Tag Archives: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Euthanasia Drugs Reach the Wrong Animals

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has confirmed that several turkey vultures have been poisoned from the veterinary euthanasia drug pentobarbital in Marin County.

Six turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) were brought to the WildCare Wildlife Hospital in San Rafael between July and October 2014. All the birds were comatose and barely breathing, presenting a medical mystery to the wildlife hospital staff.

With immediate and intensive medical intervention all of the birds recovered, and digestive samples were sent to a laboratory to determine what made them sick. CDFW confirmed pentobarbital exposure in all birds tested, but the source of the exposure remains unknown.

Pentobarbital is a drug used by veterinarians to euthanize companion animals, livestock and horses. If the remains of animals euthanized with pentobarbital are not properly disposed of after death, scavenging wildlife – such as turkey vultures and eagles – can be poisoned. Veterinarians and animal owners are responsible for disposing of animal remains properly by legal methods such as cremation or deep burial.

Turkey vultures are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and California Fish and Game Code. Improperly disposed-of euthanized remains are a danger to all scavenging wildlife.

Members of the veterinary and livestock communities are asked to share this information with colleagues in an effort to prevent further incidents.

WildCare also asks the public to pay attention to grounded turkey vultures and other raptors and scavengers.

Pentobarbital-poisoned birds appear to be dead. They have no reflex response and breathing can barely be detected. The birds appear intact, without wounds or obvious trauma. Anyone finding a comatose vulture should call WildCare’s 24-hour Hotline at (415) 456-SAVE (7283) immediately.

Read more about one pentobarbital-poisoned turkey vulture patient and the astonishing medical intervention required to save its life at http://www.wildcarebayarea.org/vulture. WildCare also has numerous photos and videos of the animals in care, as well as release footage.

Media Contacts:
Alison Hermance, WildCare, (415) 453-1000, ext. 24, alisonhermance@wildcarebayarea.org
Stella McMillin, CDFW Wildlife Investigations Lab, (916) 358-2954
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

Help Endangered Species With Your Tax Return

Would you like to help protect California’s rare, threatened and endangered species? The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites you to do that by making a voluntary contribution to the Rare and Endangered Species Protection Program and/or the

two sea otters floating on their backs, touching forepaws, with caption "Will U Be My Valentine?"
California Sea Otter Fund Valentine. Joe Robertson photo used with permission.

California Sea Otter Fund on your California income tax return. Just enter the dollar amount you wish to donate on lines 403 and/or 410 of your tax return (form 540). If you itemize deductions, you can deduct the amount you donate on next year’s return.

“Donations to these funds have helped CDFW study species that are in trouble, determine what they need to thrive and develop ways to improve their health and populations,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “Californians continue to show they understand and care about threatened and endangered species, and the need to protect their habitat.”

One of CDFW’s tax donation funds facilitates recovery of the southern sea otter, which is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act and as a Fully Protected Species under state law. A 2014 survey indicated there are fewer than 3,000 sea otters in California waters – a fraction of their historic numbers. This small population is vulnerable to oil spills, environmental pollution, predation by white sharks and other threats.

Donations to the California Sea Otter Fund support research by CDFW scientists, who are currently studying 15 years of sea otter mortality information and recently discovered viruses not previously known in sea otters. These studies should provide a better understanding of mortality causes and contribute to population recovery efforts.

Donations to the Rare and Endangered Species Protection Program support numerous conservation projects for California’s rare, threatened and endangered species, including:

a dark gray salamander on wet dirt
Santa Cruz Long-Toed Salamander. David Laabs photo.
  • Santa Cruz long-toed salamander: Known to exist in only a few locations in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. CDFW works with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Santa Cruz County Resource Conservation District to create and enhance habitat for this species on preserves that have been set aside for its conservation.

