Initiative Aims to Speed Coho Salmon Recovery in California Coastal Watersheds from Santa Cruz to Mendocino Counties

Coho salmon are getting a boost from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) strategic plan to prioritize salmon restoration and habitat improvement projects in coastal watersheds from Santa Cruz to Mendocino counties. In most of these watersheds, coho salmon are in severe decline or locally extinct due to human alterations to land and water resources.

The Priority Action Coho Team (PACT) is designed to focus much needed restoration to help maintain, stabilize and increase localized coho salmon populations. The approach of the PACT initiative is to identify and implement specific short-term actions, drawing from existing state and federal coho salmon recovery plans, to bring immediate benefits.

“PACT employs six strategies emphasizing planning actions and collaboration to accelerate coho salmon recovery from Santa Cruz to Mendocino counties,” said Kevin Shaffer, CDFW Branch Chief. “We look forward to working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) and our many partners on collaborating to recover this amazing fish.”

Watersheds where PACT restoration projects are being implemented include Scott Creek in Santa Cruz County and the Russian River in Sonoma County, where a range of projects to restore and improve stream and estuarine habitat have been carried out. These initiatives include recovery actions such as stream habitat restoration, water conservation, captive rearing and fish rescue, together with improvements to permitting, regulatory and enforcement processes.

PACT was developed jointly by CDFW and NOAA Fisheries, and is part of several initiatives to accelerate the implementation of ecological restoration and stewardship projects in California. Complimentary efforts include the Cutting the Green Tape initiative recently launched by the California Natural Resources Agency, other state agencies and the North Coast Salmon Project.

More information about the PACT process, as well as the link to the report, can be found on the CDFW website.

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Media Contacts:
Stephen Swales, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 376-1746
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (208) 220-1169

Drawings Available for Nearly 100 Spring Wild Turkey Hunts on Public, Private Land

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering nearly 100 special hunts on both public and private land for the upcoming spring wild turkey season, which opens statewide March 28 and extends through May 3.

Young hunters have additional opportunities to bag a tom turkey. Junior hunting license holders 17 and younger can hunt March 21-22, the weekend before the general opener, and two weeks after the general season closes, May 4-17, using shotguns or any other legal method of take. CDFW is offering 27 special turkey hunts reserved just for junior hunting license holders.

California’s archery-only spring turkey season runs from May 4-17. CDFW is once again offering a drawing for seven, archery-only hunts throughout the general and archery seasons near Millerton Lake in Madera County.

CDFW’s SHARE Program, which provides public hunting access to private properties, is offering drawings for spring turkey hunts on two private ranches in Tulare County, the 722-acre River Ridge Ranch and the 975-acre Hart Ranch, including one hunt reserved for junior hunting license holders March 22 at the River Ridge Ranch.

With growing populations of wild turkeys in almost every part of the state, the spring turkey season has become one of the most anticipated events on the upland game bird hunting calendar.

Shooting hours for spring turkeys are from one half-hour before sunrise to 5 p.m. Both a hunting license and an upland game bird stamp validation are required to hunt wild turkeys, although an upland validation is not required of junior hunting license holders.

Hunters are limited to one bearded turkey per day with a season limit of three birds.

Nonlead shot is required when taking wildlife with a firearm anywhere in the state. These regulations apply to both public and private land, including all national forests, Bureau of Land Management and CDFW properties. For more information on hunting with nonlead ammunition, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/nonlead-ammunition.

Applications for CDFW’s special spring turkey hunting opportunities must be made through CDFW’s Automated License Data System (ALDS). Hunts are grouped into four separate drawings: Junior Hunts, General Opening Weekend Hunts, Archery-Only Hunts and Balance of Season Hunts. There is a $2.42 application fee and only one application per hunter is allowed for each drawing. Applications allow hunters to select their top three hunt choices in order of preference. Hunters may only be drawn once per application. The application deadline for these hunts is as follows:

  • Junior Hunts: Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020
  • Opening Weekend General Season Hunts: Saturday, March 7, 2020
  • Archery-Only Hunts: Sunday, March 8, 2020
  • Balance of the Season Hunts: Wednesday, March 11, 2020

To apply, visit CDFW’s online sales site, sign into your account, select the “Purchase Licenses” link and select “2019 – Hunting” from the menu on the left side of the page. The spring turkey hunt application items will be available under the “Drawings” section on the right side of the page. After submitting your application, checking out and completing payment, you will be able to download a receipt confirming your entries into the drawings.

For more details and descriptions of these hunts, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/turkey-hunts.

Hunters will also find the “SHARE Hunts Multi Choice Application” available in the same location online after signing into their accounts. The application fee for the Tulare County private ranch turkey hunts is $11.88 per hunt with all proceeds returned to participating landowners to pay for these hunts and additional opportunities.

