Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Aug. 28 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $10.7 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 16 approved projects will benefit fish and wildlife—including some endangered species—while others will provide public 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, landowners and the local community.

Funding for these projects comes from a combination of sources including the Habitat Conservation Fund and bond measures approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources.

Funded projects include:

  • A $505,000 grant to Environmental Defense Fund for a cooperative project with two private landowners to plant up to 325 acres of multi-benefit breeding and migratory habitat for monarch butterflies in two maturing pecan orchards. This project is on privately owned land north of Colusa in Colusa County and southeast of Knights Landing in Yolo County.
  • A $750,000 grant to the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts to administer a block grant to Resource Conservation Districts to implement monarch butterfly and pollinator habitat improvements on privately owned land in various counties.
  • A $499,000 grant to the Sacramento County Department of Regional Parks to enhance public access at the American River Ranch Interpretive Center in the City of Rancho Cordova in Sacramento County.
  • A $2 million grant to the John Muir Land Trust for a cooperative project with the East Bay Regional Park District to acquire approximately 281 acres for the protection of wildlife habitat and several special-status wildlife species and to help expand the Bay Area Ridge Trail Corridor near the City of Martinez in Contra Costa County.
  • A $1.9 million grant and two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition grants to the Rivers & Lands Conservancy, to acquire approximately 34 acres of land in the City of Colton in San Bernardino County to protect and preserve the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly.
  • A $390,000 grant to the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains for a cooperative project with Caltrans, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, to improve wildlife’s ability to cross U.S. Highway 101. This project will restore and enhance an existing wildlife undercrossing approximately nine miles east of Thousand Oaks in Los Angeles County that was damaged in the 2019 Woolsey Fire.
  • A $1.6 million grant to the Endangered Habitats Conservancy to acquire in fee approximately 42 acres of land to protect habitat that implements or helps establish Natural Community Conservation Plans near the City of San Diego in San Diego County.

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

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Photo at top of page:  American River Ranch Interpretive Center and its existing dirt parking lot (in Rancho Cordova), proposed for improvements. Photo by John Swain and Thomas Bartlett, Image in Flight Co.

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

CDFW Releases Conservation and Management Plan for California Elk Populations

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released a Statewide Elk Conservation and Management Plan. The plan has undergone extensive public review and will help guide state wildlife managers’ efforts to maintain healthy elk herds. The plan builds on the success of efforts to reestablish elk in suitable historic ranges, and management practices that have resulted in robust elk populations throughout the state. It includes objectives for providing public educational and recreational opportunities, habitat enhancement and restoration, and minimization of conflicts on private property.

“This plan demonstrates CDFW’s commitment to build upon its strong foundation for the continued conservation of this iconic species for future management of California’s elk populations,” said CDFW Wildlife Branch Chief Kari Lewis.

There are three subspecies of elk in California: Roosevelt (Cervus canadensis roosevelti), Rocky Mountain (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) and Tule (Cervus canadensis nannodes). California’s 22 Elk Management Units (EMUs) collectively comprise the distribution of all three species within their respective ranges in the state. The plan addresses historical and current geographic range, habitat conditions and trends, and major factors affecting all three species statewide, in addition to individually addressing each EMU. The EMU plans include herd characteristics, harvest data, management goals and management actions to conserve and enhance habitat conditions on public and private lands.

More information about California’s Elk Management Program can be found on CDFW’s website.

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Media Contacts:
Brad Burkholder, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-1829
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Stream Flow Enhancement Projects

At a March 22 meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $33.1 million in grants for 22 projects to enhance stream flows to benefit fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. The Legislature appropriated funding for these projects as authorized by the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1). A total of $200 million was allocated to the WCB for projects that enhance stream flow.

A total of $38.4 million—including $5 million designated for scoping and scientific projects—was allocated to the WCB for expenditure in Fiscal Year 2017/18 for the California Stream Flow Enhancement Program. Projects were chosen through a competitive grant process, judged by the WCB, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the State Water Resources Control Board. Guided by the California Water Action Plan, funding is focused on projects that will lead to direct and measurable enhancements to the amount, timing and/or quality of water for anadromous fish; special status, threatened, endangered or at-risk species; or to provide resilience to climate change.

