DFG Offers Wildflower Tours of North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve

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

Public Contact: (916) 358-2869

Join a California Department of Fish and Game naturalist for a tour of North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve near Oroville. Tour leaders and local field experts will point out and discuss the area’s unique geology, vernal pools, waterfalls, wildflowers and wildlife.

Tours will be offered Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., from Feb. 26 through May 7, when flowers are in bloom. Each tour is limited to 25 participants. Registration is required in advance on the DFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/lands/er/region2/northtable.html. These tours were extremely popular in 2010, so early registration is recommended. Additional information and photos can also be found on this webpage.

These two-hour tours cover up to two miles of moderate hiking over fields of uneven and rocky terrain, without established trails. Some small stream crossings and hill climbing may be required. Hikers should wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes and bring your own water and snacks, as neither are available onsite. Dogs are not allowed on these tours.

The tours are free, but registrants are encouraged to make a donation online to the California Wildlife Foundation to support this program.

If you are unable to register online, or need more information please call DFG Interpretive Services at (916) 358-2869.

Young Hunters Invited to Participate in Youth Waterfowl Hunt

Contacts:
Patrick Foy, DFG Enforcement, (916) 651-2084
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

One of the best youth hunting opportunities in California is coming up the weekend of Feb 5-6, 2011. For two days, young hunters will be able to hunt waterfowl with no competition from adults. These two days of waterfowl season are only for youth hunters age 15 years old or younger with a junior hunting license.

“The youth waterfowl hunt is about providing an opportunity for kids to develop a passion for hunting,” said Nancy Foley, Chief of DFG’s Law Enforcement Division.

Waterfowl season closes Jan. 30, 2011 for the majority of the state. For the weekend of Feb. 5-6, it will reopen statewide for youth hunters who are accompanied by a non-hunting adult. All usual waterfowl hunting regulations apply.

DFG’s wildlife areas throughout the state provide ample opportunity for the hunt. The hunting is usually excellent on the youth hunt weekend and most areas are vastly underutilized.

While the kids are on school break over the holidays, adults who are familiar with the application system can walk their youth hunters through the reservation application process. The application deadline for the Feb. 5 hunt is Jan. 19, while the deadline for the Feb. 6 hunt is Jan. 20. To learn how to apply, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/waterfowl/waterfowlresinfo.html.

Youth hunters do not need a reservation if they have legal access to other waterfowl hunting areas such as a private duck club or other area accessible to the public.

“Hunters are a critical component in the future of wildlife conservation,” added Chief Foley. “And these kids are the future of hunting.”

Fishing for Holiday Ideas? Buy a 2011 License for Your Favorite Angler

Media Contacts:
Richard Reyes, DFG License and Revenue Branch, (916) 928-6899
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

Public contact:
Glenn Underwood (916) 928-5841

If you’re looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for the angler in your life, the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has a suggestion. Beginning Jan. 1, anglers 16 years of age and older will need a new annual sport fishing license to take or pursue any fish, shellfish, reptile or amphibian in California (including catch-and-release fishing) in 2011. And this holiday season, DFG’s new real-time Automated License Data System (ALDS) is streamlining the process and making it easier than ever to give a gift that will bring joy year-round.

Especially developed for DFG, ALDS provides customers with immediate access to DFG’s license inventory, which in most cases eliminates the need to visit a DFG office or to wait for your license to arrive in the mail. The new system is now in place at DFG license sales offices and at select license agent locations (for a list of these locations, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/pdffiles/ActiveLicenseAgents.pdf). ALDS will be implemented at other locations statedwide by early January 2011.

To buy a license for yourself or someone else, you must be able to provide all required information, including date of birth, address, phone number and physical description. If you want to buy a license for someone else but don’t have all of their required information, you can also purchase a gift license voucher at a point-of-sale site and the recipient can exchange it for an annual 2011 sport fishing license. Vouchers are available from any ALDS agent.

The 2011 sport fishing licenses can also be purchased online at www.dfg.ca.gov/OnlineSales. At this time, vouchers are not available for online purchase.

A California sport fishing license offers a full year of more fishing opportunities than any other state in the country. California has 1,100 miles of ocean coastline, 4,172 lakes and reservoirs, 29,664 miles of streams and rivers, and 1,800 miles of bay and Delta waters. A sport fishing license is an angler’s passport to these amazing opportunities.

In addition to native fresh and saltwater fish, the DFG trout hatcheries will plant roughly 7 million rainbow trout in 2011 and salmon hatcheries annually release more than 20 million young salmon. Those are millions of reasons to give the angler on your holiday gift list a 2011 California Sport Fishing License.

