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.
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.”
SF Bay Area
Khoa Dang Nguyen
Chinh Quan Le
Toi Van Nguyen
Dung Tri Bui
5521.5, PC 182, 29.15[c]
Hai Van Ha
5521.5, PC 182,
Duoc Van Nguyen
5521.5, PC 182
Nhan Trung Le
PC 182, 2000/29.15[c]
Suong Hung Tran
Chuyen Van Bui
Diep van Nguyen
Khoa Ngoc Nguyen
Dung Van Nguyen
5521.5, PC 115 (a) (F)
32 mo State prison
Tho Thanh Phan
Hung Van Le
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
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 email@example.com.
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/.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 — 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.
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.
Amargosa voles, small rodents that inhabit rare marshes of the Mojave Desert, have faced dire circumstances in recent years. Loss of habitat, extreme drought and climate change brought this subspecies of the California vole to near extinction, leaving only a few hundred clinging to existence. It is now one of the most critically endangered mammals in North America. Its luck may be changing with the birth of the first set of pups from a new captive breeding program at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
An interdisciplinary research team is working to study the vole and ultimately shore up the population so that it doesn’t go extinct. As part of that effort, the team began a captive breeding program. Ten females and 10 males, all about five weeks of age, were removed from the wild in mid-July and brought to UC Davis.
The research team includes members from UC Davis, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and UC Berkeley.
In the field, researchers have observed fluctuations in the size of the Amargosa vole population.
“The numbers are at their highest just after breeding in the spring when the vegetation is still good,” said project lead Janet Foley, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “But as the summer wears on and the limited marsh habitat dries up, the population may crash. This year, we saw their main marsh shrinking fast and we knew a large number would die in the coming months. If we wanted to save the species, we had to act quickly.”
During the first few weeks in captivity at Davis, the voles remained quarantined in individual enclosures. They underwent full diagnostic testing for pathogens and genetic analysis to ensure the most diverse breeding pool possible before placed together in breeding pairs.
By October, all three of the pairs produced pups. There are four healthy pups now. Eventually, the animals will be placed outside in large escape-proof tubs in a secure location. The tubs will be planted with bulrush to mimic their native habitat.
Researchers aren’t sure how long it will take the captive population to build. They also hope to learn about optimal breeding conditions – such as food, shelter, length of daylight and temperature – for the voles. Once a few hundred voles have been born in captivity, researchers plan to reintroduce them to the marsh areas in their home range.
“We know the population is already inbred, but we don’t know whether that has affected them as a species,” Foley said. “There’s so much we have yet to learn about this subspecies. This is a great opportunity to understand population genetics, basic ecology and behavior. Previously, we’ve made assumptions about those things, but now we can verify them.”
Taking a toll on the vole
The Amargosa vole (Microtus californicus scirpensis) inhabits sparsely located wetlands just east of Death Valley National Park. Those marsh habitats, which exist only in a few small, isolated patches throughout the desert, are increasingly threatened by drought, climate change and habitat modification by humans. The current drought has likely exacerbated their dire situation. Low water means fewer bulrushes – the wetland plants this subspecies depends heavily upon for habitat and food.
Once thought to be extinct, the Amargosa vole was rediscovered in the late 1970s by a state fish and wildlife biologist. It was listed as an endangered species in 1980 by the state and in 1984 by the federal government. Recent BLM research indicates an 82 percent chance that the species could go extinct within five years if immediate management action is not taken.
In the past few years, the research team has worked to update information about the number of voles and where they live. Researchers have looked at additional factors impacting the Amargosa vole, including infectious diseases, competition with other rodents, predation, and other environmental pressures.
“The commitment and collaboration demonstrated by the inter-agency/academia vole working group is a great example of what can be accomplished in a short time to conserve not only the Amargosa vole, but also its unique desert marsh habitat that other species also depend on,” said program co-lead Deana Clifford, CDFW wildlife veterinarian and assistant clinical professor at UC Davis. “By pooling our resources and working together we can increase the chances that healthy populations of Amargosa voles will persist well into the future.”
