California Fish and Game Commission Meets Remotely

On the second day of its April remote meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission took action on a number of issues affecting California’s natural resources. The following are just a few items of interest from today’s part of the meeting (see information from yesterday).

The Commission acknowledged robust public participation using remote technology.FGC Logo

“While we all are learning this remote world together, this meeting proved that government can continue with public input,” said Commission President Eric Sklar. “Governor Newsom recently said we expect a mid-May peak of COVID-19. I implore Californians to stay healthy and stay home to help save lives.”

The Commission approved the mammal hunting regulations and increased the number of elk tags in the northwest management unit. This increased hunting opportunity for the state’s hunting public, based on the best-available scientific data, is due to robust elk populations in this part of the state. The recovery of these elk is a great success story in California wildlife conservation.

The Commission approved the waterfowl daily and seasonal limits for ducks and geese for the 2020-21 hunting season. The northern pintail limit will remain at one pintail per day due to the current status of the population. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to improve the models to address the public’s concerns that pintail limits are too low.

The Commission adopted proposed regulations for public use on CDFW lands, including wildlife areas and ecological reserves. The regulations designate one new wildlife area and seven new ecological reserves, remove areas from the regulations where CDFW no longer has management authority, authorize site-specific public uses and make minor changes to clarify the regulations.

The Commission voted unanimously that listing of the Shasta snow-wreath may be warranted. This commences a one-year status review by CDFW.

The Commission voted unanimously that listing of an evolutionarily significant unit of mountain lions may be warranted. This commences a one-year status review by the CDFW.

Commission President Sklar, Commission Vice President Samantha Murray, and Commissioners Jacque Hostler-Carmesin, Russell Burns and Peter Silva participated in the call.

The full Commission agenda for this meeting along with supporting information is available at fgc.ca.gov. An archived audio file will be available in coming days. The next meeting of the full Commission is a teleconference scheduled for May 14, 2020.

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The California Fish and Game Commission was the first wildlife conservation agency in the United States, predating even the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries. There is often confusion about the distinction between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Commission. In the most basic terms, CDFW implements and enforces the regulations set by the Commission, as well as provides biological data and expertise to inform the Commission’s decision-making process.

California Fish and Game Commission Emergency Meeting Will be Rescheduled for Next Week

Today’s emergency meeting of the Fish and Game Commission is being rescheduled. While the time and platform has yet to be determined, it will be delayed until next week.

Commission President Eric Sklar and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham made the following joint statement:Fish and Game Commission logo

“We are very appreciative of the passion we heard from those that were able to join this morning’s call. It is clear that the call volume was overwhelming and the technology wasn’t ready. We acknowledge that this is a challenge as we attempt to navigate new technology for meetings. We are frustrated by what happened today and are looking for a remedy now. We understand that many members of the public and media were unable to join the call and because we also understand the importance to many of you, we need to ensure that you have an opportunity to provide input.

“We want to make sure you know that we have received a great deal of input from counties and tribes, and we are grateful for that. You can always make comment for the record at fgc@fgc.ca.gov.

“We also want to make it crystal clear that today’s proposed decision was not about banning fishing statewide or locally. We are not contemplating statewide closure. The decision is to help prepare us to work with counties and tribes to make those decisions based on their requests. We are working on a tailored and surgical approach based on local needs and knowledge. We have already received some of these requests. Today’s proposed action was an effort to become more nimble and ready to react when asked by a local entity to act.”

When the meeting is rescheduled, it will be posted on the Commission’s website, sent out via listserv and advised to media.

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission was set to discuss whether or not to temporarily grant authority to CDFW to decide whether to delay, restrict, or suspend sport or recreational fishing in order to prevent and mitigate public health risks that may arise when people travel for fishing trips or congregate while participating in available fishing opportunities. CDFW and the Commission have received requests from county representatives and local health authorities requesting delays to sport or recreational fish openers such as the Eastern Sierra trout opener scheduled for April 25, 2020. Because of overwhelming call volume, the call will be rescheduled.

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Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

trout in hand

Anglers Invited to Participate in Inland Trout Fishing Regulation Simplification Process

The California Fish and Game Commission will be hosting a special Wildlife Resources Committee meeting in Sacramento to discuss the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) efforts to revise and simplify state trout fishing regulations.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, March 5, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. at the Natural Resources Agency Building, Redwood Room, 14th Floor, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento, 95814.

At this meeting, CDFW will present its final proposed changes to the trout fishing regulations. CDFW staff will be available to discuss in detail the proposed changes and address questions on specific trout waters. Materials for this meeting will be available on the Commission and CDFW websites approximately seven days before the meeting.