    Small island fox pup held in gloved hands
    Island fox pup. Deana Clifford photo
  • Island fox: Small foxes that live on the Channel Islands off of Southern California. CDFW has worked with public and private partners to increase the number of foxes on all of the islands from a few hundred to more than 5,800 foxes.
  • Yellow-billed cuckoo: Rare and secretive birds that have declined markedly with the destruction of riparian habitat in California. CDFW is working with multiple partners to survey and monitor them and to implement recovery actions.

    Brown and orange giant garter snake
    Female orange giant garter snake. Eric Hansen photo
  • Giant garter snake: A highly aquatic snake whose marsh habitat in the Central Valley has likely been further reduced in some areas by drought. CDFW has been working with the multiple partners to ensure water is delivered to important areas for the species’ survival.

    Tan and brown giant garter snake
    Female, standard brown giant garter snake. Eric Hansen photo
  • California tiger salamander: The vernal pools that this species typically breeds in have also likely been impacted by the drought in some areas. CDFW is working with multiple partners to coordinate studies of these colorful salamanders and to protect their habitat.

    a dark gray salamander on wet dirt
    Santa Cruz Long-Toed Salamander. David Laabs photo.

CDFW biologists have been able to achieve important recovery milestones to conserve vulnerable species, thanks to California taxpayers like you. More information about how CDFW uses funds in the Rare and Endangered Species Protection and Sea Otter programs is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Tax-Donation and www.facebook.com/SeaOtterFundCDFW.

If someone else prepares your state tax return, please let him or her know you want to donate to the California Sea Otter Fund on line 410 or the Rare and Endangered Species Protection Program on line 403. If you use Turbo Tax, when you’re near the end of your tax return it should ask if you want to make a voluntary contribution to a special fund. Click “Yes” and go to lines 403 and 410.

The state has listed more than 200 species of plants and 80 species of animals as rare, threatened or endangered. Money raised through the tax donation program helps pay for essential CDFW research and recovery efforts for these plants and animals, and critical efforts to restore and conserve their habitat.

Media Contacts:
Laird Henkel, Sea Otter Program, (831) 469-1726
Esther Burkett, CDFW Nongame Wildlife Program, (916) 531-1594
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

CDFW Researchers are Monitoring Band-tailed Pigeon Mortality

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is closely monitoring the population of band-tailed pigeons for mortality this winter. Band-tailed pigeons are California’s only native pigeon. They spend their winter from central to Southern California primarily inhabiting oak woodland and conifer forests. In late winter into early spring, band-tailed pigeons will migrate north into northern California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Band-tailed pigeons are a different species than rock pigeons (also called city, urban or barn pigeons), which were introduced into North America from Europe.

Large flocks of band-tailed pigeons, sometimes up to 200 birds, have been observed in numerous coastal locations from the San Francisco Bay Area south into Santa Barbara County and in the San Bernardino Mountains. Increased mortality has been reported in several of these areas since mid-December. CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory has evaluated carcasses from these locations and determined the cause of mortality to be Avian Trichomonosis.

Avian Trichomonosis is a disease caused by a single-celled microscopic protozoan parasite, typically Trichomonas gallinae, which only infects birds. The parasite lives in the mouth and throat of infected birds, causing caseous (“cheese-like”) lesions in the birds’ mouth or esophagus. The lesions eventually block the passage of food, causing the bird to become weak and emaciated. Infected birds die from starvation or suffocation if the lesions block the airway. Non-native rock pigeons are thought to be the source of infection for native bird species.

The CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Lab is asking residents to be on the lookout for band-tailed pigeons this winter and to report any sick or dead pigeons. This information helps CDFW  determine how many pigeons die during these mortality events and consequently, how these events may impact the overall population. Mortality can be reported using the following link: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Laboratories/Wildlife-Investigations/Monitoring/Mortality-Report or by phone at (916) 358-2790.

If sick birds are observed, please contact a local wildlife rehabilitation center for advice.  The list of CDFW licensed centers can be found at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/WIL/rehab/facilities.html.

Additionally, residents can help reduce transmission of the disease by removing artificial sources of food and water (bird baths and fountains). Bird feeders and artificial water sources may increase disease transmission between individual band-tailed pigeons, and possibly other bird species, because it brings the birds into closer contact than is normal.