Funding for the research and captive breeding colony comes from BLM, CDFW, USFWS and the State Office of Emergency Services (drought funding). UC Davis and CDFW are donating personnel time, and a private landowner has been providing free field housing for the research crews.
About UC Davis
UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.
About the School of Veterinary Medicine
Leading Veterinary Medicine, Addressing Societal Needs: The School of Veterinary Medicine serves the people of California by providing educational, research, clinical service and public service programs of the highest quality to advance the health of animals, people and the environment, and to contribute to the economy. For further information, please visit www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/.
About the California Department of Fish and Wildlife
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife works to manage California’s diverse fish, wildlife, and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend, for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is asking trout anglers to be mindful about fishing in the state’s waters and the effects their catch can have on the populations. As the summer progresses, the effects of the current drought on California’s wildlife continue to mount. Aquatic wildlife are especially vulnerable as streamflows decrease and instream water temperatures increase, exposing cold water species such as trout to exceptionally hostile habitat conditions.
Because of the lower water levels and accompanying higher water temperatures in many California streams, many trout populations are experiencing added stress, which can affect their growth and survival. Many of California’s wild trout anglers have adopted catch-and-release fishing as their preferred fishing practice. Careful handling of a trout after being caught with artificial lures or flies allows for the possibility of trout being caught additional times.
However, catch-and-release fishing during afternoon and early evening in streams and lakes that have elevated water temperatures may increase stress, hinder survival and increase hooking mortality for released trout.
“Please be mindful of the conditions when you are fishing,” said California’s Wild Trout Program Leader, Roger Bloom. “Afternoon and evening water temperatures may be too warm to ensure the trout being released will survive the added stress of hooking, fighting and sustained exposure to the warmer water that builds up during hot days in summer and fall.”
Some of the state’s finest trout streams have special angling regulations that encourage or require catch-and-release fishing. In waters that may experience elevated daytime water temperatures (greater than 70 degrees Fahrenheit) the best opportunity for anglers to fish would be during the early morning hours after the warm water has cooled overnight and before the heat of the day increases water temperatures.
These low water conditions and warmer water temperatures are happening across the state—from Central Valley rivers flowing below the large foothill reservoirs to mountain streams in Southern California and in both east and west slope Sierra Nevada streams.
“Enjoy California’s outstanding trout fishing and help us to keep wild trout thriving by using good judgment,” said CDFW Fisheries Branch Chief, Stafford Lehr. “Fish earlier and stop earlier in the day during these hot summer days ahead.”
Protective measures for catch-and-release fishing during the drought include:
Avoiding fishing during periods when water temperatures exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit (likely afternoon to late evening)
Playing hooked trout quickly and avoiding extensive handling of fish
Keeping fish fully submerged in water during the release
Utilizing a thermometer and checking water temperatures every 15 minutes when temperatures exceed 65 degrees Fahrenheit
Stopping angling when captured fish show signs of labored recovery or mortality
Utilizing barbless hooks to help facilitate a quick release
Although other states have used temperature triggers to close recreational fisheries, California does not currently have a legal mechanism in place to accomplish that. Historically, CDFW has requested voluntary actions by anglers to avoid catch-and-release fishing in waters like Eagle Lake and the East Walker River during periods of elevated water temperatures. At present there are local angling groups in Truckee encouraging anglers to participate in a volunteer effort to avoid fishing in the afternoon and evening.
As we move through these extreme conditions, CDFW is asking anglers to help protect our state’s native and wild trout resources. Anglers interested in researching local conditions prior to a trip should contact local tackle shops, check online fishing reports or contact a local CDFW regional office. Anglers should also consider using a hand-held or boat-mounted thermometer to assess water temperatures while fishing.
