Carlsbad Area Lagoon Undergoing Habitat Restoration and Maintenance

Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944
Warren Wong, DFG Lands Program, (858) 467-4249

Carlsbad area residents will see some increased activity at Batiquitos Lagoon this fall. The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) will be commencing a maintenance dredging operation at the Ecological Reserve beginning in November.

The 542 acres of vast eelgrass beds, mudflats and both salt and freshwater marsh habitats support the many fish and avian species that inhabit the area. The land is jointly owned by DFG and the State Lands Commission and both have the responsibility for conservation and preservation of the resources in the lagoon. The State Lands Commission is partnering with DFG to provide contracting assistance to ensure the project is completed on time and within budget.

The project will remove 118,000 cubic yards of beach-quality sand that has been drawn in from the ocean at the mouth, accumulating to form a shoal in the central basin (between I-5 and the railroad tracks) that hinders the flow of incoming and outgoing tides. During this fall’s operation, the dredged sand from within the central basin will be pumped onto South Ponto Beach to the south of the lagoon inlet, where it will provide habitat for grunion and shorebirds and enhance the recreational experience for beachgoers.

Regular dredging and maintenance is needed in the basin to maintain the valuable and pristine habitat for the species that live there. This area has been dredged several times since 1995. The Port of Los Angeles provided maintenance funding to DFG to manage and protect the habitat.

DFG will address erosion concerns in the western basin during a later phase of the project. Two nesting areas for California least terns (Sternula antillarum browni) and western snowy plovers (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus) were created in the western basin during the original restoration project. Unprotected edges of these sites have experienced ongoing erosion, resulting in loss of nesting habitat and steep, unstable slopes. Bulldozers will be used to push sand from the basin to reestablish these areas and improve shoreline habitat while enhancing open water for plover and tern foraging.

Warden Academy Application Deadline Approaches

Media Contacts:    
Patrick Foy, DFG Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-2084
Lt. Jeffrey Longwell, DFG Law Enforcement Division, (916) 653-7726
 
Applications are now being accepted for the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Warden Academy at Butte College in Oroville. The academy will begin in January 2013 and is scheduled to end in September 2013. The application deadline is Nov. 4, 2011.
 
An increase in the number of applications received is expected as a result of the first season of “Wild Justice,” a reality show that premiered on the National Geographic Channel in November 2010. The popular show chronicles California game wardens’ efforts to combat poachers and polluters.
 
“‘Wild Justice’ has given many hopeful candidates a clear picture of the intensive law enforcement nature of a game warden,” said DFG recruiter Lt. Jeff Longwell. “Game wardens are charged with ensuring public safety, investigating illegal sales of wildlife and parts thereof, protecting the state from pollution, enforcing habitat protection laws, fighting illegal drug trafficking, keeping the homeland secure and responding during natural disasters.”
 
A typical day for a California game warden is as diverse as the state’s fish and wildlife. Wardens have the opportunity to patrol ocean, desert, mountain and valley environments, as well as California’s urban areas. They frequently work independently and conduct full-scale law enforcement investigations. Wardens employ everything from all-terrain vehicles to jet skis to snowmobiles while on patrol, and spend much of a typical day making contact with Californians in the great outdoors. DFG has a dive team and uses K-9 partners as well. Environmental crimes and pollution incidents also fall under the purview of game wardens. Annually, wardens make contact with more than 295,000 people and issue more than 15,000 citations for violations of the law.
 
Successful lateral academy applicants will enter a 30-week program, followed by at least three three-week long training assignments where they will work with a seasoned field training officer.
 
DFG’s academy at Butte College is Peace Officer Standards and Training certified. Cadets are trained to be police officers with specific emphasis on working as wardens.
In California, with 159,000 square miles that offer habitat and wildlife diversity unequaled by any other state, the average warden has a patrol district of more than 600 square miles. The state has more than 1,100 miles of coastline, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,800 lakes and reservoirs, three desert habitat areas and scores of high mountain peaks.
 
More information and applications are available at www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement. Applications are now being accepted online and must be postmarked by the due date above.
 
To learn more about game wardens, please view DFG’s recruitment videos at www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/career.

Registration Opens for Nature Bowl Science and Conservation Competition

Media Contacts:
Bruce Forman, DFG Interpretive Services, (916) 358-2353 or (916) 591-1161
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

A girl and a boy sitting on a lawn, working on projects.
2011 Nature Bowl competitors. JoeFerreira/DFG photo.

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) invites parents and teachers to help their children have fun learning about California’s natural resources. Registration is now open for the 28th annual Nature Bowl, an elementary school activity-based competition held each spring. This popular program increases the science and conservation literacy of third- to sixth-grade students in the Sacramento Valley and Foothills.

