Tag Archives: California Endangered Species Act

CDFW Seeks Information Related to Cascades Frog

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is seeking information relevant to a proposal to list the Cascades Frog as an endangered or threatened species.

The Cascades Frog (Rana cascadae) inhabits a variety of habitats such as large lakes, ponds, wet meadows and streams at mid- to high-elevations range from the Klamath-Trinity region, along the Cascades Range axis in the vicinity of Mt. Shasta, southward to the headwater tributaries of the Feather River.

In March 2017, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) submitted a petition to the California Fish and Game Commission to formally list the Cascades Frog as endangered or threatened under the California Endangered Species Act. The listing petition and CDFW’s petition evaluation described a variety of threats to the survival of Cascades Frogs in California. These include direct and indirect impacts associated with airborne contaminants, climate change, disease, fire suppression, habitat loss and alteration, introduced fish, livestock grazing, recreational activities, small population sizes and Cannabis cultivation. CDFW recommended, and the Commission voted, to advance the species to candidacy on Oct. 11, 2017. The Commission published findings of this decision on Oct. 27, 2017, triggering a 12-month period during which CDFW will conduct a status review to inform the Commission’s decision on whether to list the species.

As part of the status review process, CDFW is soliciting information from the public regarding the Cascades Frog’s ecology, genetics, life history, distribution, abundance, habitat, the degree and immediacy of threats to reproduction or survival, adequacy of existing management and recommendations for management of the species. Comments, data and other information can be submitted in writing to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Attn: Laura Patterson
1812 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95811

Comments may also be submitted by email to wildlifemgt@wildlife.ca.gov. If submitting comments by email, please include “Cascades Frog” in the subject heading.

All comments received by Dec. 22, 2017 will be evaluated prior to submittal of the CDFW report to the Commission. Receipt of the report will be placed on the agenda for the next available meeting of the Commission after delivery and the report will be made available to the public at that time. Following the receipt of the CDFW report, the Commission will allow a 30-day public comment period prior to taking any action on CDFW’s recommendation.

CBD’s listing petition and CDFW’s petition evaluation for the Cascades Frog are available at www.fgc.ca.gov/CESA/index.aspx#cf.

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Media Contacts:
Laura Patterson, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 341-6981
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

CDFW Seeks Information Related to Foothill Yellow-legged Frog

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is seeking information relevant to a proposal to list the Foothill Yellow-legged Frog as a threatened species.

The Foothill Yellow-legged Frog (Rana boylii) inhabits lower elevation creeks, streams and rivers throughout the Klamath, Coast, Sierra Nevada and formerly the Transverse ranges of California. They can be found in a variety of habitat types such as chaparral, oak woodland, mixed coniferous forest, riparian sycamore and cottonwood forest, as well as wet meadows.

In December 2016, the Center for Biological Diversity submitted a petition to the California Fish and Game Commission to formally list the Foothill Yellow-legged Frog as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act. The listing petition described a variety of threats to the survival of Foothill Yellow-legged Frogs in California. These include direct and indirect impacts associated with dams, water diversions and development, invasive species, disease, climate change and other activities such as marijuana cultivation, timber harvest, mining, recreation, road building and urbanization. The Commission followed CDFW’s recommendation and voted to advance the species to candidacy on June 21, 2017. The Commission published findings of this decision on July 7, 2017, triggering a 12-month period during which CDFW will conduct a status review to inform the Commission’s decision on whether to list the species.

As part of the status review process, CDFW is soliciting information from the public regarding the Foothill Yellow-legged Frog’s ecology, genetics, life history, distribution, abundance, habitat, the degree and immediacy of threats to reproduction or survival, adequacy of existing management and recommendations for management of the species. Comments, data and other information can be submitted in writing to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Attn: Laura Patterson
1812 Ninth St.
Sacramento, CA 95811

Comments may also be submitted by email to wildlifemgt@wildlife.ca.gov. If submitting comments by email, please include “Foothill Yellow-legged Frog” in the subject heading.

All comments received by Aug. 31, 2017 will be evaluated prior to submission of the CDFW report to the Commission. Receipt of the report will be placed on the agenda for the next available meeting of the Commission after delivery and the report will be made available to the public at that time. Following the receipt of the CDFW report, the Commission will allow a 30-day public comment period prior to taking any action on CDFW’s recommendation.