Media Contact: Roger Bloom, CDFW Heritage and Wild Trout Program, (916) 464-6355
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
SACRAMENO, Calif. – NOAA Fisheries and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today jointly released two plans to restore populations of salmon and steelhead in California’s Central Valley: NOAA Fisheries’ Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Plan and CDFW’s Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) Conservation Strategy.
The two plans are complementary in that CDFW’s conservation strategy presents a broader framework for restoring aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems throughout the Central Valley, while the federal recovery plan focuses on the recovery of endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, threatened Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, and threatened Central Valley steelhead.
A shared goal of both plans is to remove these species from federal and state lists of endangered and threatened species. The recovery plan provides a detailed road map for how to reach that goal. It lays out a science-based strategy for recovery and identifies the actions necessary to restore healthy salmon and steelhead populations to the Central Valley.
“Establishing clear priority watersheds, fish populations and actions is essential to achieve recovery,” said Maria Rea, NOAA Fisheries Assistant Regional Administrator for California’s Central Valley Office. “Implementation of this plan will depend on many parties working collaboratively to pool resources, expertise and programs to recover Chinook salmon and steelhead populations that are part of California’s natural heritage.“
Recovery plans required by the Endangered Species Act are guidance documents, not regulatory requirements, and their implementation depends on the voluntary cooperation of multiple stakeholders at the local, regional, state and national levels.
“The Sacramento Valley joins together a world-renowned mosaic of natural abundance: productive farmlands, meandering rivers that provide habitat and feed salmon and steelhead, wildlife refuges and managed wetlands, and cities and rural communities,” said David Guy, President of the Northern California Water Association. “The recovery plan is a positive step forward–through efficient management of the region’s water resources, water suppliers throughout the Sacramento Valley will continue to work with our conservation partners to help implement the recovery plan and improve ecological conditions in the Sacramento River for multiple species and habitat values.”
The ERP conservation strategy was developed by CDFW collaboratively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries to help guide environmental restoration and establish adaptive management to improve restoration success in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its watershed. The approach of conservation strategy is to restore or mimic ecological processes and to improve aquatic and terrestrial habitats to support stable, self-sustaining populations of diverse and valuable species.
“It is critical we make strategic investments in our natural resources,” said Charlton H. Bonham, Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “The funding of these high-priority restoration projects is not only an example of the coordinated effort between state and federal governments, but an example of California’s continued efforts to minimize the effects of drought on fish and wildlife. Central Valley salmon and steelhead deserve nothing less.
California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.’s 2014-15 budget provided CDFW with $38 million to implement enhanced salmon monitoring, restore sensitive habitat, improve water infrastructure for wildlife refuges, expand the fisheries restoration grant program, and remove barriers for fish passage. Some of that money will be used on projects recommended by the federal recovery plan.
Dick Pool of the Golden Gate Salmon Association said, “We thank and congratulate the scientists of NOAA Fisheries for their outstanding work in developing the Central Valley Recovery Plan. GGSA and the salmon industry particularly appreciate the fact that the plan includes both short range and long range actions that can reverse the serious salmon and steelhead population declines. GGSA has identified a number of the same projects as needing priority action. We also commend the agency for its diligent efforts to engage the other fishery agencies, the water agencies and the salmon stakeholders in the process. We look forward to assisting in finding ways to get the critical projects implemented.”
The federal recovery plan and state conservation strategy work together as a blueprint of how at-risk species can be restored to sustainable levels.Restoring healthy, viable salmon and steelhead runs will preserve and enhance the commercial, recreational and cultural opportunities for future generations. As the fish populations grow and recover, so too will the economic benefits and long-term fishing opportunities for everyone.
“The Recovery Plan provides a clear framework to better coordinate and align restoration projects in the Delta, the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and their tributaries to achieve greater conservation outcomes,” said Jay Ziegler, Director of External Affairs and Policy for The Nature Conservancy. “We are pleased to see the integration of multiple habitat values in the Plan including the importance of expanding lateral river movements to enhance floodplain habitat and recognition of the importance of variable flow regimes to benefit multiple species.”
