Volunteers Needed for Bighorn Sheep Survey

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and Society for Conservation of Bighorn Sheep (SCBS) are seeking volunteers to assist biologists with a bighorn sheep count in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties on Feb. 29 and March 1 (Saturday evening and all day Sunday).

No survey experience is necessary to participate but volunteers must pre-register to attend an orientation on Saturday, Feb. 29, at 6 p.m. at the Angeles National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Arcadia. Space is limited and volunteer spots are likely to be reserved quickly.

Volunteers will hike to designated observation sites in the San Gabriel Mountains early Sunday morning to count and record bighorn sheep. Volunteer groups will be led by a representative from CDFW, USFS or SCBS. Participants must be at least 16 years old and capable of hiking one mile in rugged terrain, although most survey routes are longer. In general, hikes will not be along trails and accessing survey points will involve scrambling over boulders, climbing up steep slopes and/or bush-whacking through chaparral.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring binoculars or spotting scopes in addition to hiking gear. Mountain weather can be unpredictable, and participants should be prepared to spend several hours hiking and additional time making observations in cold and windy weather. Volunteers will need to start hiking early Sunday morning.

Surveys for bighorn sheep in the San Gabriel range have been conducted annually since 1979. The mountain range once held an estimated 740 sheep, which made the San Gabriel population the largest population of desert bighorn sheep in California. The bighorn population declined more than 80 percent through the 1980s but appears to be on the increase with recent estimates yielding approximately 400 animals.

Please sign up online at www.sangabrielbighorn.org. If you do not have access to the internet, you may call (562) 342-2105 and leave a callback number to register.

Media Contacts:

Tim Daly, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Zach Behrens, USFS Communications, (909) 382-2788

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

A blue river snakes through a wide green valley with a single conical mountain in the background under blue sky

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its May 24 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $13 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 12 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:

  • $186,250 in two grants to the Mojave Desert Land Trust to acquire approximately 367 acres of land from two separate owners for the protection of desert habitat corridors in the Morongo Basin, near the community of Joshua Tree in San Bernardino County.
  • A $600,000 grant to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) for a cooperative project with the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Food and Agriculture to implement a large scale Nutria eradication project in riparian corridors and associated wetland habitats located in various Central Valley counties of the San Joaquin Valley and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
  • A $610,000 grant to the Pacific Forest Trust for a cooperative project with the California Department of Transportation and CDFW to acquire a forest conservation easement over approximately 1,346 acres of land for protection of working forest lands, forest reserve areas, watersheds, fisheries and habitat linkages near the town of McCloud in Siskiyou County.
  • A $2,440,000 in-fee acquisition of approximately 5,849 acres of land by CDFW for the protection of critical cold water aquatic habitat for a variety of anadromous fish species, including the state and federally listed coho salmon, the protection of migration corridors vital to many plant, bird and mammal species, and to provide ongoing dryland grazing and future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities near Montague in Siskiyou County.
  • A $4.4 million grant to The Nature Conservancy for a cooperative project with CalFire, the State Coastal Conservancy and the California Natural Resources Agency to acquire a conservation easement on approximately 23,681 acres of native forest habitats, including redwood, Douglas fir and Grand fir in the upland zones, and mature red alder forests within the riparian zone along the Ten Mile River. The easement is needed to preserve wildlife area linkages, provide habitat to numerous wildlife species, and reduce soil erosion and sustain water quality near Fort Bragg in Mendocino County.
  • A $950,000 grant to the National Forest Foundation for a cooperative project with U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to thin approximately 230 acres of forest, five miles southwest of Tahoe City in Placer County.
  • A $511,000 grant to the California Waterfowl Association for a cooperative project with the City of Woodland and Explorit to enhance and restore approximately 20 acres of wetlands at the Woodland Regional Park, approximately five miles southeast of the City of Woodland.
  • A $1.6 million grant to the Trust for Public Land for a cooperative project with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to acquire approximately 51 acres of land for the protection of threatened and endangered species, riparian and floodplain habitat along the Santa Clara River and to provide the potential for wildlife-oriented public use opportunities near Acton in Los Angeles 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