Night, 5:30 to 7 p.m. 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve works to inspire conservation and preservation of the unique habitats of the Elkhorn Slough through research, stewardship and education. Volunteers help in this effort and participants in this free event will learn how to become involved. For more information, please contact Ariel Hunter at ariel.hunter@wildlife.ca.gov or visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/volunteer-docent-training.

26 — Elkhorn Slough Reserve Docent Training, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville, (95076). Participants will learn how to join the reserve’s volunteer docent team and aid in the conservation of coastal estuaries. Over a span of five Saturdays (beginning Jan. 26 and concluding on Feb. 23), participants will learn about local natural history while developing strategies for engaging the public. Docent-led tours are offered on weekends throughout the year. Scheduling is flexible and based on individual availability. For more information or to register for training, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/volunteer-docent-training.

27 — Duck and Goose Season Closes in the Balance of State, Southern San Joaquin, Southern California and Colorado River zones. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

28 — Falconry Only Season Opens for Rabbits and Varying Hares (extending through March 17). For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/small-game.

29 — California Northern Spotted Owl Stakeholder Forum, 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m., 5550 Skylane Blvd., Suite A, Santa Rosa (95403). The California Northern Spotted Owl Stakeholder Forum allows agencies, non-governmental organizations, researchers, landowners, timber companies and other interested parties to share information regarding northern spotted owl management and conservation efforts in California. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/timber/nso-forum.

31 — Deer Tag Reporting Deadline. Deer tag holders must submit a harvest report for any 2018 deer tag by the Jan. 31, 2019 deadline. All tag holders must report even if they did not hunt, or they hunted unsuccessfully. Tag holders who do not report by this deadline will be charged a $21.60 non-reporting penalty fee when purchasing a 2019 deer-tag drawing application or deer tag. To report your harvest online, please visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/customersearch/begin. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/hunting#9941260-tag-reporting or call (916) 928-5805.

Media Contact:
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

Northern California Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Delay Extended

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham announced an additional and final 15-day delay of the northern California commercial Dungeness crab season. Pending possible closures due to elevated levels of domoic acid, the season is now set to begin on Jan. 15, 2019.

Quality tests as prescribed by the Pre-Season Testing Protocol for the Tri-State Coastal Dungeness Commercial Fishery were scheduled to occur this week, but rough ocean conditions prevented vessels from safely deploying and retrieving traps. This protocol requires that tested crab achieve a meat recovery rate to ensure that crab are ready for harvest. Previous quality test results from Dungeness crab collected on Nov. 3 and Dec. 4 indicated that crab did not have enough meat. Without any passing test results from these areas, the Director continued to delay the season to Jan. 15, the final date a quality delay can be set to occur.

Delays due to quality only affect the northern commercial fishery in California Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties). The season in these districts is now scheduled to open at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 15, 2019, to be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Jan. 12, 2019.  Two areas in northern California continue to be sampled for domoic acid and it is unknown whether any further delays may occur based continued domoic acid testing.

Crab are evaluated to compare meat weight to total crab weight to determine whether they are ready for harvest under testing guidelines established by the Tri-State Dungeness Crab Committee. If results indicate low or poor quality, the Director may delay the fishery in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties, under authority of Fish and Game Code, section 8276.2.

No vessel may take or land crab in an area closed for a meat quality delay (i.e., Fish and Game districts 6, 7, 8 and 9) or within an area closed for a domoic acid delay. In addition, any vessel that takes, possesses onboard or lands crab from ocean waters outside of a delayed area is prohibited from participating in the crab fishery in any delayed area for 30 days following the opening of those areas. This applies to any delayed areas in Oregon and Washington as well as in California.

Please refer to the latest Frequently Asked Questions for the current 2018-19 season that addresses questions regarding the Fair Start provision.

For more information about Dungeness crab fisheries in California, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab.

For more information on health advisories related to fisheries, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/health-advisories.

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Media Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2887
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

CDFW Awards $4.2 Million for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Grant Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of three projects to restore wetlands that sequester greenhouse gases (GHGs) and provide other ecological co-benefits.