CDFW is proposing to revise the current state trout fishing regulations as part of the Statewide Sport Fishing Regulations Revision and Simplification Project. The goals of this project are to reduce the complexity of the regulations, improve regulatory consistency across waters and align the regulations with CDFW’s current recreational fisheries management goals and objectives. CDFW hosted a series of public meetings around the state in the spring of 2019 to provide information and seek input on the proposed changes to the trout fishing regulations. CDFW revised the proposed regulations based on this public input including social, economic and public safety concerns.

CDFW is scheduled to submit the final proposal to the Commission in June 2020. The Commission will consider the proposal and take further public input beginning in June of 2020. Meeting dates and agendas can be found on the Commission’s website.

More information is available at https://wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/inland/trout-plan/regulation-simplification.

Persons with disabilities needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the public meetings or other CDFW activities are invited to contact the Accessibility Coordinator at (916) 653-9089 or send an email request to eeo@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
Karen Mitchell, CDFW Inland Fisheries Program, (916) 376-1917

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

CDFW to Host Public Meetings on Lands Regulations Changes

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold four public meetings to provide information and gather public input about possible changes to public use regulations for CDFW lands. The properties affected are in Butte, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Merced, Napa, Nevada, Riverside, San Diego, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Solano, Stanislaus, Tulare and Yolo counties. (Additional information can be found on CDFW’s website.)

The focus of the regulation changes is the potential designation of nine relatively new properties as wildlife areas and ecological reserves. In addition, six properties will be considered for removal from the current lists of wildlife areas and ecological reserves, due to changes in management authority. Site-specific regulation changes are also under consideration for some existing wildlife areas and ecological reserves.

The meetings will be drop-in “open house” style with information stations and staff available to discuss the changes under consideration. They will be held from 6-8 p.m. on the following dates:

Tuesday, June 18
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
South Coast Region Headquarters
3883 Ruffin Road
San Diego, CA 92123

Wednesday, June 19
Oroville Branch Library
1820 Mitchell Ave.
Oroville, CA  95966

Monday, June 24
Grassland Environmental Education Center
Los Banos Wildlife Area
18110 Henry Miller Ave.
Los Banos, CA  93635

Tuesday, June 25
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area
45211 County Road 32B (Chiles Road)
Davis, CA  95618

Additional opportunities for public comment may arise when the changes are proposed to the California Fish and Game Commission this fall. For more information about the meetings, or if you cannot attend and would like to submit questions or comments, please contact CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Julie Horenstein at julie.horenstein@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
Julie Horenstein, CDFW Lands Program, (916) 324-3772
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

California Fish and Game Commission Meets in Redding

At its June 2019 meeting in Redding, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) took action on a number of issues affecting California’s natural resources. Commission President Eric Sklar and Commissioners Russell Burns, Samantha Murray and Peter Silva were present. Commission Vice President Jacque Hostler-Carmesin was absent. The following are just a few items of interest from the two-day meeting.

The Commission voted to move the policy on Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fisheries management from the Wildlife Resources Committee to the full Commission for further review and potential changes. Scores of Delta anglers were drawn to the meeting for this item because it includes policy regarding striped bass and predation concerns on salmon.

“We hear you. We see you,” Commissioner Murray told the crowd as she thanked them for their public engagement. Commissioners explained that in their review of that policy, they would consider the anglers’ concerns about lost striped bass fishing opportunity on the Delta.

The Commission voted 3-1 to accept a petition to list four species of bumble bees for protection under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The action  begins a one-year status review of the species and following that review, the Commission will make a final decision at a future meeting. During the status review, the bee species have protections under CESA as a candidate species. Commissioner Burns was the dissenting vote.

The Commission voted 4-0 to accept a petition to list summer steelhead under CESA. This commences a one-year status review of the species and the Commission will make a final decision at a future meeting. During the status review, summer steelhead have protections under CESA as a candidate species.

The Commission and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division David Bess announced Jessica Brown as 2018 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year. Brown is Supervising City Attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.

The Commission consented to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s additional acquisition of 487 acres to expand the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

CDFW Marine Region staff informed Commissioners that effective July 1, 2019, electronic reporting of landing data is mandatory for fish businesses with a multifunction license, fishermen’s retail license or the fish receiver’s license who are reporting the sale or delivery of commercial fish landings. Two outreach events are scheduled for next week to assist businesses with this transition:

  • June 17, 2019 from 2-4 p.m. at the CDFW Office, 32330 N Harbor Dr., Fort Bragg.
  • June 18, 2019 from 1-4 p.m. at the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District Office, 601 Startare Dr., Eureka.

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The California Fish and Game Commission was the first wildlife conservation agency in the United States, predating even the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries. There is often confusion about the distinction between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Commission. In the most basic terms, CDFW implements and enforces the regulations set by the Commission, as well as provides biological data and expertise to inform the Commission’s decision-making process.

Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937