The Center for Biological Diversity’s listing petition and CDFW’s petition evaluation for the Foothill Yellow-legged Frog are available at www.fgc.ca.gov/CESA/index.aspx#fylf.

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Media Contacts:
Laura Patterson, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 341-6981

Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

Public Review Period Extended for Newhall Ranch Additional Environmental Analysis

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has extended the public comment and review period for the previously released Draft Additional Environmental Analysis (AEA) for the Newhall Ranch Resource Management and Development Plan and Spineflower Conservation Plan (RMDP/SCP) Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

CDFW previously released the Draft AEA for public circulation, review and comment between Nov. 3, 2016 and Jan. 6, 2017. The review period will now extend to Feb. 13, 2017.

CDFW certified the RMDP/SCP EIR in December 2010 in connection with various approvals under the Fish and Game Code for the Newhall Ranch project, which is located in northern Los Angeles County.  A detailed description of the project as a whole, as well as CDFW’s related approval documents and findings adopted by CDFW, can be found here. A description of the project as modified is included in the Draft AEA.

As stated in CDFW’s related notice on Nov. 3, 2016, CDFW prepared the Draft AEA in response to two important issues recently addressed by the California Supreme Court in relation to the project and the RMDP/SCP EIR specifically. The Court held that: (1) for purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act, that CDFW’s 2010 significance determination regarding project greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions was not supported by substantial evidence, and (2) CDFW’s approval of the project in 2010 with two biological resource mitigation measures calling, if necessary, for collection and relocation of unarmored threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus williamsoni), violated Fish and Game Code, section 5515.

Unarmored threespine stickleback is a freshwater fish native to California. It has been designated as endangered by federal and state law, and is fully protected under the Fish and Game Code.

The Draft AEA can be downloaded at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/5/newhall/DraftAEA. Copies on CD may also be requested by sending an email to newhallranch@wildlife.ca.gov.

Copies of the Draft AEA are available for public review at CDFW’s South Coast Regional Office at the Ruffin Road address, as well as the following locations:

  • Old Town Newhall Library, 24500 Main Street, Santa Clarita (91321)
  • Stevenson Ranch Library, 25950 The Old Road, Stevenson Ranch (91381)
  • Valencia Library, 23743 West Valencia Boulevard, Santa Clarita (91355)
  • Sylmar Library, 14561 Polk Street, Sylmar (91342)
  • E.P. Foster Library, 651 East Main Street, Ventura (93001)
  • Castaic Library, 27971 Sloan Canyon Road, Castaic (91384)
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife, 4665 Lampson Ave., Los Alamitos (90702)
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Planning Branch, 1700 Ninth St., second floor, Sacramento (95811)

Public comments must be limited to issues addressed in the Draft AEA, and must be postmarked or received by email no later than Feb. 13, 2017.

Comments sent to CDFW by regular mail should be sent to the following address:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Comments on Newhall Ranch Draft AEA
c/o Betty Courtney
3883 Ruffin Road
San Diego, CA  92123

Comments may also be emailed to CDFW at newhallranch@wildlife.ca.gov. Please put “Comments on Newhall Ranch Draft AEA” in the subject line.

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Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

California Supreme Court Decision Prompts Additional Environmental Analysis for Newhall Ranch Project; Analysis Released Today

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today released the Draft Additional Environmental Analysis for the Newhall Ranch Resource Management and Development Plan and Spineflower Conservation Plan Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The additional analysis is in response to revisions made after the California Supreme Court approved all but two elements of the EIR in November 2015. The release of the additional analysis opens a 60-day public comment period.

The development plan has been revised to respond to the two issues raised by the Supreme Court. The additional environmental analysis released today examines whether the revised project design and construction of proposed bridges would result in harm or other significant adverse effects to the unarmored three spine stickleback, a native fish protected under state and federal law.

The additional environmental analysis also examines whether the revised project would result in significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emission impacts. The revised project is designed to achieve net zero GHG emissions with the implementation of mitigation measures intended to reduce, mitigate and offset 100 percent of GHG emissions.

The California Air Resources Board reviewed the revised project and concluded that there is an adequate basis to determine it does not result in any net additional GHG emissions.

The additional environmental analysis is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/5/newhall. Written comments will be accepted by CDFW through Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 (including additional days to account for the holidays). Written comments sent by regular mail should be sent to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Comments on Newhall Ranch Draft AEA
c/o Betty Courtney
3883 Ruffin Road
San Diego, CA 92123

Written comments sent by email should be sent to newhallranch@wildlife.ca.gov. Please put “Comments on Newhall Ranch Draft AEA” in the subject line.