Media Contacts:
Krysta Rogers, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 358-1662
Levi Souza, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3709
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its November 20 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $26 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 16 funded projects will provide benefits to fish and wildlife – including some endangered species – while others will provide the public with access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, land owners and the local community. The funds for all these projects come from bond initiatives approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Some of the funded projects include:

  • A $5 million grant to Western Rivers Conservancy for a cooperative project with the State Coastal Conservancy, Wyss Foundation, the Yurok Tribe and the New Market Tax Credit Program to acquire approximately 6,479 acres of land for the protection of a mixed conifer forest property that includes riparian corridors, salmonid streams, coastal watershed and habitat linkages near the town of Klamath, traversing both Humboldt and Del Norte Counties.
  • A $450,000 grant to Ducks Unlimited, Inc. for a cooperative project with the State Water Quality Control Board, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Caltrans to restore and enhance salt marsh, riparian forest and tidal sloughs on approximately 356 acres of formal tidal habitat on 2.5 miles of the Salt River channel, three miles northwest of Ferndale and one mile from the mouth of the Eel River in Humboldt County.
  • A $9 million grant to the Pacific Forest Trust for a cooperative project with the California Department of Transportation to acquire a forest conservation easement over approximately 12,644 acres of land to protect working forest lands, forest reserve areas, watersheds, fisheries and habitat linkages covering a significant portion of the upper watershed of the McCloud River, near the town of McCloud, traversing both Siskiyou and Shasta Counties. The upper McCloud River is considered by the Regional Water Quality Control Board as one of the most pristine rivers in northern California, providing important fisheries habitat and quality drinking water for much of California.
  • A $2 million grant to Reclamation District 2035 (RD 2035) for a cooperative project with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Water Resources and the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency to construct a new screened water intake for RD 2035, the largest remaining unscreened intake on the Sacramento River north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This proposed project is located five miles east of Woodland on privately owned land on the west bank of the Sacramento River levee, approximately one-half mile north of Interstate 5, in Yolo County.
  • A $1.2 million grant to the National Forest Foundation for a cooperative project with the U.S. Forest Service, Alcoa, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens, Oakwood School and Los Angeles Conservation Corp to restore and enhance riparian and chaparral habitats within the Big Tujunga Canyon in Angeles National Forest, immediately east of the City of Los Angeles in Los Angeles County.
  • A $650,000 grant to the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains for a cooperative project with Caltrans, Los Angeles County, a private landowner, and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority to enhance an existing undercrossing to allow wildlife to cross Highway 101, approximately nine miles east of Thousand Oaks in Los Angeles County.
  • A $3.3 million grant to the Imperial Irrigation District for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Water Resources to construct approximately 640 acres of shallow saline water habitat identified as part of the Salton Sea Species Conservation Habitat Project, at the mouth of the New River approximately ten miles west of Calipatria in Imperial County.

For more information about the WCB please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, WCB Executive Director, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

CDFW Resumes Trout Planting in Kern and Tulare County Waterways

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has started planting catchable rainbow trout in Kern and Tulare County rivers and lakes last month after water temperatures cooled enough to ensure success.

The first fish from the Kern River Hatchery were put into the Kern River above Kernville and more fish will be planted from the hatchery as water temperatures continue to drop. Ming, River Walk, Truxton and other lakes around Bakersfield have also been stocked with catchable-sized rainbow trout, with others to follow.

“The lower water levels and higher temperatures in the Kern River forced us to stop planting fish over the summer,” said hatchery supervisor Greg Kollenborn. “In the last month we have planted about 20,000 fish into local rivers and lakes.”

The Kern River is not only a viable trout stream, but it also supplies the water for the hatchery.  As winter approaches, the water temperature in the river is now cold enough to support the trout held in the hatchery. Kern River Hatchery typically releases about 175,000  trout every year.

Hatchery officials anticipate that water temperatures will remain cool enough to maintain a normal stocking schedule throughout the remainder of the year.

