Tag Archives: California Tiger Salamander

Watch Out for Wildlife Week Reminds Motorists to Slow Down & Be Alert

Caltrans and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) remind motorists to remain alert for wildlife on roadways during Watch Out for Wildlife Week, which runs September 18-24.

“Drivers can improve their own safety by simply slowing down and remaining alert while driving,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “We are committed to safety while being mindful of the environment, using signage, fencing, and undercrossings to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions along roadways, especially in wildlife corridors.”

“Between now and December, deer and other wildlife are more susceptible than usual to vehicle collisions,” said Marc Kenyon, CDFW’s Human-Wildlife Conflict Program Manager. “Soon, deer will start their annual migrations to winter range, bucks will be preoccupied competing for mates, and bears will be searching for food in preparation for hibernation. Such natural behaviors can lead these animals into the way of unsuspecting drivers. Drivers can prevent collisions with animals by being careful and paying attention.”

Wildlife experts offer the following tips for motorists:

  • Be especially alert when driving in wildlife areas, and reduce your speed so you can react safely.
  • Pay particular attention when driving during the morning and evening, as wildlife are most active during these times.
  • If you see an animal cross the road, know that others may be following.
  • Don’t litter. The odors may entice animals to venture near roadways.

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

Here are a few of examples of what Caltrans, CDFW, and their partners are doing to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, improve awareness of key issues, and improve ecological sustainability:

Highway 17 Laurel Curve Wildlife Crossing, Santa Cruz County

The Laurel Curve Crossing Project is a planned undercrossing that will enhance wildlife movement to either side of Highway 17. Highway 17 over the Santa Cruz Mountains is a four-lane road that has become heavily-traveled in recent years, particularly by people who commute between the Santa Cruz and San Francisco Bay areas. The part of Highway 17 that includes Laurel Curve is in an essential connectivity area for wildlife, cutting through prime habitat. Deer, bears, mountain lions and smaller wildlife attempt to cross the highway in their normal migration and foraging patterns, creating hazards for themselves and motorists. The Laurel Curve Wildlife Crossing project is a collaboration of several local and state partners including the Santa Cruz County Land Trust, Pathways for Wildlife, the UC Santa Cruz Puma Project, Caltrans, and CDFW. Funding sources include Advance Mitigation Program funds from the 2016 State Highway Operation and Protection Program.

Highway 89, Sierra County

On a stretch of Highway 89 between Truckee and Sierraville, a recently-completed $2.08 million project consists of two new 12-foot by 10-foot wildlife undercrossings, providing a safe path for animals to cross under the roadway. The project also includes four escape ramps and over 14,000 linear feet of deer fencing on both sides of the highway to help prevent wildlife-vehicle collisions.

Highway 246, Santa Barbara County

Six new highway undercrossings have been designed for California tiger salamanders and small animals to pass safely between breeding ponds and upland habitat on the opposite sides of Highway 246 between Buellton and Lompoc. This species is protected under both the state and federal Endangered Species Acts. In addition to the design and implementation of these six undercrossings, Caltrans has proposed a five-year monitoring study to assess the undercrossings’ effects on California tiger salamanders and other animals crossing the highway. The project is in the final stages and is expected to be completed this fall.

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Media Contacts:
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420
Patrick Olsen, Patrick Olsen, Caltrans Public Affairs, (916) 654-3633

California Receives Federal Grants to Support Land Acquisition and Conservation Planning for Endangered Species

Media Contacts:
Monica Parisi, Habitat Conservation Planning Branch, (916) 653-9767
Dale Steele, Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-0803
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

California has been awarded $12.7 million in federal grants to support conservation planning and acquisition of habitat for threatened and endangered fish, wildlife and plants.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awards annual competitive grants from the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund to states. The grants are authorized by Section 6 of the federal Endangered Species Act. Nearly $33 million was granted to 21 states in 2012. These funds are administered under three grant programs: Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) Planning Assistance, HCP Land Acquisition and Recovery Land Acquisition.

California received $4.2 million in HCP Planning Assistance Grants, which support the development of HCPs and, in California, Natural Community Conservation Plans (NCCPs). HCPs and NCCPs are large-scale, ecosystem-based plans designed to protect plants, animals and their habitats while allowing compatible and appropriate economic activity. Grants fund baseline surveys and inventories, document preparation, public outreach and similar planning activities. Seven plans were awarded grants: including HCPs and NCCPs in the Bay-Delta, Northeast San Luis Obispo County, Kern Valley Floor, Butte Regional, Bakersfield Regional, Town of Apple Valley  and the city of Colton.

A total of $7 million was awarded to the state for HCP Land Acquisition Grants, which fund the purchase of land to meet the conservation objectives of approved HCPs and NCCPs. Three plans received awards: the East Contra Costa County NCCP/HCP, the Western Riverside County NCCP/HCP, and the Northwest San Diego County Multiple Habitat Conservation Plan NCCP/HCP.

California received $1.5 million in Recovery Land Acquisition Grants to acquire habitat for threatened and endangered species associated with approved recovery plans. Funded projects include:

  • Kelsey Ranch Conservation Easement, Merced County, which includes habitat for vernal pool fairy shrimp, California tiger salamander and vernal pool rare plants.
  • Arrastre Canyon, Los Angeles County, for unarmored three-spine stickleback, Southwestern willow flycatcher, California red-legged frog and arroyo toad habitat.
  • Shay Meadows Conservation Area Expansion, San Bernardino County, for habitat for unarmored three-spine stickleback and five federally-listed plants
  • Riverside County habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep, desert tortoise, desert slender salamander and triple-ribbed milk-vetch

For more information on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grants for threatened and endangered species, including links to the complete list of awards nationwide, visit www.fws.gov/endangered/grants. More information on conservation planning in California can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/habcon/nccp.