Funded projects include:

  • A $4.8 million grant to The Wildlands Conservancy for a project to enhance stream flow on Russ Creek by reestablishing channel alignment to provide continuous summer base flows suitable for fish passage. The project is located on the southern portion of the Eel River Estuary Preserve in Humboldt County, approximately four miles west of Ferndale.
  • A $693,408 grant to the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District for the purpose of dedicating a portion of the District’s diversion water rights to instream flow use that will benefit fish and wildlife by increasing habitat for salmonids and special status species in the Mad River. The project is located on the main-stem Mad River in the Mad River Watershed with releases coming from Matthews Dam at Ruth Reservoir, approximately 48 miles southeast of Eureka and 53 miles southwest of Redding.
  • A $726,374 grant to Mendocino County Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to reduce summer diversions and improve dry season stream flows for the benefit of Coho salmon and steelhead trout. The Navarro River watershed is located approximately 20 miles south of Fort Bragg.
  • A $5 million grant to the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency for a cooperative project with the Department of Water Resources and CDFW, to improve roughly 7,500 linear feet of existing channels to connect isolated ponds. This will provide fish refuge and eliminate potential stranding. This project’s design was funded by the Stream Flow Enhancement Program in 2016. The project site is within the Sacramento River watershed and is less than one mile southwest of the town of Oroville, on the east side of the Feather River.
  • $609,970 grant to the University of California Regents for a cooperative project with the University of Nevada, Reno and the Desert Research Institute, to expand monitoring, scientific studies and modeling in the Tahoe-Truckee Basin. The results will guide watershed-scale forest thinning strategies that enhance stream flow within an area that provides critical habitat for threatened species. The project is located in the central Sierra Nevada mountain range, primarily on National Forest lands in the Lake Tahoe Basin and Tahoe National Forest.
  • A $851,806 grant to the Sonoma Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with the Coast Ridge Community Forest and 29 landowners, to install rainwater harvesting tanks and enter into agreements to refrain from diverting stream flow during dry seasons. The project area consists of 29 properties within the coastal Gualala River, Russian Gulch and Austin Creek watersheds, which discharge to the Pacific Ocean approximately 40 miles northwest of Santa Rosa.
  • A $5.3 million grant to the Alameda County Water District for a cooperative project with the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, California Natural Resources Agency, State Coastal Conservancy and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to modify flow releases in Alameda Creek and construct two concrete fish ladders around existing fish passage barriers. This will provide salmonids access to high value habitat upstream of the project location, approximately 17 miles north of San Jose and 22 miles southeast of Oakland.
  • A $3.9 million grant to The Nature Conservancy for a cooperative project with U.C. Santa Barbara and the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy to remove approximately 250 acres of the invasive giant reed (Arundo donax), which will save approximately 2,000 acre-feet of water annually for the Santa Clara River. The project is located in unincorporated Ventura County approximately two miles east of the city of Santa Paula and three miles west of the city of Fillmore, along the Santa Clara River.

Details about the California Stream Flow Enhancement Program are available on the WCB website.

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Aug. 24 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $24.5 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 15 approved  projects will benefit fish and wildlife – including some endangered species – while others will provide public 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, landowners and the local community. The state funds for all these projects come from bond measures approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Funded projects include:

