Tag Archives: habitat conservation

Tax Time is the Right Time to Help California’s Endangered Wildlife

As you gather your W-2 and other income tax paperwork, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) hopes you will consider helping our state’s endangered plants, animals and fish when you file your state return.

The California Individual Income Tax Form 540 gives us all an opportunity to help our native wildlife—including plants and fish—by donating to the Rare and Endangered Species Preservation Program and the California Sea Otter Fund in the Voluntary Contributions section of your state return. Any amount you contribute will support programs that benefit California species at risk of extinction. For most people, donations are tax-deductible the following year.

We live and work in one of the most biologically and geographically diverse states in North America—one reason California is such a nice place to live. But it is also the state with the largest human population, and many of our activities are detrimental to wildlife.

California has 220 plant species and 87 animal species listed as rare, threatened or endangered. Money raised through the tax contribution program helps pay for essential CDFW research and recovery efforts for these plants and animals, as well as critical efforts to restore and conserve their habitat. Habitat conservation and restoration for the most vulnerable species also protects many other plants and animals, helps recover ecosystem function and enhances the outdoor experience for all Californians.

The Rare and Endangered Species Preservation Program (RESP) on line 403 of yourtax return, has supported work benefiting California’s native at-risk fish, wildlife and plants since 1983. Donations to this fund by California taxpayers has enabled CDFW to obtain grant money from the federal government and collaborate with numerous stakeholders, agencies and other organizations to conserve native wildlife.

For example, with such partners we are currently:

  • investigating the impact that a deadly new fungus may have on native salamanders and ways to potentially manage infections,
  • reintroducing critically endangered mountain yellow-legged frogs to historically occupied areas,
  • assisting with development of a 10-year Recovery Action Plan for the San Francisco gartersnake and plans for future reintroductions,
  • investigating the impacts of insecticides on food resources, and breeding success of the threatened tricolored blackbird,
  • assisting with Mohave ground squirrel population monitoring at a long-term monitoring site near the Coso Range of Inyo county, and
  • coordinating development of a plan for the release of California condors into the Klamath region of northern California to help increase the breeding population and species distribution.

In 2018, the RESP voluntary donations helped provide endangered species protection for two species of plants, one bird and one mammal at risk of extinction: the tiny coast yellow leptosiphon (Leptosiphon croceus), known from only one population in San Mateo County; the beautiful Lassics lupine (Lupinus constancei), known from only two populations in the remote Lassics mountains of Humboldt and Trinity counties; the uniquely colonial tricolored blackbird (Agelaius tricolor), which is restricted almost entirely to California; and a small forest carnivore, the Humboldt marten (Martes caurina humboldtensis).

The RESP donations are also helping biologists evaluate whether two species of frogs warrant protection under the California Endangered Species Act.

Contributions to the California Sea Otter Fund on line 410 of your tax return are split between CDFW and the State Coastal Conservancy to benefit our Southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) population. The smallest marine mammal once lived in nearshore waters all along California’s coast and in estuaries such as Humboldt, San Francisco, Tomales and Morro bays. Reliable sources estimate there once were as many as 16,000 sea otters in California before fur traders hunted them to near-extinction in the 19th century. A few survived, were discovered in the 1930s, and quickly given legal protection. They are federally listed as threatened.

The Coastal Conservancy uses most of your donations for grants supporting research and conservation actions that facilitate recovery of California’s sea otter.  Research funded through this program has investigated factors limiting population growth and opportunities for range expansion to facilitate population recovery. Conservation actions funded have reduced threats to sea otters including:

  • reducing cyanobacteria blooms affecting otters, through management of water chemistry at Pinto Lake in Watsonville,
  • reducing vehicle strikes on otters, through installation of speed humps and signage on a coastal road in Moss Landing, and
  • reducing disturbance to sea otters by marine recreationists, through the Sea Otter Savvy

CDFW uses Sea Otter Fund donations for scientific research on the causes of death in California’s sea otters to help inform management actions like those listed above.

More than 16 million Californians file state tax returns each year. If each one donated just one dollar, we could solve many problems for our wildlife and ecosystems. It doesn’t take a large donation (although we dearly appreciate those!) to make a difference. The average voluntary contribution in 2018 was $15.

CDFW biologists have achieved important recovery milestones and protected vulnerable species, thanks to California taxpayers. More information about how CDFW uses donated funds is at www.wildlife.ca.gov/tax-donation and at www.facebook.com/seaotterfundcdfw.

