CDFW to Host Public Meetings on Lands Regulations Changes

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold four public meetings to provide information and gather public input about possible changes to public use regulations for CDFW lands. The properties affected are in Butte, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Merced, Napa, Nevada, Riverside, San Diego, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Solano, Stanislaus, Tulare and Yolo counties. (Additional information can be found on CDFW’s website.)

The focus of the regulation changes is the potential designation of nine relatively new properties as wildlife areas and ecological reserves. In addition, six properties will be considered for removal from the current lists of wildlife areas and ecological reserves, due to changes in management authority. Site-specific regulation changes are also under consideration for some existing wildlife areas and ecological reserves.

The meetings will be drop-in “open house” style with information stations and staff available to discuss the changes under consideration. They will be held from 6-8 p.m. on the following dates:

Tuesday, June 18
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
South Coast Region Headquarters
3883 Ruffin Road
San Diego, CA 92123

Wednesday, June 19
Oroville Branch Library
1820 Mitchell Ave.
Oroville, CA  95966

Monday, June 24
Grassland Environmental Education Center
Los Banos Wildlife Area
18110 Henry Miller Ave.
Los Banos, CA  93635

Tuesday, June 25
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area
45211 County Road 32B (Chiles Road)
Davis, CA  95618

Additional opportunities for public comment may arise when the changes are proposed to the California Fish and Game Commission this fall. For more information about the meetings, or if you cannot attend and would like to submit questions or comments, please contact CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Julie Horenstein at julie.horenstein@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
Julie Horenstein, CDFW Lands Program, (916) 324-3772
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

California Fish and Game Commission Meets in Redding

At its June 2019 meeting in Redding, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) took action on a number of issues affecting California’s natural resources. Commission President Eric Sklar and Commissioners Russell Burns, Samantha Murray and Peter Silva were present. Commission Vice President Jacque Hostler-Carmesin was absent. The following are just a few items of interest from the two-day meeting.

The Commission voted to move the policy on Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fisheries management from the Wildlife Resources Committee to the full Commission for further review and potential changes. Scores of Delta anglers were drawn to the meeting for this item because it includes policy regarding striped bass and predation concerns on salmon.

“We hear you. We see you,” Commissioner Murray told the crowd as she thanked them for their public engagement. Commissioners explained that in their review of that policy, they would consider the anglers’ concerns about lost striped bass fishing opportunity on the Delta.

The Commission voted 3-1 to accept a petition to list four species of bumble bees for protection under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The action  begins a one-year status review of the species and following that review, the Commission will make a final decision at a future meeting. During the status review, the bee species have protections under CESA as a candidate species. Commissioner Burns was the dissenting vote.

The Commission voted 4-0 to accept a petition to list summer steelhead under CESA. This commences a one-year status review of the species and the Commission will make a final decision at a future meeting. During the status review, summer steelhead have protections under CESA as a candidate species.

The Commission and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division David Bess announced Jessica Brown as 2018 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year. Brown is Supervising City Attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.

The Commission consented to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s additional acquisition of 487 acres to expand the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

CDFW Marine Region staff informed Commissioners that effective July 1, 2019, electronic reporting of landing data is mandatory for fish businesses with a multifunction license, fishermen’s retail license or the fish receiver’s license who are reporting the sale or delivery of commercial fish landings. Two outreach events are scheduled for next week to assist businesses with this transition:

  • June 17, 2019 from 2-4 p.m. at the CDFW Office, 32330 N Harbor Dr., Fort Bragg.
  • June 18, 2019 from 1-4 p.m. at the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District Office, 601 Startare Dr., Eureka.

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The California Fish and Game Commission was the first wildlife conservation agency in the United States, predating even the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries. There is often confusion about the distinction between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Commission. In the most basic terms, CDFW implements and enforces the regulations set by the Commission, as well as provides biological data and expertise to inform the Commission’s decision-making process.

Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

SHARE Program Offers Elk Opportunities for Adult and Junior Hunters

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will be offering 47 elk hunting opportunities through the Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program this fall. Applications for SHARE elk hunts will be available for purchase as of Sunday, June 16.

New additions to the program include 24 elk tags, 16 hunts and three properties. A total of 72 elk tags will be available during 47 hunts, with six of those tags going to junior hunters.

SHARE elk hunts will occur at various times between Aug. 15 and Dec. 24, 2019 on 31 select properties in Colusa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Shasta and Siskiyou counties. Specific details for all 47 elk hunts can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share#elk. Applications will be accepted through Wednesday, July 24.

All elk tags will be distributed through a random draw process. While hunters may take only one elk per year in California, hunters may apply for more than one SHARE hunt. These hunts offer additional opportunities to apply for an elk tag if you were unsuccessful in the elk tag opportunities provided through the general Big Game Drawing. SHARE hunt applications can be purchased by anyone 12 years of age or older, with a valid 2019 California Hunting License from any CDFW license office or online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales.

An $11.88 non-refundable application fee will be charged for each hunt application. Applicants may look up their draw results and download their hunt packets on July 29 by entering their customer information on CDFW’s website at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales.

The SHARE program was created to provide additional hunting, fishing and other recreational access on private lands in California by offering incentives to private landowners. Participating landowners receive liability protection and compensation for providing public access to or through their land for wildlife-dependent recreational activities.

