DFG Extends Public Comment Period Regarding Mountain Yellow-Legged Frogs

Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 344-8944
Mitch Lockhart, DFG Fisheries Branch (530) 906-3934

The public comment period regarding the proposed listing of mountain yellow-legged frogs is extended until April 1, 2011. The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) public comment website malfunctioned and comments could not be submitted electronically. Because of this, the public comment period is extended by two weeks.

All comments or other information must be submitted in writing by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 1, 2011.  Comments can be e-mailed to MYLF@dfg.ca.gov or mailed to:

Fisheries Branch – High Mountain Lakes Program
Department of Fish and Game
Attn: Mitch Lockhart
830 S St.
Sacramento, CA 95811

Comments received by the due date will be included in the status evaluation report being prepared for the Commission. The report, which is due to be completed at or before the September 2011 Commission meeting, will address existing threats to mountain yellow-legged frogs and the effectiveness of the current regulations regarding the species. The public will also have a 30-day comment period after issuance of the report.

DFG is now accepting public comment on a proposal to add two species of frogs to California’s endangered species list. The proposal, initiated by the Center for Biological Diversity, addresses the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (Rana sierrae) and the southern mountain yellow-legged frog (Rana muscosa), collectively known as mountain yellow-legged frogs.

The public is invited to submit relevant scientific data or comments about mountain yellow-legged frogs’ taxonomic status, ecology, biology, life history, management recommendations, distribution, abundance, threats and essential habitat, or other factors related to the status of the species.

Spring Turkey Season to Open March 26

Media Contacts:
Scott Gardner, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 801-6257
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988
California’s 2011 spring turkey season will open statewide on March 26. The general season will extend through May 1. In addition, archers may hunt turkeys through May 15, and holders of junior hunting licenses are permitted to hunt with shotguns through May 15.In December 2008, the Fish and Game Commission adopted regulations allowing special hunt dates for youth hunters before and after the general season. In addition to the general season, youth hunters who have a valid junior hunting license may hunt this year on March 19-20 and May 2-15. Please note that the season remains closed to all hunters – both youth and adult – between March 21 and the official opening day, March 26. 

Shooting hours for spring turkeys are from one-half hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. Both a hunting license and upland game bird stamp are required to hunt turkeys, although an upland stamp is not required for hunters with junior licenses. The bag limit is one bearded turkey per day and no more than a total of three turkeys during the general, archery and apprentice junior seasons combined.Wild turkeys are a very popular game bird in California. The statewide population is estimated at 240,000 birds. In 2008 (the most recent year of compiled information), DFG’s game take hunter survey estimated that 24,068 hunters bagged 20,553 turkeys during the spring season. An additional 5,724 were taken during the fall season. In 2008, 10 counties accounted for 55.5 percent of the statewide spring harvest: El Dorado, Mendocino, Placer, Sonoma, Shasta, Yuba, Butte, San Diego, Napa and Lake. 

For places to hunt turkeys, DFG recommends that hunters refer to the “Guide to Hunting Wild Turkeys in California” on DFG’s website at www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/docs/turkeyguide.pdf. DFG also offers several special hunts for turkeys that are open to a limited number of hunters. Information and applications can be found in the California Hunting Digest at www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/digest.

Hunters are encouraged to check DFG’s special hunts website for more information at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/uplandgame/gamebird/SpecialHunts/SpringTurkey.

DFG Biologists Investigate Sardine Die-Off in Southern California

Media Contact: Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 201-2958

State biologists are running tests on a dozen dead fish from the Redondo Beach Harbor to determine the cause of a massive die-off Tuesday.

Approximately one million dead sardines were discovered in the Redondo Beach harbor Tuesday morning, initially raising concerns about possible water contamination. Water samples tested on-site Tuesday were clear of contamination, but California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) wardens collected about a dozen dead fish to send via overnight mail to the DFG laboratory in Rancho Cordova, where biologists will run tests to confirm that the die-off was not due to toxins in the water.

Because all the dead fish were contained in one area of the harbor, officials believe that the most likely culprit was oxygen deprivation. Recent storms could have caused the school of sardines to swim around the breakwater and into the enclosed harbor, where they were trapped and unable to get out before depleting the water of oxygen.

Although this is not a common occurrence, biologists say that it can happen under certain conditions.

The city of Redondo Beach activated its crisis response team Tuesday and by noon, more than 50 volunteers were scooping fish with nets. The dead fish were transported to a collection center, where they will be recycled into fertilizer. The harbor remained open throughout the day and continues to remain open.

Biologists at the northern California laboratory expect to complete their testing by early next week, and DFG wardens will continue to monitor the harbor.

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

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.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News