CDFW Transitioning to Electronic Hunting and Fishing Regulations Booklets in 2021

As part of a broader effort to go paperless, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is transitioning to a digital format for its 2021 hunting and fishing regulations booklets and Big Game Hunting Digest. Booklets will no longer be printed and shipped to license agents or customers but electronic versions of the booklets will continue to be available online.

“Not only is this shift best for the environment because of the reduction of many thousands of short-term paper booklets being produced, the cost to print and ship the booklets is significant,” said CDFW Wildlife and Fisheries Division Deputy Director Stafford Lehr. “Another benefit is that the money saved by going paperless will be redirected to fish and wildlife conservation.”

The transition to paperless regulations booklets follows a two-year effort to reduce the number of hard copy booklets printed and shipped to license agents and is consistent with the governor’s directive to reduce paper usage.

As in previous years, digital booklets are available at wildlife.ca.gov/Regulations and can be downloaded as PDFs to your computer, cellular phone or other electronic device. Hunters and anglers are encouraged to download the digital booklets to their mobile devices and familiarize themselves with the digital format prior to hunting and/or fishing trips.

###

Media Contacts: 
Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 825-7120

California Fish and Game Commission Meets Remotely

At its February meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission acted on a number of issues affecting California’s natural resources. The following are just a few items of interest from yesterday’s meeting.

The Commission elected Peter Silva to succeed Eric Sklar as Commission President, a position Sklar has held for five years. The Commission also re-elected Samantha Murray as Commission Vice President.

FGC logo

“It has been one of the great honors of my public career to serve as president of the California Fish and Game Commission these last five years,” said Commissioner Sklar. “I am extremely proud of all the work we have done as a team and I look forward to the exceptional and progressive things we will achieve under President Silva and Vice President Murray.”

Under President Sklar’s leadership, the Commission worked with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) on numerous significant achievements, including:

  • Collaborated with the agricultural community to protect tricolored blackbird under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) while also supporting agricultural activities.
  • Simplified the state’s inland trout fishing regulations to make it easier for anglers to understand and to increase angling opportunities.
  • Helped ensure sustainable, long-term management of Pacific herring and spiny lobster by adopting fishery management plans for both species.
  • Created an opportunity for recreational fishermen to contribute to potential kelp recovery in California’s north and central coast ocean waters by participating in and evaluating urchin control activities.
  • Streamlined fisheries resource management through automatic conformance to federal salmon and Pacific halibut regulations, as well as moving commercial fishing landing receipts from paper submissions to allow near-real-time online reporting of fishing information.

About his new position, President Silva said, “I appreciate the trust my fellow commissioners have placed in me to lead the Commission at this time of anticipated change. Over the coming year we have several important tasks ahead of us, most significantly advancing a justice, equity, diversity and inclusion plan that will contribute to creating a more just and inclusive society.”

Late last year, the Commission began developing a justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) plan in collaboration with CDFW, to enhance the important work of both organizations in conserving and sustaining California’s fish and wildlife for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public.

“It is a pleasure to continue in my role as vice president of the Commission, where we have critical responsibilities related to conserving the state’s natural resources and preserving our wildlife heritage,” said Commission Vice President Murray. “I look forward to also advancing meaningful efforts to confront the history and impacts of structural discrimination and to take action to ensure equitable practices.”

“The Commission has made great strides under President Sklar,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “He has brought professionalism, intelligence and integrity to the dais, and I thank him for his passion for this work and for his friendship. I also look forward to the leadership of Commissioners Silva and Murray. If their efforts to elevate the JEDI plan are an indicator, the strength that Eric has brought to this Commission is certain to continue and the future is bright.”

The Commission assigned chairs for its three committees: Vice President Murray for the Marine Resources Committee, Commissioner Jacque Hostler-Carmesin for the Tribal Committee and Commissioner Sklar for the Wildlife Resources Committee.

The Commission unanimously voted to approve changes to mammal hunting regulations including changes to quotas and seasons for deer and antelope, and allow CDFW to provide refunds and reinstate preference points for specified elk, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn antelope hunts for hunters who endured a significant loss of opportunity due to forest closures and/or fire in specified hunt zones in 2020.

CDFW provided an overview of its five-year status review report of Milo Baker’s lupine and recommended that the Commission change its status under CESA from threatened to endangered. The Commission voted unanimously that listing the Milo Baker’s lupine as endangered may be warranted. 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, Milo Baker’s lupine is protected under CESA as a candidate species.

The Commission unanimously voted to adopt an emergency regulation to prohibit the use of hydraulic pump gear for recreational take of clams, sand crab and shrimp. The emergency regulation is in response to dramatic increases in recreational clamming effort and harvest rates using hydraulic hand pumps, necessitating immediate additional protections while a standard regulation is under development.

The full commission – President Peter Silva, Vice President Samantha Murray, and Commissioners Jacque Hostler-Carmesin and Eric Sklar – was present. There is one vacancy on the Commission.

The agenda for this meeting along with supporting information is available at fgc.ca.gov. An archived audio file will be available in coming days. The next meeting of the full Commission is scheduled for April 14-15, 2021.