  • A $317,000 grant to East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy (ECCCHC) and the acceptance of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition grant, and the approval to sub-grant these federal funds to the ECCCHC. This will fund a cooperative project with the East Bay Regional Park District to acquire approximately 40 acres of land for the protection and preservation of existing regional wildlife linkages and grassland habitats that support listed species identified in the ECCCHC/Natural Community Conservation Plan, south of the city of Antioch in Contra Costa County.
  • A $1.6 million grant to the California Department of Water Resources for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the San Joaquin River Conservancy (SJRC) to construct public access and habitat enhancements to a gravel pit pond adjacent to the San Joaquin River at the SJRC Sycamore Island property, approximately 3 miles downstream of the State Route 41 bridge in Madera County.
  • A $1.4 million grant to the Regents of the University of California for a cooperative project with University of California, Santa Barbara to construct an administrative and meeting hall, renovate research quarters, construct an outdoor kitchen and repair roads and other infrastructure and facilities needed to serve current and projected needs within the Sedgwick Reserve, 35 miles north of Santa Barbara near the town of Santa Ynez in Santa Barbara County.
  • A $20 million grant to assist a cooperative project with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority to acquire a multipurpose easement over approximately 9 acres of land for habitat restoration, open space preservation, and to provide potential future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities, four miles north of downtown Los Angeles in Los Angeles County.
  • A $384,600 grant to The Chaparral Lands Conservancy for a cooperative project with the California Department of Parks and Recreation to restore approximately 5 acres of sensitive vernal pool and sensitive maritime succulent scrub habitats on City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department property adjacent to Ocean Hills Parkway and Otay Mesa Road, in the community of Otay Mesa.

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

a muddy drive leads to a river with trees and grass on the banks
Photo courtesy of DWR
dried-out scrub brush and dead grass among fan palms, with arid mountains in the distance, under a blue sky
Photo courtesy of City of Los Angeles
wet, grassy vernal pool habitat damaged by mountain bikes
WCB photo by Don Crocker

 

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

Green trees line a stream behind wet meadow grasses and tules.

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Aug. 30 quarterly meet

Green iceplant and pampas grass invade southern California coastal wetlands between two roads.
Iceplant invades coastal wetlands at Ponto Beach near Encinitas. Photo courtesy of San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy

ing, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $15 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 21 funded projects will benefit 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, landowners and the local community. The state funds for all these projects come from initiatives approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Funded projects include:

  • A $135,000 grant to the Lake County Land Trust to acquire in fee approximately 34 acres of land for the protection of shoreline freshwater wetland, riparian woodland
    and wet meadow habitats that support the state-threatened Clear Lake hitch and the western pond turtle, a state species of special concern. This will also provide future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities in an area known as Big Valley, on the northwestern shore of Clear Lake in Lake County.
  • A $1.2 million grant to the Feather River Land Trust for a cooperative project with the Natural Resources Agency to acquire a conservation easement over approximately
    5,530 acres of land to provide protection for deer, mountain lion and oak habitats near the town of Doyle in Lassen County.
  • A $1.7 million acquisition in fee of approximately 1,066 acres of land by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to expand the Crocker Meadows Wildlife Area, protect riparian and oak woodland habitat, and for future wildlife oriented public use opportunities near Beckwourth in Plumas County.
  • A $3 million grant to Sonoma County Agriculture Preservation and Open Space District for a cooperative project with the State Coastal Conservancy to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 871 acres of forest lands, including large areas of old and new growth redwood located near Stewarts Point in Sonoma County.
  • A $2.5 million grant to the San Bernardino Mountains Land Trust for a cooperative project with the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District to acquire in fee approximately 240 acres of land as an expansion of the Sawmill Pebble Plain Ecological Preserve – rare pebble plain habitat supporting a wide variety of endemic plant species – south of Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains, in San Bernardino County.
  • An $850,000 grant to the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy for a cooperative project to implement a comprehensive habitat restoration program, remove target nonnative invasive weed species and restore native habitat on 65 acres of coastal wetlands on several sites located at Agua Hedionda, Batiquitos Lagoon and San Elijo Lagoon. These are located from approximately nine miles north to five miles south of Encinitas on privately owned properties and on properties owned by CDFW and the Department of Parks and Recreation.

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

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Oak woodland on hills behind a wide, open plain with scrub brush
Crocker Meadows Wildlife Area. CDFW photo
View from hillside high above the blue Pacific ocean behind green and brown pasture land.
View from Stewarts Point Ranch in Sonoma County. CDFW photo
A rare, pebble plain habitat with goldend-dry vegetation in front of a green oak forest.
Sawmill Pebble Plain Ecological Preserve. CDFW photo

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