Tag Archives: conservation

Sacramento River Closure to Go Into Effect April 1

A temporary emergency regulation closing all fishing within 5.5 miles of spawning habitat on the Upper Sacramento River begins on April 1, 2016 and will remain in effect through July 31, 2016. Enhanced protective measures are also proposed in the ocean sport and commercial salmon fisheries regulations for the 2016 season.

The temporary emergency regulation closes all fishing on the 5.5 mile stretch of the Sacramento River from the Highway 44 Bridge where it crosses the Sacramento River upstream to Keswick Dam. The area is currently closed to salmon fishing but was open to trout fishing. The temporary closure will protect critical spawning habitat and eliminate any incidental stress or hooking mortality of winter-run Chinook salmon by anglers.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) scientists believe the additional protection provided in the emergency river closure and potential ocean fishing restrictions will help avoid a third year of substantial winter-run Chinook salmon loss.

Historically, winter-run Chinook spawned in the upper reaches of Sacramento River tributaries, including the McCloud, Pit, and Little Sacramento rivers. Shasta and Keswick dams now block access to the historic spawning areas. Winter-run Chinook, however, were able to take advantage of cool summer water releases downstream of Keswick Dam. In the 1940s and 1950s, the population recovered, but beginning in 1970, the population experienced a dramatic decline, to a low of approximately 200 spawners by the early 1990s. The run was classified as endangered under the state Endangered Species Act in 1989, and as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1994.

The Fish and Game Commission adopted CDFW’s proposal for the 2016 temporary closure at its regularly scheduled February meeting.

Media Contact:
Jason Roberts, CDFW Northern Region, (530) 225-2131
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW Awards $31.4 Million to Fund Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 24 projects that will receive funding from its Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1) Restoration Grant Programs

The grants, which total $31.4 million, are CDFW’s first distribution of funds through these programs. They include approximately $24.6 million awarded through the Watershed Restoration Grant Program to projects of statewide importance outside of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta; and approximately $6.8 million awarded through the Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program for projects that benefit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta specifically.

In response to this first solicitation, announced last August, CDFW received 190 proposals requesting a total of $218 million in funding. All proposals underwent an initial administrative review, and those that passed were evaluated through a technical review process that included reviews by CDFW scientists, as well as experts from other agencies and academia.

The 24 approved projects will further the objectives of the California Water Action Plan, including establishing more reliable water supplies, restoring important species and habitat, and creating a more resilient and sustainably managed water resources system (e.g., water supply, water quality, flood protection and habitat) that can better withstand inevitable and unforeseen pressures in the coming decades.

“These projects achieve the spirit and intent of Proposition 1 to protect and restore important ecosystems around the state,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “Investing in these projects is exciting. These projects prove we can conserve California’s natural resources, while also contributing to other critical statewide needs, such as enhancing water supply reliability.”

Californians overwhelmingly approved Proposition 1 in November 2014. CDFW received its first appropriation of funds for allocation July 2015. In a little over one year from voter approval, and just more than six months from legislative appropriations, CDFW is awarding these first grants with Proposition 1 funds.

Projects approved for funding through the Watershed Restoration Grant Program include:

  • Reclamation District 2035/Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency Joint Intake and Fish Screen ($8,128,621 to Reclamation District 2035);
  • South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project Phase 2: Ravenswood and Mt. View Ponds ($5,000,000 to California State Coastal Conservancy);
  • San Joaquin River – Invasive Species Management and Job Creation Project ($1,497,843 to River Partners);
  • San Joaquin River – Native Habitat Restoration and Species Enhancement at Dos Rios Ranch ($798,978 to River Partners);
  • North Campus Open Space Coastal Wetland Restoration Project ($997,095 to Regents of University California, Santa Barbara);
  • San Francisco Estuary Invasive Spartina Removal and Tidal Marsh Restoration Project ($3,000,000 to California State Coastal Conservancy);
  • Tuolumne River Bobcat Flat Salmonid Habitat Restoration-Duck Slough Side Channel Restoration for Off-Channel Rearing Habitat ($453,618 to Tuolumne River Conservancy);
  • Native Trout Preservation in the Santa Ana Watershed in Southern California ($44,093 to Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District);
  • Restoring Fish Migration Connectivity to the Salt River Coastal Watershed ($1,995,438 to Humboldt County Resource Conservation District);
  • Grasslands Floodplain Restoration Project ($576,351 to American Rivers);
  • Perazzo Meadows Restoration ($607,889 to Truckee River Watershed Council);
  • San Gabriel Watershed Restoration Program ($65,000 to Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District);
  • Sequoia National Forest Prioritized Meadows Restoration Project ($486,173 to Trout Unlimited); and
  • Lower Putah Creek Watershed Restoration ($990,312 to Solano County Water Agency).