The complete statewide planting schedule can be found here.

Media Contact:
Greg Kollenborn, CDFW Central Region Hatcheries, (559) 903-6917
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Final Poacher Sentenced from 2013 Abalone Sting Operation

After almost a year of court procedures, the last of 18 abalone poachers arrested in a 2013 sting has been sentenced. All 18 suspects were found guilty or pled no contest to the charges.

On Aug. 29, 2013, California wildlife officers simultaneously served 13 search/arrest warrants throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento on 18 suspected abalone poachers. The last of the 18, Dung Tri Bui of San Leandro, was recently found guilty in Mendocino County Superior Court after a week long jury trial. Bui was convicted of three misdemeanor counts, including take of abalone for commercial use, conspiracy to take abalone for commercial purposes and take of abalone greater than the daily limit. He was sentenced to 36 months summary probation, $15,000 fine and a lifetime ban on fishing (including the take of abalone). Deputy District Attorney (DDA) Daniel Madow presented the case.

In total, $139,883 in fines and 11 fishing license revocations were handed out to the 18 subjects. All of the subjects received summary probation ranging from one to three years. All seized dive gear was ordered forfeited by the court. Mendocino DDAs Heidi Larson and Tim Stoen and support staff also spent a tremendous amount of time on these cases along with numerous staff from the Sacramento District Attorney’s office.

“We had excellent support from the respective District Attorney’s offices for taking these crimes seriously and prosecuting the poachers to the full extent of the law,” said Asst. Chief Brian Naslund of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Law Enforcement Division. “The gear forfeiture, fines and lifetime fishing license revocations for California’s worst poaching offenders will hopefully put them out of the poaching business permanently.”

Poachers Charges Revoked Fine Probation
SF Bay Area
Khoa Dang Nguyen 5521.5 Life fish/hunt $15,000 36 months
Chinh Quan Le 5521.5 Life fish/hunt $15,000 36 months
Hung Vo 5521.5 Lifetime fishing $15,000 24 months
Toi Van Nguyen 5521.5 Life fish/hunt $15,000 24 months
Dung Tri Bui 5521.5, PC 182, 29.15[c] Lifetime fishing $15,000 36 months
Hai Van Ha 5521.5, PC 182, Lifetime abalone $1,353.50 24 months
Duoc Van Nguyen 5521.5, PC 182 Lifetime abalone $1,353.50 24 months
Andy Phan 2000/29.15 [c] Lifetime abalone $1,537 24 months
Charlie Le PC 182 No $1,420 24 months
Nhan Trung Le PC 182, 2000/29.15[c] No $1,888 24 months
Suong Hung Tran 29.15[c] No $1,771 24 months
Chuyen Van Bui 1052[f] No $1,303 24 months
Diep van Nguyen 2000/29.15[c] No $1,537 12 months
Khoa Ngoc Nguyen 29.16[b] No $1,420 12 months
Sacramento
Dung Van Nguyen 5521.5, PC 115 (a) (F) Lifetime fishing $15,000 32 mo State prison
Tho Thanh Phan 5521.5 Lifetime fishing $15,000 24 months
Hiep Ho 5521.5 Lifetime fishing $20,000 26 months
Hung Van Le 2000, 29.16(a) No $1,303 24 months

PC 115 Forgery of government documents
PC 182 Conspiracy to commit a crime
F&G Code 5521.5 Unlawful to take abalone for commercial purposes
F&G Code 2000 Unlawful possession of California’s fish and wildlife
F&G Code 1052 Unlawful use of another’s hunting/fishing license
Title 14 – 29.15 abalone overlimit
Title 14 – 29.16 abalone report card violations

The original press release announcing the bust can be found at
https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/cdfw-officers-arrest-13-poaching-suspects-in-oakland-and-sacramento/.

The case was investigated by the CDFW Special Operations Unit, a specialized team of wildlife officers tasked with investigating illegal black market sales of California’s fish and wildlife resources.