If someone else prepares your state tax return, please let him or her know you want to donate to the Rare and Endangered Species Preservation Program on line 403 or the California Sea Otter Fund on line 410. If you use TurboTax, step-by-step instructions to help you find the California Contribution Funds are posted in the CDFW Document Library.

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Media Contacts:
Jeb Bjerke, CDFW Native Plants Program, (916) 651-6594
Esther Burkett, CDFW Nongame Wildlife Program, (916) 531-1594
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420
Laird Henkel, CDFW Sea Otter Program, (831) 469-1726

CDFW Awards $27.8 Million for Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration and Protection Projects Including Fire Recovery

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

The awards, totaling $27.8 million, were made under CDFW’s 2018 Prop. 1 Restoration Grant Programs Resiliency, Recovery and Response Proposal Solicitation Notice.

Of the $27.8 million, approximately $23.9 million was awarded through the Watershed Restoration Grant Program to projects of statewide importance outside of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and approximately $3.9 million awarded through the Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program to projects that directly benefit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The awarded projects represent priorities outlined in the 2018 Solicitation, as well as the California Water Action Plan. The 2018 solicitation included a specific focus on large-scale wildfire response and Central Valley salmon resilience and recovery.

“CDFW has maintained an adaptive priority-setting approach each year under our Prop. 1 grant program, and we are pleased to fund a number of projects this year that support fire recovery as well as continuing restoration actions,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “We are proud to have funded over 100 on-the-ground projects in the four years since the implementation of Prop. 1. These are projects that will continue to deliver benefits to our fish and wildlife, and the habitats where they thrive.”

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

Implementation Projects 

  • Restoring Ecosystem Function in the Upper Salt River Watershed ($1,131,333 to Humboldt County Resource Conservation District
  • Upper Truckee River and Marsh Restoration Project ($1,700,066 to California Tahoe Conservancy)
  • Martis Wildlife Area Restoration Project ($3,280,656 to Truckee River Watershed Council)
  • El Capitan Creek Fish Passage Restoration Implementation ($1,179,473 to California Department of Parks and Recreation)
  • Rubber Dam No. 1 System Fish Passage Improvements Project ($5,000,0000 to Alameda County Water District)
  • East Creek Restoration Project ($316,803 to Plumas Corporation)
  • Reidy Creek Restoration and Beautification Project ($380,873 to The Escondido Creek Conservancy)
  • The Road to Recovery: Redwood Complex Fire Restoration – Implementation ($656,902 to Mendocino County)
  • Post Fire Forest Management and Sediment Reduction for Coho Recovery ($1,423,107 to Sonoma Resource Conservation District)
  • Grasslands Floodplain Restoration Implementation Project ($1,342,718 to American Rivers)
  • Robin’s Nest Fire Recovery and Habitat Restoration Project ($301,600 to Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority)
  • West Stanislaus Irrigation District Fish Screen Project ($2,250,000 to West Stanislaus Irrigation District)
  • San Francisco Estuary Invasive Spartina Removal and Tidal Marsh Restoration Project, Phase II ($2,200,000 to California State Coastal Conservancy)
  • Multi-benefit Floodplain Restoration at Dos Rios Ranch and Steenstrup Slough ($1,588,911 to River Partners)

Planning Projects 

  • San Ysidro Creek Debris Basin Capacity Improvement Project ($139,744 to Santa Barbara County Flood Control and Water Conservation District)
  • Cold Springs Debris Basin Capacity Improvement Project ($139,744 to Santa Barbara County Flood Control & Water Conservation District)
  • Romero Creek Debris Basin Capacity Improvement Project ($139,744 to Santa Barbara County Flood Control and Water Conservation District)
  • Mapping, Assessment and Planning for Recovery and Resiliency in Fire-Damaged Watersheds in the Thomas Fire and Whittier Fire Recovery Zones ($382,223 to Santa Barbara Botanic Garden)
  • The Road to Recovery: Redwood Complex Fire Restoration – Planning ($88,382 to Mendocino County)
  • Dos Pueblos Creek Restoration Designs ($222,104 to Earth Island Institute)

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

Scientific Studies

  • Eyes and Ears: Using Lens and Otolith Isotopes to Quantify Critical Rearing Habitats for Salmon Viability ($838,279 to University of California, Davis)
  • Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Bloom Toxins in Freshwater and Estuarine Invertebrates: Implications for Managed Species, Their Communities, and Human Health Risks ($612,115 to Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board)
  • Pathogen Screening and Health Status of Outmigrating Chinook Salmon in the California Delta ($733,884 to University of California, Davis)
  • High Resolution Temporal and Spatial Mapping of Mercury in Surface Waters of the San Francisco Bay Delta ($1,708,808 to University of California, Merced)

General information about CDFW’s Prop. 1 Restoration Grant Programs, as well as a schedule of locations and dates for workshops, once available, can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/grants.