Projects approved for funding through the Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program include:

  • Reconstructing juvenile salmon growth, condition and Delta habitat use in the 2014-15 drought and beyond ($800,484 to Regents of the University of California, Davis, Center for Watershed Sciences);
  • Drought-related high water temperature impacts survival of California salmonids through disease, increasing predation risk ($625,740 to Regents of the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine);
  • Hydrodynamic influences on the food webs of restoring tidal wetlands ($867,235 to Regents of the University of California, Davis, Center for Watershed Sciences);
  • Rush Ranch Lower Spring Branch Creek and Suisun Hill Hollow Tidal Connections Project ($839,449 to Solano Land Trust);
  • Mechanisms underlying the flow relationship of longfin smelt: I. Movement and feeding ($1,263,991 to San Francisco State University);
  • The Effect of Drought on Delta Smelt Vital Rates ($678,275 to Regents of the University of California, Davis, Office of Research, Sponsored Programs);
  • Yolo Bypass Westside Tributaries Flow Monitoring Project ($331,148 to Yolo County);
  • Problems and Promise of Restoring Tidal Marsh to Benefit Native Fishes in the North Delta during Drought and Flood ($969,238 to Regents of the University of California, Davis, Center for Watershed Sciences);
  • Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Habitat and Drainage Improvement Project Permitting ($145,944 to Ducks Unlimited); and
  • Knightsen Wetland Restoration and Flood Protection Project ($240,000 to East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy).

More information about CDFW’s Proposition 1 Restoration Grant Programs can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/grants. Funding for these projects comes from the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act 2014 (Proposition 1) bond funds, a portion of which are allocated annually through the California State Budget Act. More information about Proposition 1 can be found here.

Responsible Angling Practices Help Conserve Sturgeon Populations

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is asking anglers to use caution and extra vigilance to help conserve California’s white sturgeon and green sturgeon populations, both of which are being impacted by the drought. Sturgeon are caught by anglers year-round in a popular sport fishery centered in the San Francisco Estuary, but anglers — especially those fishing in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers — need to be aware of special regulations in place to protect and grow the populations.

man on boat deck writes data about a white sturgeon laying in front of him
Fisheries Biologist Mike Harris keeps careful records while conducting the annual CDFW sturgeon survey

White sturgeon is a substantial management concern and green sturgeon is a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act. Green sturgeon may not be fished for, removed from the water if caught, or kept. White sturgeon may only be kept if between 40 and 60 inches and caught by anglers in possession of Sturgeon Fishing Report Cards (including single-use tags) while using single barbless hooks in areas that are not closed.

Strict fishing regulations are designed primarily to conserve older white sturgeon and ensure that all sturgeon survive catch-and-release. The effectiveness of catch-and-release depends in large part on angler technique. CDFW encourages anglers to use high-strength fishing line to reduce duration of the fight and in-water techniques for measuring the size of white sturgeon. Anglers should leave oversize white sturgeon in the water at all times and know how to quickly identify green sturgeon.

In 2014, California anglers reported keeping 2,286 white sturgeon while releasing 4,565 white sturgeon (most were undersized) and 183 green sturgeon. Other data on the white sturgeon fishery and population is available at www.dfg.ca.gov/delta/data/sturgeon/bibliography.asp.