As a reminder, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Commission meetings through June 2021 will be held via webinar and teleconference.

###

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

Free Online Commercial Cannabis Permitting Workshop March 4

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), California Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division (CalCannabis) and State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) are hosting a free online commercial cannabis cultivation permitting workshop on Thursday, March 4, 2021.

cannabis plants surrounded by flowers

The free workshop is ideal for new and existing commercial cannabis cultivators and consultants. Those interested in attending can use the link below to watch the webcast – no registration is required. Closed captions will be provided.

Questions can be submitted in advance of the event by sending an email to askcannabis@wildlife.ca.gov with “Cannabis Webcast” as the subject line. Questions not answered during the webcast will be forwarded to the appropriate agency for a response.

Date and time: Thursday, March 4, from 9 to 11 a.m.

Webcast link: https://video.calepa.ca.gov/

CalCannabis will provide an overview of the state’s cannabis cultivation licensing program and review the requirements for commercial cannabis farming. CDFW will cover permitting, use of the online notification system (EPIMS) and compliance requirements. The State Water Board will review the cannabis policy and permitting process for both the Division of Water Quality and Division of Water Rights. Other regulatory agencies will also present.

For more information about becoming a licensed commercial cannabis farmer and for an overview of the California Cannabis Track-and-Trace/Metrc System, please visit the CalCannabis website at calcannabis.cdfa.ca.gov, call (833) CALGROW (225-4769) or send an email to calcannabis@cdfa.ca.gov. To report suspected illegal cannabis farming or related complaints, call the CalCannabis toll-free hotline: (833) WEED-TIP (933-3847).

To learn more about CDFW’s cannabis program, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/cannabis or send an email to askcannabis@wildlife.ca.gov. To report environmental crimes, such as pollution, water diversions and poaching, please call the CalTIP hotline at (888) 334-2258 or text information to tip411 by texting “CALTIP” followed by a space and the message. The CalTIP app can also be downloaded via the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.

To learn more about the State Water Board’s role in cannabis cultivation permitting, please visit waterboards.ca.gov/cannabis. For permitting and compliance assistance, send an email to dwq.cannabis@waterboards.ca.gov or call (916) 341-5580 (Cannabis Cultivation General Order), or send an email to cannabisreg@waterboards.ca.gov or call (916) 319-9427 (cannabis cultivation water rights).

###

Media Contacts:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, janice.mackey@wildlife.ca.gov
Rebecca Forée, CDFA’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division, rebecca.foree@cdfa.ca.gov

Knoxville Wildlife Area and Cedar Roughs Wildlife Area, Napa County Re-Open

moss covered oak on hillside

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is pleased to announce the re-opening of the Knoxville Wildlife Area and Cedar Roughs Wildlife Area, both in Napa County. The August 2020 LNU-Lightning Complex Fire consumed the entire 21,500-acre Knoxville Wildlife Area and both units of the Cedar Roughs Wildlife Area (414 acres).  The public is asked to remain vigilant of potential hazards such as falling trees and rocks, and to confine use to established old ranch road trails. Potential for debris flow is high along the northern section of Berryessa-Knoxville Road and in the Long Canyon area during heavy rain events. To protect public safety, this may prompt subsequent closure of the Knoxville Wildlife Area.

###

Media Contacts
Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 825-7120 
Stacy Martinelli, CDFW Wildlife Biologist 

Salmonellosis Outbreak Causing Songbird Deaths

Since December, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and wildlife rehabilitation centers have been inundated with calls from residents who are finding sick or dead finches at bird feeders. Most reports have come from locations on California’s Central Coast, the San Francisco Bay Area and Sierra Nevada communities. CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory has evaluated birds from several locations and determined the cause of illness to be Salmonellosis, a disease cause by Salmonella bacteria.

Pine Siskin. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Pine siskins, a species of finch that winters in California, are the primary species affected by the outbreak. The disease has also been reported in smaller numbers of lesser goldfinches and American goldfinches. 

“Salmonellosis occurs periodically in pine siskins in some winters throughout their range. When large numbers of pine siskins congregate, the disease can spread rapidly causing high mortality. Most birds die within 24 hours of infection,” said CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Krysta Rogers, an avian disease specialist. 

Birds become infected with Salmonella when they ingest food, water or come into contact with objects (e.g., bird feeders, perches, soil) contaminated with feces from an infected bird. Sick birds often appear weak, have labored breathing, and may sit for prolonged periods with fluffed or ruffled feathers. 

Salmonellosis is almost exclusively reported from locations with bird feeders where birds congregate. Residents can help reduce disease transmission by removing bird feeders and bird baths. Allowing birds to feed on natural seeds rather than at bird feeders reduces contact between birds and helps slow spread of the disease. 

Residents can report dead birds to CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory using the mortality reporting form, which helps biologists monitor the outbreak. Disposable gloves should be worn and hands should be thoroughly washed after disposing of dead birds, and handling of bird feeders and bird baths. If sick birds are found, please contact your local wildlife rehabilitation center for advice.

###

Media Contacts:
Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 825-7120
Krysta Rogers, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 358-1662