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Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Recognizing California’s Heroes in a Half-Shell: Our Resident Turtles and Tortoises

A pond turtle with a small transmitter on its back, in someone's hand
Head-started western pond turtle with radio-transmitter at Sycuan Peak Ecological Reserve. Laura Patterson photo
a desert tortoise blends in with rocky ground
Threatened desert tortoise. Laura Patterson photo

Today is World Turtle Day, created to celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) takes this opportunity to remind people that all our native wildlife have their own intrinsic value, even the species that seldom make headlines.

“Oftentimes reptiles like turtles and tortoises don’t get as much attention in the media as their furry and feathery counterparts do, but aside from their intrinsic value, they play a critical role in ecosystem health by their position in the food web,” said Laura Patterson, CDFW statewide coordinator for amphibian and reptile conservation.

Pond turtles, for example, eat aquatic invertebrates and vegetation. In turn, they and their eggs are eaten by raccoons, coyotes and skunks. Hatchlings are eaten by bullfrogs, largemouth bass and large birds such as herons and egrets. A lucky pond turtle can live 70 years in the wild.

The western pond turtle, a Species of Special Concern found primarily west of Sierra-Cascade crest, is California’s only native freshwater turtle species. Once widespread in California, Oregon and Washington, they are now especially uncommon in Southern California due to habitat loss resulting from development and water diversion for urban and agricultural uses. Their populations have also been decimated by invasive, non-native predators like bullfrogs and largemouth bass that devour the tiny hatchling turtles. The introduction of non-native, aggressive “dime store turtles” such as red-eared sliders may also contribute to the western pond turtles’ decline because they occupy similar ecological niches, but the red-eared sliders get much bigger and produce many more offspring, making them superior competitors for limited habitat and food resources.

Many non-native species of turtles are imported and sold as pets when they are very small. When they grow larger, they require a lot more space, they can lose their attractive coloration, and they can become aggressive, leading some people to set them free, assuming they will be fine in the wild. Many die, but enough survive to establish wild populations here that now compete with our native pond turtles.

For that reason, if you have a fishing license, there is no bag or possession limit for the legal take of any subspecies of pond slider (red-eared, yellow-bellied and Cumberland sliders), painted or spiny soft-shelled turtles, all of which are non-native.

Most western pond turtles travel a long distance (546 yards) to upland habitat to lay eggs and even farther sometimes to overwinter. People may encounter turtles during these travels and think they are lost or sick, since they are quite some distance from water. CDFW receives many phone calls from well-meaning people who report that they have found and collected what they believe to be a sick turtle, when in reality the turtle was traveling to upland habitat. People must understand that these turtles do travel away from water during a portion of their life cycle and should be left alone.

It is illegal to capture, collect, intentionally kill or injure, possess, purchase, propagate, sell, transport, import or export any native reptile or amphibian, or part of one, with very few exceptions in the law. That includes western pond turtles and desert tortoises. (California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 40)

The desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), California’s only native tortoise, is listed as threatened under both state and federal Endangered Species Acts. It is the California state reptile. As with most endangered species, habitat loss and degradation has led to their decline. In addition, desert tortoise populations have been severely impacted by Upper Respiratory Disease Syndrome, which is contracted through contact with people. The best thing you can do to help conserve our desert tortoises is leave them alone, unless you see one trying to cross a road. In that case, you can help by gently moving it to the side of the road in the direction it was going. As with our native pond turtles, don’t ever remove a tortoise from the wild, and never release one that has been a “pet” into the wild. It also helps to dispose of all trash in appropriate receptacles because if left lying around, it attracts animals that eat small tortoises and turtles. A desert tortoise can live to 150 years.

There are also four species of sea turtle that spend at least part of each year in our waters: Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), Olive (Pacific) Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), and the Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). They are all listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. In October 2012, the leatherback was designated the official state marine reptile and given its own special day last October 15.

Last year CDFW biologists worked with U.S. Geological Survey, the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Association of Governments to reintroduce western pond turtles to Sycuan Peak Ecological Reserve. A video is posted at www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEShMdU4L2E.

To learn more about California’s turtles and tortoises, visit www.californiaherps.com/.

Media Contacts:
Laura Patterson, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 341-6981
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420