Tag Archives: Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Feb. 22 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $17.9 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.

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

Funded projects include:

  • A $350,000 grant to the National Forest Foundation for a cooperative project with U.S. Forest Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board to thin approximately 140 acres of forest in the Tahoe National Forest, 10 miles northeast of Truckee in Nevada County.
  • A $3,030,000 grant to the Northcoast Regional Land Trust to acquire a conservation easement on approximately 15,586 acres of mixed conifer working forest lands that include oak woodland habitat with multiple oak species, for conservation of the natural resources, preservation of wildlife habitat linkages and habitat areas for numerous wildlife species and to help sustain water quality. The project is located near the communities of Maple Creek and Bridgeville in Humboldt County.
  • A $1,500,000 grant to the California Waterfowl Association for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to develop water conveyance infrastructure and enhance wetlands on CDFW’s Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, located approximately 7.5 miles southwest of the town of Gridley in Butte County.
  • A $1,270,000 grant to the Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT), the acceptance of a USFWS Land Acquisition grant, and approval to sub-grant these federal funds to the MDLT to acquire approximately 1,640 acres of land for the protection and preservation of desert riparian and desert tortoise habitats and to protect other listed or protected species that may be present. The project is located near the community of Helendale in San Bernardino County.
  • $1,865,000 for the acquisition of approximately 328 acres of land by CDFW for a cooperative project with USFWS to protect open space and promote the restoration of critical habitat that supports threatened and endangered species adjacent to the Colorado River and the preservation of a wildlife linkage and corridor from the Colorado River to the Colorado Desert. The project is located north of the city of Blythe in Riverside County and will provide future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities.
  • A $278,000 grant to the Elkhorn Slough Foundation, for a cooperative project with CDFW to redesign and repair the existing outdoor amphitheater at CDFW’s Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve, located eight miles south of the City of Watsonville in Monterey County.

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

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

Youth Waterfowl Day Hunt Successful at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

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Media Contacts:
Andy Atkinson, CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist, (530) 846-7500
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478

Junior hunters and their mentors lined up like flocks of ducks at 5 a.m. at the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area check station waiting to sign in and go hunting on Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days Feb. 1 and 2. Only hunters 15 years of age and under accompanied by a non-hunting, mentoring adult can hunt waterfowl on these dates.

By 6:30 a.m. they were scattered across the marshlands of Gray Lodge Wildlife Area ready to hunt. They averaged a little over four ducks each by day’s end.

Cory Macintyre took his 10-year-old son, Alex, and 12-year-old daughter, Kate, to Gray Lodge. The Macintyres recently took up hunting and are learning the skills of duck hunting on public lands. Alex shot a Gadwall duck banded in northeast Oregon in 2007. While Gadwall ducks are very common at Gray Lodge, harvesting a banded one is rare.

“This is our first full season of duck hunting and it is a blast but there is a lot to learn,” Cory Macintyre said. “I just hope there is water here next year so I can bring the kids. They are excited and we have a lot invested in shotguns, waders, camo clothes, decoys and shells.”

A successful hunt depends on habitat and in the case of wetlands that means water. Water was significantly limited this year and all irrigation deliveries to Gray Lodge ended in late December. As drought conditions took hold and no rain fell for longer than 50 days, wildlife managers had to make tough decisions on when and where to put water to maintain wetlands for wildlife.

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area’s 9,182 acres provide feeding and roosting habitat for hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese throughout the migratory season, and nesting habitat for resident ducks during the spring and summer. With 95 percent of California’s historic wetland and riparian areas lost, Gray Lodge is vital to waterfowl and provides habitat to a vast array of native California species, both plant and animal.

“It was a real challenge this year to utilize our limited water resources,” said Andy Atkinson, CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist. “Our efforts resulted in providing critical habitat for more than one million ducks and geese that stayed on and in the vicinity of the area for the vast majority of the season and resulted in excellent hunting and waterfowl viewing opportunities.”

Safety standards are of paramount consideration when establishing the number of young hunters accompanied by their mentors that can hunt on a wildlife area. Wildlife managers try to give mentored hunters more room to hunt by increasing the ratio of huntable acres per hunter. This spreads the mentored hunters out more, reduces competition and increases the likelihood of success.

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days provide a unique opportunity for mentored hunts for young hunters. Statewide an estimated 20,000 out of 68,000 California waterfowl hunters purchased passes to state-operated hunting programs on wildlife areas and federal refuges in 2012.

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