Media Contact:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

November 2014 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

Media Contacts:
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

DATE — EVENT

Weekends — Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve. Docent-led walks are scheduled every Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Binoculars and bird books are available for the public to borrow at no cost. The visitor center and main overlook are fully accessible. Day use fee is $4.32 per person, age 16 and older. Groups of 10 or more should schedule a separate tour. For more information, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/lands/er/region4/elkhorn.html.

Every Monday (except holidays) Volunteer Stewardship Field Crew Mondays at Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve,1700 Elkhorn Road, Royal Oaks (95076), 10 a.m. to noon. Help preserve natural habitat by collecting seeds, planting, helping to maintain trails and weeding introduced species. For more information, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/lands/er/region4/elkhorn.html .

Weekends — Sandhill Crane Wetland Tour at the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve
CDFW public tours are available to view greater and lesser sandhill cranes at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve outside of Lodi, W. Woodbridge Rd. (95242). Tour registration is posted six weeks in advance. For more information about tour times during the first three Saturdays and Sunday of the fall and winter months, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regions/3/Crane-Tour.

Weekends — Guided Wildlife Tours at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 12:30 to 2 p.m., Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). Each walking tour through this premier birding spot highlights the migratory waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. Tours are canceled in heavy rain. No reservations are necessary for groups of less than 12 people. Visitors must possess a valid hunting or fishing license or an annual lands pass (either must be purchased in advance). Visitors can otherwise choose to pay a $4.32 day use fee when they arrive. There is no cost for the tour. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

SHARE Hunt Application Deadlines — Applications for pig, bear, dove, turkey and pheasant hunts on five SHARE properties, including Tejon Ranch and Rush Ranch are due on various days throughout the month. Applications may be purchased at any CDFW license agent, CDFW license sales office or online at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/ols. For more information, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/share/.

1 — Opening of Sport Dungeness Crab Season Statewide. For more information, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/invertebrate/crabs.asp.

5 — California Fish and Game Commission Marine Resources Committee Meeting, West Ed Building, Ed Meyers Classroom, 4655 Lampson Avenue, Suite A, Los Alamitos (90720), 10 a.m. For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2014/index.aspx.

6 — Mohave Ground Squirrel Lecture presented by Dr. Phil Leitner, 1-3 p.m. in the Natural Resources Building Auditorium, 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento (95814). This lecture is part of the Conservation Lecture Series which introduces participants to California’s diverse wildlife. This species was listed as rare under the California Endangered Species Act in 1971 and was then re-designated as threatened in 1984. Mohave ground squirrels are restricted to a small portion of the western Mojave Desert and have a reputation for being hard to find and study. Leitner will describe their annual cycle, food habits, reproduction and dispersal as background to a discussion of conservation strategy. Projected climate change and renewable energy development may affect the western Mojave Desert in ways that will be challenging for this unique California animal. The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan will be critical for its conservation. This free event will also be webcast live. To register, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Lectures. For more information, please contact margaret.mantor@wildlife.ca.gov.

7, 8, 9 — Sandhill Crane Festival. Co-sponsored by CDFW, the festival is centered at Hutchins Street Square, 125 S. Hutchins Street, Lodi (95240) with tours embarking to surrounding areas. For more information, please visit www.cranefestival.com/index.php.

8 — General Pheasant Season Opens and Extends through Dec. 21. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations or contact Levi Souza at levi.souza@wildlife.ca.gov or (916) 445-3709.

8 — Fresno SalmonFest, 11 a.m. Lost Lake Recreation Area, 16385 N. Friant Road, Friant (93626). Co-sponsored by the San Joaquin River Partnership and CDFW, SalmonFest is a celebration of San Joaquin River restoration and offers a chance to learn about the San Joaquin River Restoration Program and experience the river and other activities. For more information, please visit www.fresnosalmonfest.org.

8 — Fall General Turkey Season Opens and Extends through Dec. 7. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations or contact Levi Souza at levi.souza@wildlife.ca.gov or (916) 445-3709.

