Apply Now for North Central Region Spring Turkey Hunts

Media Contacts:
Sara Holm, DFG Wildlife Branch, (530) 346-6305
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420
Public Contact:
DFG North Central Region Hunter Line, 916-358-2939

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is now accepting applications for spring wild turkey hunts in the North Central Region, and deadlines are approaching. These hunts are being offered at Spenceville, Oroville, Daugherty Hill and Gray Lodge wildlife areas. A special hunt opportunity is also available at the Cosumnes River Preserve, in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management.

DFG will accept applications through April 5, but hunters should check the rolling deadlines for each available hunt. All applications must be received by 5 p.m. on the Tuesday at least two weeks before the hunt date. The application and details are on the DFG website at www.nrm.dfg.ca.gov/GameBirdHeritageHunts, where hunters can create a DFG web account to be used for all online special hunt applications.

Drawings will be held immediately following the application deadlines. Results will be available online and successful applicants will receive maps and specific hunt information and/or permits in the mail. Any vacancies after the drawing will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

The 2011 spring turkey hunting regulations summary is on the DFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations.

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

Contact:
John Donnelly, WCB Executive Director, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

At its Feb. 24 meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) earmarked $17.2 million to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. The 23 funded projects will provide benefits to fish and wildlife species, including some endangered species, and increase public access to these lands. The funding for these projects comes from recent bond initiatives approved by the voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources.

Some of the projects funded include:

  • San Joaquin River Parkway, Jensen River Ranch II Habitat Restoration, Fresno County.  The WCB approved a $563,970 grant to the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust for a cooperative project with the San Joaquin River Conservancy to restore wetland and riparian habitat on the San Joaquin River Parkway just east of Highway 41 in Fresno.
  • Little Shasta Conservation Easement, Siskiyou County. The WCB granted $2.6 million to acquire a conservation easement over 5,929 acres east of the city of Yreka. This project will protect critical winter range for elk and other regional wildlife, as well as range and grasslands that sustain working landscapes in the Little Shasta River’s upland watershed.
  • Charles Mountain Ranch, Phase I, Humboldt County. The WCB approved a $2.5 million grant to the Northcoast Regional Land Trust to acquire a conservation easement over 2,903 acres of land that will conserve and protect an economically sustainable working forest, oak woodlands, grasslands and critical habitat for native fish, wildlife and plants located near the community of Blocksburg in southeastern Humboldt County.
  • North Grasslands Wildlife Area Hunter Check Station, Merced County. The WCB granted $730,000 for a cooperative project with the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) at DFG’s North Grasslands Wildlife Area, approximately six miles north of Los Banos. Improvements include the removal of a dilapidated structure and the construction of a new hunter check station and public restroom in its place, and a renovation of the parking lot.
  • Rubio Canyon, Los Angeles County. The WCB approved a $545,000 grant to the Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy to acquire 18 acres of land for protection of oak woodland, riparian woodland, coastal sage scrub, chaparral habitat and open space areas located in the Rubio Creek watershed, north of the town of Altadena.

Details on all of the projects are in the meeting agenda, available on WCB’s website at www.wcb.ca.gov.

DFG to Hold Public Meetings on Suction Dredge Permitting Program

Media Contacts:
Mark Stopher, Environmental Program Manager, (530) 225-2275
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has completed the first round of environmental review documents related to California’s currently suspended Suction Dredge Permitting Program. The Draft Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) is now available for public review and comment.

The Draft SEIR addresses the potential environmental effects of the permitting program, which was suspended in 2009 pending completion of this review, and proposes amendments to the regulations that existed prior to the current moratorium.

In addition to proposing the revised program, the document also evaluates the potential impacts of four alternatives: a No Program Alternative (continuation of the existing moratorium), a 1994 Regulations Alternative (continuation of previous regulations in effect prior to the 2008 moratorium), a Water Quality Alternative (which would include additional program restrictions for water bodies listed as impaired for sediment and mercury pursuant to the Clean Water Act, section 303(d)), and a Reduced Intensity Alternative (which would include greater restrictions on permit issuance and methods of operation to reduce the intensity of environmental effects).

The Draft SEIR and supporting documents are now available on the DFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/suctiondredge, and can be provided upon request by calling (530) 225-2275. Copies of the Draft SEIR are also available for review at DFG regional offices including:

Region 1 601 Locust St., Redding
Region 2 1701 Nimbus Road, Suite A, Rancho Cordova
Region 3 7329 Silverado Trail, Napa
Region 4 1234 E. Shaw Ave., Fresno
Region 5 4949 Viewridge Ave., San Diego
Region 6 3602 Inland Empire Blvd., Suite C-220, Ontario
Region 6 4665 Lampson Avenue, Suite J, Los Alamitos (second location)
Region 7  20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100, Monterey
HQ          1807 13th St., Suite 104, Sacramento

Five public meetings will be held in late March. All interested persons are encouraged to attend to present written and/or verbal comments. The meetings will be held at the following locations and times:

Santa Clarita:
Wednesday, March 23 at 5 p.m.
Residence Inn by Marriott
25320 The Old Road
Santa Clarita, CA 91381

Fresno:
Thursday, March 24 at 5 p.m.
California Retired Teachers Association
3930 East Saginaw Way
Fresno, CA 93726

Sacramento:
Tuesday, March 29 at 5 p.m.
Cal EPA Headquarters Building
Byron Sher Auditorium
1001 I St.
Sacramento

Yreka:
Wednesday, March 30 at 5 p.m.
Yreka Community Center
810 N. Oregon St.
Yreka, CA 96097

Redding:
Thursday, March 31 at 5 p.m.
Shasta Senior Nutrition Program
100 Mercy Oaks Drive
Redding, CA 96003

Written comments will also be accepted from Feb. 28 through April 29, 2011 at 5 p.m. Comments may be submitted by e-mail to dfgsuctiondredge@dfg.ca.gov or by regular mail to:

Mark Stopher
California Department of Fish and Game
601 Locust St.
Redding, CA 96001

Comments received by the due date will be included in the final SEIR that will be prepared for the Director of DFG.