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Media Contacts:
Victoria Barr, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-4034

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

Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office Prosecutor Honored for Pursuit of Justice in Wildlife Crimes

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the California Fish and Game Commission are pleased to name Jessica Brown, Supervising City Attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office as 2018 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year. Brown oversees the Environmental Justice Unit in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, which includes a team of superb prosecutors, all of whom are highly dedicated to the successful prosecution of fish and wildlife cases.

Jessica Brown
Jessica Brown, 2018 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year

“The Los Angeles City Attorney’s team of Environmental Justice Unit prosecutors, and especially Ms. Brown, have worked tirelessly to prosecute poachers and to send a clear message that poaching and trafficking of wildlife will not be tolerated,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “Ms. Brown is a true asset to the protection of California’s natural resources and has displayed exceptional skill and an outstanding commitment with her relentless pursuit of justice.”

The following are just a few examples of her tenacious work.

  • Brown and her team prosecuted some of the first ivory trafficking cases in California, including winning convictions in the first two ivory cases to go to jury trial, since the Legislature strengthened the law to prohibit ivory trafficking in July 2016. The multi-week trials involved litigating a vast array of legal topics related to the recently enacted statute, including developing jury instructions, crafting complex pretrial motions and arguing numerous legal concepts during trial. Brown and her team demonstrated exceptional cooperation with wildlife officers, wildlife forensic specialists and the CDFW Office of General Counsel throughout all stages of these trials, from pretrial preparation through sentencing. “It was critical to prosecute these first ivory trafficking cases right the first time since it would set the stage for future prosecution of similar cases,” said Chief Bess.
  • Brown and her team were instrumental in the filing of complex cases related to interstate seafood trafficking. This joint law enforcement operation involved wildlife officers from California, Maine and Hawaii and resulted in several Fish and Game Code violations against numerous retail establishments. During the operation, Brown went above and beyond in conducting her own investigations into records violations, which significantly contributed to the successful outcome of this case.
  • Brown and her team prosecuted a recent high-profile restricted species possession case involving a monkey. Another case involved a convicted drug dealer who illegally possessed a tiger. CDFW and the Commission hope the cases will have long-term deterrence impacts and help educate people that exotic pets do not belong in unpermitted homes, owned by people who lack the qualifications to properly care for them.
  • Brown and her team have also regularly assisted CDFW wildlife officers with marine enforcement cases involving unlicensed commercial passenger fishing vessels, resulting in positive marine conservation benefits for the state. Brown understands the importance of California’s ocean’s resources and takes action against those who illegally exploit them for personal gain.

If all this was not enough, Ms. Brown and her team have shared their knowledge and expertise with fellow prosecutors by spearheading a statewide prosecution task force dedicated to stopping wildlife trafficking. Prosecutors around the state now have additional resources to facilitate successful prosecutions of cases concerning the illegal commercialization of wildlife, with significant credit going to Brown.

“I certainly understand why the CDFW and the Commission are honoring Jessica Brown as Prosecutor of the Year,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. “I’m a big fan. Jessica’s determination to protect the environment and our wildlife – and hold accountable those who violate the law – is an example for all of us. My colleagues and I are inspired by her commitment, passion and hard work.”

As the supervising attorney for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Environmental Justice Unit, Brown’s steadfast dedication to CDFW’s cases has earned her the respect of wildlife officers and she has been instrumental in advancing the successful prosecution of CDFW cases in California. Her devotion to the protection and conservation of California’s natural resources makes her worthy of this recognition.

 

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Bear Responsible for Sierra Madre Incident, and Cub, to be Released to the Wild

The adult black bear that scratched a man on his Sierra Madre property on June 10 was protecting her cub and not acting abnormally aggressive, a California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) investigation has concluded. CDFW is in the process of releasing both the bear and cub back to suitable habitat near the location where they were captured.

The sow strayed onto the man’s property, where the adult bear was challenged by the man’s dog. The sow had a cub nearby. The dog reportedly engaged in a physical confrontation with the sow prompting the man to run into the fray to save his dog. He kicked the sow, which prompted it to scratch him. CDFW biologists concluded the bear acted in defense of itself and its cub, which constitutes normal behavior. The man successfully saved the dog and called 911. The injuries to the man and his dog were not serious and both are expected to fully recover.

A wildlife officer responded to the scene and tranquilized both bears after the man identified them as the ones involved in the incident. Officers collected DNA evidence samples from the man and the sow and sent them to the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento for analysis. Forensics scientists compared the DNA profile of the captured adult bear to those of evidence taken from the man to conclude with a very high level of confidence that the captured bear was the one involved in the incident.

Forensics scientists also compared the bear’s DNA to the DNA evidence collected from a bear attack reported on April 25, also in Sierra Madre. The evidence showed that it was not the same bear.

CDFW reminds Californians that much of the state is bear country, even Los Angeles County, one of the most populated counties in the United States. CDFW encourages the citizens of Sierra Madre and anyone living in and around bear habitat to review tips on how to better coexist with bears and other wildlife at KeepMeWild.org. CDFW also recently published seven things to know about California bear activity right now.

CDFW will share photos of the release on social media when available.

Media Contacts:
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-6692
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News