Funding for these projects comes from Prop. 1 bond funds, a portion of which are allocated annually through the California State Budget Act. More information about Prop. 1 is on the California Natural Resources Agency website.

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Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, CDFW Watershed Restoration Grants Branch, (916) 445-1285

Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Succulent Plant Poachers Convicted in Humboldt County

Three defendants in a succulent plant poaching case out of Humboldt County have each pled guilty to two felonies and other misdemeanor charges, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office announced. Felony convictions included conspiracy and false filings with the government, and misdemeanor convictions included removal of plant material from public lands and commercial sales of plants removed from public lands.

The succulent plants at the center of the investigation are called Dudleyas. They grow in unique niches close to the coastline, typically on cliffsides immediately adjacent to the water. The poachers had a network of buyers in Korea and China, where Dudleya are valued as a trendy houseplant.

Removal of Dudleya, or any vegetation in sensitive habitat, can result in environmental degradation of habitat and a destabilization of bluffs and cliffs on the coastline. Some Dudleya species are rare or at risk of extinction.

Wildlife officers worked extensively with allied law enforcement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Postal Service inspectors to track down and collect evidence of poaching the succulent plants for sale overseas. During the investigation, wildlife officers witnessed the three removing plants from coastal bluffs in the Humboldt Lagoons State Park. On April 4, officers found the trio in possession of 2,300 Dudleya plants and more than $10,200 in cash.

All three defendants were foreign nationals. Liu Fengxia, 37, of China, and Tae-Hun Kim, 52, and Tae-Hyun Kim, 46, both from Korea, were handed a sentence of three years and eight months in state prison and a $10,000 fine each. Judge John T. Feeney suspended the prison sentences with the conditions that the defendants are prohibited from entering the United States without prior authorization of the federal government and state courts, and prohibited from entering any local, state or national park.

In addition to the fines, the defendants will also forfeit the $10,200 to CDFW as restitution. These funds will be used specifically for the conservation of Dudleya on public lands in Humboldt County.

“Together with prosecuting Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada and the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, we hope this conviction and sentencing will send a message to those who may consider poaching California’s precious natural resources to sell overseas for personal profit,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of Law Enforcement.

The case developed from a tip from a member of the public who saw something amiss. Anyone who believes they are witness to unlawful poaching or pollution activity is encouraged to call CalTIP, CDFW’s confidential secret witness program, at (888) 334-2258 or send a text with the tip411 app. Both methods allow the public to provide wildlife officers with factual information to assist with investigations. Callers may remain anonymous, if desired, and a reward can result from successful capture and prosecution.

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Media Contact:
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 322-8911

 

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

CDFW Awards $39.7 Million for Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration and Protection Projects

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 39 projects to receive funding from its Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1) Restoration Grant Programs.

The awards, totaling $39.7 million, were made under CDFW’s 2017 Proposition 1 Restoration Grant Programs Solicitation (the third of 10 planned annual grant cycles). This includes approximately $31.7 million awarded through the Watershed Restoration Grant Program to projects of statewide importance outside of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and approximately $8 million awarded through the Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program to projects that directly benefit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The awarded projects represent priorities outlined in the 2017 Solicitation, as well as the California Water Action Plan.

“This round of grants expands the frontier of our Proposition 1 programs to critical watersheds, from as far north as Del Norte County to the Tijuana River watershed in San Diego County,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “This is an important milestone and another step forward in our strategic effort to ensure statewide priorties are addressed through this funding source.”