The awards, totaling $4.2 million, were made under CDFW’s 2017 Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program Proposal Solicitation Notice.

The Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program focuses on projects with measurable objectives that will lead to GHG reductions in wetlands and watersheds while providing co-benefits such as enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, protecting and improving water quality and quantity, and helping California adapt to climate change. Wetlands have high carbon sequestration rates that can store carbon for decades.

“We are fortunate to have the opportunity to fund wetland restoration projects while directly addressing climate resiliency and furthering the science of carbon sequestration,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “Wetlands play a vital role in our state’s water storage and as natural carbon sinks, provide significant other benefits.”

Projects approved for funding are:

  • Van Norden Meadow Restoration Project ($1,948,803 to the South Yuba River Citizens League). The Van Norden Meadow Restoration Project is a unique opportunity to advance the understanding of multiple benefits that meadow restoration projects provide through a collaborative monitoring and restoration program. The project proposes to restore 485 acres of meadow habitat and conduct monitoring to address specific uncertainties about how meadow restoration benefits meadow hydrology, ecology, biology, carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas cycling, and increase our understanding of the vulnerability of meadows to climate change.
  • Elkhorn Slough Tidal Marsh Restoration: Hester Phase II ($1,596,779 to Elkhorn Slough Foundation). Elkhorn Slough, one of the largest estuaries in California, contains the state’s largest salt marshes south of San Francisco Bay. The slough provides important habitat for a broad range of resident and migratory birds, invertebrates, fish, marine mammals and other wildlife, and plays a crucial role in the local estuarine and nearshore food web. The project includes restoration of an entire cross section of coastal ecosystem from carbon sequestering native oyster beds, 30 acres of historically diked and drained coastal wetlands, and five acres adjacent vegetated buffer. Building upon the success of Hester Phase I, the project will enhance sophisticated GHG science and monitoring as well as investigating the novel GHG mitigation strategy of converting plant waste to biochar as a soil amendment.
  • Ecosystem and Community Resiliency in the Sierra Nevada: Restoration of the Clover Valley Ranch ($680,974 to The Sierra Fund). The overarching goal of this project is to improve climate resilience at the ecosystem and community level in Red Clover Valley. Ecosystem resiliency is defined as the reestablishment of hydrologic function and mesic vegetation, while community resiliency is defined as long-term engagement and capacity building of residents of the region, including the Mountain Maidu Tribe. This project leverages Natural Resources Conservation Service implementation including construction of grade control structures, beaver dam analogues and revegetation, and proposes to evaluate the effectiveness of restoration for improving climate resilience. The on-the-ground activities will result in GHG sequestration benefits and environmental and economic co-benefits for people and species of the region, while monitoring will ensure that benefits are quantified, contributing to climate-based understanding of Sierra Nevada meadows.

CDFW’s Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities. The cap-and-trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling and much more.

More information about the CDFW program can be found at wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/watersheds/greenhouse-gas-reduction.

For more information, please visit the California Climate Investments website at www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov.

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

 

Fishing Opportunities Abound Over the Holidays, Despite Hatchery Issues in Central and Southern California

The winter holidays are a popular time for families and individuals to enjoy recreational trout fishing, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) trout hatcheries plan to provide plenty of opportunities for anglers of all ages over the next two weeks. Specific plants of catchable trout are scheduled at 53 waters in 25 counties.

Anglers planning trout fishing outings over the winter holidays should check CDFW’s Fish Planting Schedule to see the latest waters planted with trout.

CDFW stocking of hatchery trout in central and Southern California waters has been hampered by ongoing infrastructure upgrades at four of CDFW’s 13 trout hatcheries. However, CDFW has been working diligently to ensure that trout stocking will continue in these and other parts of the state.

“Our Moccasin Creek Hatchery flooded, and supersaturated well water impacted the Fillmore, Fish Springs and Mojave hatcheries,” said Dr. Mark Clifford, an environmental program manager for CDFW’s hatcheries. “Seventy-eight-year-old infrastructure and acts of nature are problematic. Our dedicated staff, including engineers, are consistently addressing issues as they arise.