“The participants learn about the natural environments where they live, as well as how to employ teamwork, creativity and critical thinking,” said Nature Bowl Coordinator Bruce Forman.

The Nature Bowl is open to students from any school, group or organized youth club in the area. Teams will consist of three to seven children each. The day-long, semi-final events are held during March and April in El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. Several groups will advance to the final event that will be held May 5, 2012.

Prior to the semi-finals, there will be a series of workshops for coaches. Integrating environmental science concepts and conservation information into the classroom curriculum (following the State Science Standards), these workshops help prepare students for the competition. Teachers, youth group leaders or parents may sign up to coach a team. The entry fee for each team is $20, which pays for materials provided.

A coaches’ workshop will be held on Jan. 17, 2012 from 3:45 to 5 p.m. at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery in Rancho Cordova. Make reservations by calling (916) 358-2884. Students in Sacramento County will have a choice of two semi-finals to attend at Nimbus Fish Hatchery in Gold River, on April 10 or April 12.

For more information about the Nature Bowl please call DFG at (916) 358-2353 or go to the DFG website at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/education/Naturebowl.

Proposed SHARE Regulations Now Available for Public Comment

Media Contacts:
Victoria Barr, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-4034
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is proposing to add a section to the California Code of Regulations, Title 14. The regulations proposed clarify and make specific the landowner enrollment process, the public application and permit issuance process and the general operating conditions for the Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program.

The proposed regulations (Section 602) will be available for public review and comment from Oct. 14 through Nov. 28, 2011. They are available on the DFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/share.

All comments must be received by DFG no later than 5 p.m. Nov. 28, 2011. Comments can be e-mailed to vbarr@dfg.ca.gov, mailed or hand-delivered to:

Victoria Barr
Department of Fish and Game
1812 Ninth St.
Sacramento, CA 95811

Comments received by the due date will be considered before the regulations are adopted. Questions about the regulations should be directed to Victoria Barr, Environmental Scientist, at (916) 445-4034 or vbarr@dfg.ca.gov.

Good Dog Bites Bad Guys

Media Contact:
Warden Pat Foy, DFG Law Enforcement, (916) 651-2084
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

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A California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) K-9 and her handler have proven to be a great asset in the war against drugs in northern California. Belgian Malinois Phebe and her handler, Warden Brian Boyd, have been responsible for the apprehension of 40 fleeing marijuana cultivation suspects on grow sites hidden deep in forestland.

“Apprehension of marijuana cultivation suspects is some of the most dangerous work wardens do,” said Lt. Lynette Shimek, coordinator of DFG’s K-9 program. “Marijuana cultivation suspects are actively engaged in the commission of a felony, usually armed, extremely physically fit, and know the area better than their pursuers. Although most initial contacts with suspects result in foot pursuits, they can’t outrun Phebe.”

DFG has eight K-9s that are trained to detect illegal substances and objects, protect their handlers and apprehend fleeing suspects. Phebe and Warden Boyd, who have been partnered for three and a half years, have fine-tuned their apprehension strategy with great success. Phebe apprehended 13 of the 40 suspects with a bite, while the rest gave up under the threat of being bitten.

Phebe’s recent successes include:

• A July 25 police raid on a known grow site in Mendocino County resulted in a foot pursuit after two suspects fled. One suspect was quickly apprehended by Phebe and detained by the law enforcement team. Warden Boyd immediately put Phebe on the trail of the second suspect, who called out “Don’t let that dog bite me!” before surrendering to officers. Phebe was commanded to hold the suspect without biting him, which she did.

• During a July 28 a police raid of a site in Tehama County, the team contacted five suspects who subsequently ignored the officers’ commands and fled. One officer apprehended a suspect with his Tazer and two additional suspects were captured immediately. Warden Boyd, Phebe, and partner Warden Aaron Galwey set off after the other two. After pushing through extremely dense foliage for 400 yards upstream, Phebe located a suspect and apprehended him. Over an hour later, when Phebe was searching the area for evidence, she sniffed out the fifth suspect hiding in thick cover. Warden Boyd was able to detain the suspect without injury. Phebe then went on to locate the suspects’ ammunition stores hidden in a plastic bag in heavy brush.

Two of Phebe’s apprehensions have been filmed for Wild Justice, National Geographic’s reality television series highlighting the work of California game wardens. Videographers from Original Productions, the producers of the series, attached a camera to Phebe’s collar to give viewers a never-before-seen view point of an apprehension.

One of the apprehensions was aired during the first season of Wild Justice, which began in November 2010. The other apprehension will be shown on the upcoming second season. The air date of the season premiere has not yet been announced.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News