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

Implementation Projects:

  • Butte Creek Diversion 55 Fish Screen Project – Implementation ($209,633 to Family Water Alliance, Inc.);
  • Deer Creek Irrigation District Dam Fish Passage Improvement Project ($2,198,447 to Trout Unlimited);
  • Dennett Dam Removal ($509,520 to Tuolumne River Trust);
  • Fish Passage and Off-Channel Habitat Restoration at Roy’s Pools ($2,147,997 to Salmon Protection and Watershed Network);
  • Floodplain and Instream Habitat Restoration on San Geronimo Creek ($767,739 to Salmon Protection and Watershed Network);
  • GHMWC Fish Screen Project – Implementation ($1,159,183 to Family Water Alliance, Inc.);
  • Lagunita Diversion Dam Removal Project ($1,226,537 to Leland Stanford Jr. University);
  • Little Shasta Fish Passage Project ($474,114 to California Trout, Inc.);
  • Lower Arroyo Burro Open Space Restoration ($550,000 to City of Santa Barbara);
  • Mill-Shackleford Creek Fish Passage Restoration Project ($522,949 to California Trout, Inc.);
  • North San Diego County Multi-Watershed Enhancement & Restoration for Resiliency ($1,106,136 to San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy);

Planning Projects:

  • Advancing Meadow Restoration in the Truckee and American River Watersheds ($632,098 to Truckee River Watershed Council);
  • Atascadero Subwatershed Coho Habitat Assessment ($114,429 to Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District);
  • Bolsa Chica Lowlands Restoration Project: Sustainability Alternatives Planning Document ($282,492 to Bolsa Chica Land Trust);
  • Burdell Unit Tidal Restoration Feasibility Study ($394,452 to Ducks Unlimited, Inc.);
  • Cook and Butcher Fish Passage and Fish Screen Planning Project ($418,618 to Western Shasta Resource Conservation District);
  • Morrison Creek: Coho Salmon Passage and Habitat Enhancement Planning ($203,577 to Smith River Alliance);
  • Napa River Restoration Oakville to Oak Knoll Design-Group B and D ($750,000 to Napa County);
  • Paynes Creek BWU Fish Passage Assessment and Restoration Project ($345,885 to Trout Unlimited);
  • Restoring Tásmam Kojóm – Big Meadow ($95,130 to Maidu Summit Consortium and Conservancy);
  • Rose Valley Lakes System Alternatives Analysis and Feasibility Study ($194,708 to California Trout, Inc.);
  • Sentenac Cienega Ecosystem Restoration ($552,898 to California Department of Parks and Recreation);
  • TRVRP Brown Fill Restoration Project ($1,328,000 to County of San Diego);
  • Upper Sonoma Creek Habitat Restoration Plan and Demonstration Project Design ($335,738 to Sonoma Ecology Center);

Acquisition Projects:

  • Arcata Community Forest/Humboldt State University- Jacoby Creek Forest Expansion ($1,754,000 to City of Arcata);
  • Hornitos Ranch Conservation Easement Acquisition Project ($3,000,000 to Sierra Foothill Conservancy);
  • Mailliard Navarro and Garcia Rivers Headwaters Forest Project ($1,000,000 to Save the Redwoods League);
  • Mendonca Dairy Acquisition ($3,696,677 to River Partners);
  • Mt. Shasta Headwaters: Soda Springs Conservation Easement ($500,000 to Pacific Forest Trust);
  • Sierra Valley Wetlands/Wet Meadows Conservation Project ($1,723,560 to Feather River Land Trust);
  • Tijuana River Watershed Protection Project ($1,872,408 to The Trust for Public Land); and
  • Walker-Hearne Ranch Acquisition Project ($1,700,000 to Ventura Hillsides Conservancy).

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

Scientific Studies:

  • A next-generation model of juvenile salmon migration through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ($1,730,903 to University of California Santa Cruz, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology);
  • Application of cutting-edge tools to retrospectively evaluate habitat suitability and flow effects for Longfin Smelt ($604,792 to University of California Davis, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology);
  • Defining the fundamental niche of Longfin Smelt – Spirinchus thaleichthys ($1,597,446 to Regents of the University of California Davis, Office of Research Sponsored Programs);
  • Floodplains, Tidal Wetlands and the Dark Food web: determining heterotrophic carbon contribution to higher level consumers ($636,394 to University of California Davis Center for Watershed Sciences);
  • Impacts of climate change on pesticide bioavailability and sublethal effects on juvenile benefits of floodplain rearing ($963,408 to Regents of the University of California Riverside, Department of Environmental Sciences);
  • Interior Delta Export Effects Study ($1,349,309 to California Department of Water Resources); and
  • Juvenile salmon distribution, abundance, and growth in restored and relict Delta marsh habitats ($1,036,412 to California Department of Water Resources).

General information about CDFW’s Proposition 1 Restoration Grant Programs, as well as a schedule of locations and dates for workshops, once available, 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.

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Media Contacts:
Matt Wells, CDFW Watershed Restoration Grants Branch, (916) 445-1285
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937