8 — Late Dove Season Opens and Extends through Dec. 22. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations or contact Levi Souza at levi.souza@wildlife.ca.gov or (916) 445-3709.

9 — Last day of Recreational Ocean Salmon Season from Horse Mountain to Pigeon Point. Recreational ocean salmon fishing is now closed statewide. For more information, please visit the ocean salmon web page at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/oceansalmon.asp or call the ocean salmon regulations hotline at (707) 576-3429.

10 — Predation on Threatened and/or Endangered Species in the Delta, Sacramento and San Joaquin Watersheds Proposal Solicitation Package Submission Deadline. Applicants must submit their mailed proposals no later than Nov. 10. For more information, please visit  www.wildlife.ca.gov/Explore/Grant-Opportunities or call (916) 445-0604.

15 — First Day of Commercial Dungeness Crab Season South of Mendocino County. For more information, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/invertebrate/management_com.asp#crab.

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Caltrans and the Department of Fish and Wildlife Urge Motorists to Be Alert During Watch Out for Wildlife Week

Caltrans and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) remind motorists to remain alert for wildlife near roadways during Watch Out for Wildlife Week (WOW), which runs September 15-21.

“It’s important that motorists, when driving through areas frequented by deer, elk and other animals, be alert to protect themselves as well as California’s wildlife,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.

Defenders of Wildlife (Defenders), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting native species and their natural communities, reports more than 200 people are killed nationally in collisions with deer, elk and other large mammals each year with an estimated 1.5 million animals hit annually.

The Watch Out for Wildlife campaign is supported by Caltrans, CDFW, Defenders and the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis.

“It’s a shame that many animals and people are injured and killed on our roads every year,” said Craig Stowers, CDFW’s Game Program Manager. “Many injuries, deaths and costly vehicle repairs can be avoided if drivers would pay more attention when animals are most active, and be prepared to react safely if an animal moves onto the road.”

Caltrans, CDFW and Defenders offer a few tips for motorists:

  • Be particularly alert when driving in areas frequented by wildlife and give yourself more time to react safely by reducing your speed.
  • Pay particular attention when driving during morning and evening, as wildlife are most active during these times.
  • If you see an animal cross the road, know that another may be following.
  • Don’t litter. The odors may entice animals to venture near roadways.

Here are a few examples of what Caltrans, CDFW and their partners are doing to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions:

a beautiful golden bob cat walking out from a highway underpass
A bobcat that just crossed safely under State Route 76 in San Diego County. Caltrans photo
two coyotes walk into concrete underpass to reach other side of a highway
Coyotes safely cross under SR 76 in San Diego County. Caltrans photo

Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing, Los Angeles County
Caltrans has applied for $2 million in federal funding for the environmental and engineering design phases of a future wildlife crossing over U.S. Highway 101 at Liberty Canyon Road in Agoura Hills. In the interim, Caltrans is providing wildlife fencing in Liberty Canyon to prevent wildlife mortalities along the freeway until a permanent structure can be built. The highway presents an impassible barrier for wildlife migrating into or out of the Santa Monica Mountains.  A new wildlife crossing promises to provide an improved habitat connection that will sustain and improve the genetic diversity of wildlife in the area.

State Route 76, San Diego County
Five wildlife crossings and directional fencing were installed as part of the SR-76 Melrose to Mission Highway Improvement Project in 2012. A wildlife movement study, including road kill surveys, camera station surveys and tracking transect surveys, is underway to determine the effectiveness of the crossings and fencing. A review of the data collected to date suggests the combination of directional fencing and wildlife crossings may be limiting vehicle-wildlife collisions and allowing for wildlife movement across SR-76. Medium-to-large species using the wildlife crossings include the badger, bobcat, coyote, raccoon, striped skunk, desert cottontail and opossum.