A flyer on identifying green sturgeon can be found at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentId=105326.

The complete fishing regulations are available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations.

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Media Contacts:
Marty Gingras, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (209) 234-3486
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

CDFW Now Accepting Applications for Fisheries Restoration Grants

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting grant applications for anadromous salmonid restoration projects that address impacts of the ongoing drought. Drought restoration funds will be granted to projects located in anadromous waters within coastal watersheds and the Central Valley.

Eligible applicants include public agencies, recognized tribes and qualified nonprofit organizations. Funding for drought restoration will total approximately $1.5 million and will be focused on habitat restoration, water conservation, education and drought planning.

The 2015 Summer Proposal Solicitation Notice for Drought Restoration Grants and the application is available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/fish/Administration/Grants/FRGP/Solicitation.asp.

Completed applications should be sent to the CDFW Fisheries Restoration Grant Program, 830 S Street, Sacramento, CA 95811. Applications must be received by July 24, 2015 (postmarks will not be accepted).

Approved projects will start no later than June 1, 2016, and end no later than March 1, 2018. Proposal timeframes must occur within this period. For information or questions about the solicitation or application process, please contact Patty Forbes, Grant Program Coordinator, at (916) 327-8842, or Kevin Shaffer, Anadromous Program Manager, at (916) 327-8841.

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Media Contacts:
Patty Forbes, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 327-8842

Kevin Shaffer, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 327-8841
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its May 21 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $17.8 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 19 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, land owners and the local community. The funds for all these projects come from initiatives approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Some of the funded projects include:

  • A $360,000 grant to American Rivers, Inc., for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), US Forest Service (USFS), Wildlife Conservation Society, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Alpine Watershed Group, for ecological restoration of the West Fork Carson River in CDFW’s Hope Valley Wildlife Area and the USFS’s Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, 12 miles south of South Lake Tahoe in Alpine County.
  • A $450,000 grant to the Redwood Community Action Agency for a cooperative project with Humboldt and Del Norte County Agriculture Departments, California Department of Transportation, California Department of Parks and Recreation and the Yurok Tribe, to eradicate non-native knotweeds and other invasive species at more than 100 locations in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.
  • A $1.6 million grant to Pacific Forest Trust to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 3,468 acres of land to protect of a mixed conifer working forest and habitat linkages located near the community of Montague in Siskiyou County.
  • A $2.1 million grant for the acquisition of a conservation easement over approximately 1,447 acres of land by CDFW for a cooperative project with The Trust for Public Land, to protect native oak woodlands habitat near Penn Valley in Nevada County.
  • A $465,000 grant to the Santa Cruz Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, California Conservation Corps, State Coastal Conservancy, State Water Resources Control Board, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County and a private landowner, to restore riparian habitat in areas critical to special status amphibian and fish species, located on two coastal watersheds in Santa Cruz County.
  • A $568,000 grant to The Nature Conservancy for a cooperative project with the National Park Service to eliminate Argentine ants from Santa Cruz Island, approximately 20 miles west of Ventura Harbor in Santa Barbara County.

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

small river with pebble bottom running through a dry Alpine wilderness
West Fork Carson River in CDFW’s Hope Valley Wildlife Area and the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, in Alpine County. WCB photo
Green, leafy groundcover blankets floor of deciduous forest
Non-native knotweeds and other invasive species found in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Photo by Monica Walker
narrow creek runs through green meadow with a few tall conifer trees
Butte Creek in Siskiyou County
Black, red and white sign warning of Argentine ants, posted on rural wood fence
Invasive Argentine ants warning on Santa Cruz Island, in the Santa Barbara Channel.
Creek runs through green and brown forest brush
Riparian habitat in areas critical to special status amphibian and fish species, in a coastal watershed in Santa Cruz County. WCB photo
Oak trees on a hill surrounded by dry, yellow grasses
Native oak woodlands habitat near Penn Valley in Nevada County. WCB photo

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