Anglers 16 years or older are required to have a valid sport fishing license to take any kind of fish, mollusk, invertebrate or reptile (except for rattlesnakes).

Along with a sport fishing license, the DFG California Fishing Passport Program challenges anglers to fish their way around the state in search of 150 different fish and shellfish species. And like a traveler’s passport book, for each successful catch, participants will receive special stamps in their books to mark their accomplishments.

For more information about the Passport Program, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/fishingpassport. To learn more about ALDS, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing.

Application Deadlines Approach for Junior and Family Game Bird Heritage Hunts

Contacts:
Nick Bechtel, DFG Game Bird Heritage Program, (805) 965-3059
Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944

Deadlines are approaching to apply for Apprentice Family and Junior pheasant hunts at three locations in the Southern California region. All hunts require an application be completed and submitted to the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) as space is limited. Applications can be submitted on DFG’s website (www.dfg.ca.gov).

All three events are Game Bird Heritage Apprentice Family and Junior pheasant hunts and will be held on private lands. Hunt dates and applications deadlines are as follows:

  • New Cuyama, Calif. (Santa Barbara County) will host morning and afternoon hunts on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011 on private lands west of New Cuyama. The deadline to apply for these hunts is Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010.
  • Peace Valley (Los Angeles County) will host hunts on Saturday, Jan. 15and Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011 on private lands near Highway 138 and Interstate 5. There will be morning and afternoon hunts both days. The deadline to apply for these hunts is Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010.
  • Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve (San Diego County) will host hunts on Saturday, Feb. 5 and Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011 on state-owned land about 40 miles east of San Diego. There will be morning and afternoon hunts both days. The deadline to apply for these hunts is Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011.

These special hunts are provided by DFG’s Game Bird Heritage Program, in cooperation with many volunteer organizations. Game Bird Heritage Special Hunts are intended to provide beginning-level educational activities that support Hunter Education programs and to encourage the participation of apprentice hunters, as well as to provide additional public hunting opportunities for upland game birds on both public and private lands.

For information on eligibility or other details please contact Nick Bechtel at (805) 965-3059.

California Fish and Game Commission Gives Final Approval for South Coast Marine Protected Areas

Contacts:
Adrianna Shea, Fish and Game Commission, (916) 508-5262
Jordan Traverso, DFG Communications, (916) 654-9937

The California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) adopted regulations to create a new suite of marine protected areas (MPAs) in Southern California. At a Commission meeting in Santa Barbara today, the regulations were adopted as part of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), which requires California to reexamine and redesign its system of MPAs with the goals to, among other things, increase the effectiveness of MPAs in protecting the state’s marine life and habitats, marine ecosystems and marine natural heritage.

Informed by recommendations generated through a two-year public planning process, the regulations will create 36 new MPAs encompassing approximately 187 square miles (8 percent) of state waters in the study region. Approximately 116 square miles (4.9 percent) have been designated as no-take state marine reserves (82.5 square miles/3.5 percent) and no-take state marine conservation areas (33.5 square miles/1.4 percent), with the remainder designated as state marine conservation areas with different take allowances and varying levels of protection. In addition to approving the MPA regulations, the Commission also certified the environmental impact report prepared pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act.

The public planning process for the south coast region, from Point Conception in Santa Barbara County to the California border with Mexico, began in July 2008 and included more than 50 days of meetings with formal public comment held for a 64-member Regional Stakeholder Group, a Science Advisory Team and a Blue Ribbon Task Force appointed by the Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency. In addition, greater than 12,000 written public comments were submitted through the regulatory and environmental review processes to help inform recommendations on south coast region MPAs.

The California Department of Fish and Game, the lead agency charged with managing the state’s marine resources, will be responsible for implementing the MLPA program which will include enforcement, education, monitoring and research activities. The south coast MPA regulations are anticipated to go into effect in mid 2011 after appropriate filings with the Office of Administrative Law and the Secretary of State.

The south coast study region is the third of five study regions to complete the planning process under the MLPA. Once implemented, the south coast MPAs will join the MPAs currently in place from the central and north central coast study regions to form a network ranging approximately 875 miles from the California border with Mexico to Alder Creek near Point Arena in Mendocino County. The Commission will receive recommendations for the north coast study region from the north coast blue ribbon task force in February which will mark the start of the formal regulatory process and planning is under way to develop the planning process for San Francisco Bay, the fifth and final study region.

The existing MPAs in the northern Channel Islands, which encompass an additional 168 square miles and 7 percent of state waters in the study region were not modified as part of this decision.

A map of the decisions made today can be viewed at www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/pdfs/scmpas121510.pdf.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News