“Overall, state trout production has increased incrementally since 2015 when the drought severely impacted our operations,” Dr. Clifford said. “This year was projected to be the best year in the last five. We have experienced setbacks but will continue to strive to meet our production goals.”

The spring flooding of CDFW’s Moccasin Creek Hatchery in Tuolumne County required evacuation of both staff and fish. The hatchery suffered $3.2 million in damages. Repairs are ongoing, and the hatchery is expected to come back online in the spring of 2019 and then return to full production by 2020.

Historically, Moccasin Creek Hatchery produced more than 200,000 pounds of fish per year and was a major supplier of trout for the 12 counties in CDFW’s Central Region – Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Stanislaus, Tulare and Tuolumne. To mitigate the loss of trout production at the Moccasin Creek Hatchery, CDFW’s San Joaquin Hatchery in Fresno County has maximized production and is currently raising and stocking trout for waters in these counties.

To maximize angling opportunities with limited resources, Central Region fisheries biologists have prioritized stocking waters adjacent to major highway corridors such as State Routes 108/120 in Tuolumne County, State Route 168 in Fresno County and State Route 178 in Kern County. The region will also prioritize children’s fishing events.

In Southern California, the 78-year-old Fillmore Trout Hatchery in eastern Ventura County is closed for maintenance, upgrades and modernization. Prior to its closure, Fillmore Trout Hatchery fish were moved to the Mojave River Hatchery in San Bernardino County, which underwent renovations in 2017, and has been raising trout for much of Southern California.

CDFW is maximizing Mojave River Hatchery production with existing inventories along with trout brought in from other hatcheries and expects an improved Fillmore Trout Hatchery back online in coming months. Trout stocking in Southern California will be focused at urban parks, fishing derbies and Fishing in the City events.

The following list offers a county-by-county breakdown of stocking locations throughout the state that will receive winter holiday trout plants between now and Jan. 4, 2019:

Alameda County

  • Lakeshore Park Pond

Contra Costa County

  • Heather Farms Pond

Butte County

  • Desabla Reservoir

El Dorado County

  • Folsom Lake
  • Jenkinson Lake

Fresno County

  • Fresno City Woodward Park Lake
  • Kings River Below Pine Flat Dam

Inyo County

  • Diaz Lake
  • Owens River (Bishop to Big Pine)
  • Pleasant Valley Reservoir
  • Orbit Pond

Kern County

  • Ming Lake
  • Kern River (Powerhouse #3 to Riverside Park in Kernville)

Lake County

  • Blue Lake Upper

Los Angeles County

  • Reseda Park Lake
  • Kenneth Hahn Lake
  • El Dorado Park Lake
  • Castaic Lake

Madera County

  • Bass Lake

Marin County

  • Bon Tempe Lake

Mendocino County

  • Mill Creek Lake

Nevada County

  • Rollins Reservoir
  • Scotts Flat Reservoir

Orange County

  • Centennial Lake
  • Huntington Park Lake
  • Eisenhower Park Lake

Placer County

  • Halsey Forebay
  • Folsom Lake
  • Rollins Reservoir
  • Auburn Regional Park Pond

Plumas County

  • Lake Almanor

Riverside County

  • Little Lake
  • Rancho Jurupa Park Pond

Sacramento County

  • Elk Grove Park Pond
  • Hagen Park Pond
  • Folsom Lake (Granite Bay boat ramp)
  • Howe Community Park Pond
  • North Natomas Park Pond
  • Granite Park Pond
  • Rancho Seco Lake
  • Mather Lake

San Bernardino County

  • Glen Helen Park Lake
  • Prado Regional Park Lake

San Diego County

  • Cuyamaca Lake
  • Murray Lake

Shasta County

  • Baum Lake
  • Clover Creek Pond (weather and road conditions dependent)
  • Kapusta Pond (weather and road conditions dependent)

Stanislaus County

  • Woodward Reservoir

Tulare County

  • Mooney Grove Park Pond
  • Del Lago Park Lake

Ventura County

  • Rancho Simi Park Lake

Yuba County

  • Collins Lake

Media Contacts:
Dr. Mark Clifford, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 764-2526
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

 

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News