The development of a recovery plan is an important part in the successful rebuilding of a species because it incorporates information from a multitude of interested parties including scientific researchers, stakeholders and the general public. Since 2007, NOAA Fisheries has held 14 public workshops, produced a draft for public comment, and met with strategic stakeholders to guide the plan’s development and ensure a comprehensive and useful document.
CDFW will be investing considerable resources in improving water conservation on public wildlife refuges in the Central Valley and protecting important salmon stocks that contribute to the state’s fishery. The department has also recently released a restoration grant solicitation which includes salmon and steelhead watersheds in the Central Valley. The solicitation can be found here. Applications are being accepted until August 12, 2014.
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.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, State Coastal Conservancy and the Annenberg Foundation today announced a joint website to provide an initial outline of potential restoration alternatives at Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve on the Los Angeles County coast. The website builds on a prior site, and also features scientific studies, history of meetings and information about the wetlands.
The website, ballonarestoration.org, provides an early overview of proposed alternatives that will be presented in a draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) that is anticipated to be released before the end of 2014. Upon release, interested parties and members of the public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the EIR/EIS.
Because this website precedes the EIR/EIS, the proposed alternatives are subject to change. The state and private partners created the site to provide as much information as possible to interested parties.
In January 2013, the Annenberg Foundation entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the aforementioned state partners that proposes to enhance the state’s existing goal of establishing Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve as a thriving wildlife habitat and an outdoor education destination for local communities.
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937
The Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites the public to attend its upcoming annual ocean salmon information meeting. A review of last year’s ocean salmon fisheries and spawning escapement will be presented, in addition to the outlook for this year’s sport and commercial ocean salmon fisheries.
The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd. in Santa Rosa.
The public is encouraged to provide input on potential fishing seasons to a panel of California salmon scientists, managers and representatives who will be directly involved in the upcoming Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meetings in March and April.
Salmon fishing seasons are developed through a collaborative process involving the PFMC, the California Fish and Game Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Public input will help California representatives negotiate a broad range of season alternatives during the PFMC March 8-13 meeting in Sacramento, California.
The 2014 ocean salmon information meeting marks the beginning of a two-month long public process used to establish annual sport and commercial ocean salmon seasons. A list of additional meetings and other opportunities for public comment is available on the ocean salmon webpage at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/salmonpreseason.asp.
The meeting agenda and handouts will be posted online as soon as they become available.
Media Contacts: Erick Anderson, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2879
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
Dr. Brenda Johnson, Habitat Conservation Planning, (916) 653-0835
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420
The Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP) Act of 2003 is 10
years old and the organizations that make it work commend its value and effectiveness. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and its partners, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and members of the California Habitat Conservation Planning Coalition, celebrate what they have accomplished since the Legislature passed the NCCP Act of 2003.
This environmental act is the only state law in the nation designed to actively protect ecosystems using a science-based, stakeholder-driven approach. Natural Community Conservation Plans balance the conservation and long-term management of diverse plant and animal species with compatible, economically beneficial land uses.
“These plans create ‘win-win’ situations by permanently protecting vast regions of habitat while streamlining the permitting process for carefully sited development and infrastructure projects,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “They also ensure the process is open to public input.”
To date, nine large, regional plans have been approved through the CDFW NCCP Program. Together they will permanently protect more than two million acres of wildlife habitat. More than one million acres have already been protected in reserves. Seventeen other plans that will protect millions of additional acres of habitat are now being prepared. These 26 plans specifically identify more than 700 species of plants and animals, and many unique natural communities, for conservation in perpetuity. CDFW has helped direct more than $254 million in federal funds to NCCP reserve land acquisition and more than $27 million for plan preparation. California has also provided nearly $12 million to help local organizations and agencies implement approved plans.