For more information about the public meetings or the suction dredge program, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/suctiondredge/. If you require reasonable accommodation to attend a meeting or require this notice or the Draft SEIR in an alternate format, please contact the Suction Dredge Program at (530) 225-2275, or the California Relay (Telephone) Service for the deaf or hearing-impaired from TDD phones at 1-800-735-2929 or 711.

Drawings Planned for 2011 Lake Sonoma Spring Turkey Hunts

Contact:
Stacy Martinelli, DFG Bay Delta Region, (707) 944-5537
Eric Larson, DFG Bay Delta Region, (707) 944-5528
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

The permit drawing application deadline is approaching for two spring turkey hunts planned for the Lake Sonoma Turkey Hunt Program. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is providing this special hunting opportunity in cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG). The hunts will be held on USACE property surrounding Lake Sonoma in Sonoma County.California Wild Turkey

The hunts include an Apprentice Spring Turkey Hunt and a General Spring Turkey Hunt. The Apprentice Spring Turkey Hunt is scheduled for March 26-27 and the General Spring Turkey Hunt is scheduled for April 2-3. DFG will accept online applications for both hunts through March 7.

A total of 15 apprentice hunters will be drawn for the Apprentice Spring Turkey Hunt and 15 general public hunters will be drawn for the General Spring Turkey Hunt. Each successfully drawn applicant may be accompanied by one other hunter. Please note that both hunters in the hunt party must be listed on the hunt application.

Apprentice hunters must possess a valid California junior hunting license. Apprentice hunt parties may also include either another licensed apprentice hunter or a licensed adult hunter as the second party member. Two apprentice hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult. For the General Hunt each hunt party may consist of up to two licensed hunters.

The application, along with further details, can be found on the DFG Web site at www.dfg.ca.gov/delta/hunts/turkey/.

The Lake Sonoma Turkey Hunt Program consists of non-fee, limited-permit hunts that are open only to successful applicants on specific dates during the appropriate spring and fall turkey hunt seasons. The Lake Sonoma turkey hunt area is not open to the public for turkey hunting except for these special hunting opportunities.

The 2011 spring turkey hunting regulations summary can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/.

San Francisco Abalone Poacher Busted Three Times in Three Weeks

Media Contact:
Patrick Foy, DFG Law Enforcement, (916) 508-7095

A San Francisco man was recently caught poaching abalone during the closed season – for the third time in three weeks. The last arrest came on Feb. 19, 2011, when game wardens from the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) arrested Qiong Wang, 31, for felony conspiracy and take of abalone for commercial purposes, among other charges. Wardens also arrested Wang’s companion, Michael Trevors, 28, of San Francisco, on similar charges.

On Feb. 2, an officer from the Petaluma Police Department contacted Wang in Petaluma during an investigation of another crime. He found him in possession of five abalone. The officer was aware that abalone season was closed. He cited and released Wang for four poaching misdemeanors (unlawful take, take of abalone out of season, possession of an overlimit and failure to tag).

On Feb. 12, a Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputy stopped Wang for speeding on Highway 28 near Boonville. The deputy found two wet duffel bags containing fresh abalone in the back seat and contacted his dispatch to request assistance from a DFG warden. Warden Don Powers responded and discovered 36 red abalone, five of which were undersize. Powers also found five SCUBA tanks and associated SCUBA diving gear in the trunk of Wang’s car. Wang was booked into Mendocino County Jail for possession of abalone for commercial sale. His Toyota sedan and all dive gear were seized as evidence.

On Feb. 19, five days after being released from jail for the last poaching incident, Wang and Trevors were spotted using SCUBA gear to poach abalone from a rented kayak in Van Damme State Park. For approximately two hours, wardens watched as the partners kayaked into the ocean and collected 55 abalone. The men returned to shore, stashed the abalone near the beach and drove to the Sub-Surface Progression dive shop in Fort Bragg to return the rented kayak. Wardens contacted the pair at the dive shop. Both men were arrested and booked into Mendocino County Jail. Wardens recovered the hidden abalone and Trevors’ vehicle and all related dive gear were seized.

Despite aggressive enforcement and prosecution, wardens have noticed an increase in abalone poaching over the last few years, on the Sonoma and Mendocino coasts in particular. “For many abalone poachers, the profit from the illegal sale of abalone clearly outweighs the risks of getting caught,” said DFG Assistant Chief Tony Warrington.
Abalone season closed Dec. 1, and does not reopen until April 1.

For more information, please see www.dfg.ca.gov/news/news10/2010062401-Poaching-Sonoma-Mendocino.html.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News