State Route 17, Santa Cruz
Caltrans has built wildlife undercrossings to accommodate wildlife on several highways in the Bay Area and is currently working with the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County to build a new wildlife undercrossing at the Laurel Curve on State Route 17. Since 2007, motorists have hit 14 mountain lions along this section of the highway in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Land Trust is working to raise $5 million to purchase land on either side of the Laurel Curve, which would make it possible for Caltrans to proceed with building the undercrossing.

Central Coast
Caltrans is seeking $1.8 million in federal funding to finance wildlife corridor projects in Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties where local wildlife exists in close proximity to state highways. If the request is approved, Caltrans will obtain an additional $2.5 million in state funding to finance all aspects of the projects. Caltrans assembled an extensive list of stakeholders and partners for this proposal, including the California State Coastal Conservancy, the Nature Conservancy, UC Davis, the Elkhorn Slough Foundation, the Pinnacles National Monument and the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County.

Caltrans has installed new wildlife fencing and electric mats at unfenced intersections along U.S. Highway 101 near San Luis Obispo, which bisects a major wildlife corridor in the Los Padres National Forest.

Media Contacts:
Mark Dinger, Caltrans Public Affairs, 916-657-5060
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, 916-322-2420

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Aug. 28 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $30 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 29 funded projects will provide benefits to fish and wildlife – including some endangered species – while others will provide the public with access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, land owners and the local community. The funds for all these projects come from bond initiatives approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Some of the funded projects include:

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    A $970,000 grant to the City of Red Bluff for a cooperative project with the Department of Parks and Recreation, Division of Boating and Waterways, to construct a boat launch facility compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act that includes a 2-lane boat ramp, improved parking, a new restroom, picnic areas and pedestrian paths.

  • An $805,000 grant to the California Waterfowl Association to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 226 acres of land for the protection of giant garter snake, Swainson’s hawk, black rails and wetlands near Marysville in Yuba County.
  • A $4.8 million grant to the American River Conservancy to acquire in fee approximately 1,080 acres of land for the protection and preservation of riparian and woodland habitat that includes native fisheries and oak woodlands, and to provide for potential future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities on land fronting the Cosumnes River in El Dorado County.
  • A $10 million grant to Save the Redwoods League for a cooperative project with the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, Peninsula Open Space Trust, Sempervirens Fund and the State Coastal Conservancy to acquire a forest conservation easement over approximately 8,532 acres of working forest lands, forest reserve areas and habitat linkages near the town of Davenport in Santa Cruz County.
  • A $750,000 grant to the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County for a cooperative project with the State Coastal Conservancy and others to acquire in fee approximately 879 acres of land to protect native grasslands, oak woodlands, coastal scrub and wildlife corridors, and to provide the potential for future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities near Pismo Beach in San Luis Obispo County.
  • A $1.6 million grant to the Trust for Public Land for a cooperative project with the City of Santa Clarita to acquire approximately 302 acres of land to provide recovery benefits for federally threatened and endangered species and to provide corridors linking separate habitat areas to prevent habitat fragmentation, protect significant natural landscapes and ecosystems and provide the potential for future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities.

For more information about the WCB please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, WCB Executive Director, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

CDFW to Host Public Meeting Regarding Pacific Halibut Management

A young blonde woman standing on a dock holds a large Pacific halibut.
CDFW scientific aid takes data from a Pacific halibut. Ed Roberts/CDFW photo

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites the public to attend an informational meeting Monday, June 2 to discuss Pacific halibut management in California.

The meeting is scheduled from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the City of Eureka Wharfinger Building in the Bay Room, located at 1 Marina Way in Eureka.

The meeting will provide information on recent Pacific halibut management and science, and include a discussion on recreational fishery management measures for 2015. The public is encouraged to provide input to managers and representatives that will assist in the development of future Pacific halibut management for 2015 and beyond.

Pacific halibut fishing regulations are developed through a collaborative regulatory process involving the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the National Marine Fisheries Service, other West Coast states, the Fish and Game Commission and the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

Please visit the CDFW website for more details regarding Pacific halibut management: www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/pacifichalibut.asp.

Media Contacts:
Deb Wilson-Vandenberg, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-2892
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191