For more details and descriptions of these SHARE hunts, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share#51518483-general-hunts and select the links for the River Ridge Ranch and the Hart Ranch.

Media Contacts:
Matt Meshriy, CDFW Upland/Small Game Program, (916) 373-8816
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

Elk, Pronghorn Antelope Captures to Be Conducted in Northern California

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is planning to capture numerous elk and pronghorn antelope in northern California over the next two weeks.

Under the direction of CDFW veterinary staff, CDFW wildlife biologists will lead the captures. Capture crews will locate elk and pronghorn via helicopter, capture them with net guns and restrain the captured animals for tagging and collaring.

From Feb. 6-8, CDFW will capture as many as 10 adult Roosevelt elk in Humboldt County in northwestern California. From Feb. 9-13, CDFW will capture up to 22 Rocky Mountain elk in Shasta, Lassen, Modoc and Siskiyou counties in northeastern California. Pronghorn captures are scheduled for Feb. 14-15, also in northeastern California.

The elk will be captured on lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and National Park Service (NPS) as well as on private properties with permission from landowners. CDFW is grateful to the USFS, NPS, timberland owners and other private landowners that are providing access to their lands for the captures.

Each elk will be ear tagged and fitted with a GPS collar. The collars will provide detailed information about elk for approximately five years. The information will enhance CDFW’s knowledge of current elk distribution, abundance, survival and habitat use.

For additional information regarding captures in Shasta, Lassen, Modoc or Siskiyou counties, please contact CDFW wildlife biologist Erin Nigon at (530) 598-6011. For information regarding captures in Humboldt County, please contact CDFW wildlife biologist Carrington Hilson at (707) 502-4078. For information on pronghorn captures, please contact biologist Richard Shinn at (530) 233-3581

Good News for Duck Hunters: Season Extends to Jan. 31, 2020, in Balance of State, Southern San Joaquin and Southern California Zones

California’s 2019-20 duck season will be extended five additional days this season, closing on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, at the end of legal shooting hours in the Balance of State, Southern San Joaquin and Southern California zones that cover most of the state.

The California Fish and Game Commission last April unanimously approved Jan. 31, 2020, as the duck season end date for the three zones as opposed to the traditional closure the last Sunday in January. The five additional days are intended to provide more hunter opportunity at the end of the season when waterfowl hunting is often at its best.

The extended season maximizes duck hunting opportunity while staying within the federal waterfowl management regulatory framework. It also provides incentive to keep managed wetlands flooded for just a bit longer to the benefit of waterfowl and a host of other wetland species.

State-operated wildlife areas will be open for hunting on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, to accommodate the extended season.

The extension does not include goose hunting in the Balance of State Zone, which means the regular season for dark and white geese will close Sunday, Jan. 26, at the end of legal shooting hours. The waterfowl season in the Southern San Joaquin and Southern California zones will extend to Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, for both ducks and geese. A map of California’s waterfowl zones is available on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) website.

A late season goose hunt for white-fronted and white geese will open Saturday, Feb. 8 in the Balance of State Zone and extend for five days, ending Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, except in the Sacramento Valley Special Management Area where the white-fronted goose season will remain closed.

California’s Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days, open to those possessing a valid Junior Hunting License and Harvest Information Program validation, will take place Saturday, Feb. 8 and Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in the Balance of State, Southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern California zones.

Several – but not all – state-operated wildlife areas will be open to accommodate youth hunters that weekend. Federal regulations require that hunters must be 17 years of age or younger and must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older. A Federal Duck Stamp or E-Stamp is required for hunters 16 years of age and older. Daily bag and possession limits apply along with all other waterfowl regulations for the 2019-20 waterfowl season. The regulations are available on CDFW’s Waterfowl Hunting web page.

Media Contact:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

End of Drought Brings Stocked Trout Back to Crystal Lake

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has once again stocked Crystal Lake in Los Angeles County with rainbow trout, restoring angling opportunities after several years. CDFW stopped stocking this popular fishing area because years of drought led to low lake levels and poor water quality.

“It’s exciting to be able to bring back this opportunity for anglers in the San Gabriel Mountains,” said Inland Fisheries Environmental Scientist Jennifer Pareti. “Prior to the drought, Crystal Lake was stocked by CDFW for more than 70 years. People often share with me their memories of catching fish as kids at Crystal Lake.”

Pareti said recent rainfall, along with efforts by Angeles National Forest to improve the lake’s water quality and habitat, were major factors in the decision to stock the lake again. The fish were supplied by CDFW’s Mojave River Hatchery in San Bernardino County.

“Crystal Lake is a wonderful gem for Los Angeles County. It offers a great opportunity for people to enjoy our local forest and fish this natural lake,” Pareti said.

Media Contacts:
Jennifer Pareti, CDFW Inland Fisheries Program, (562) 342-7173
Tim Daly, CDFW Communications, (916) 201-2958