Tag Archives: Northern California

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Feb. 24 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $14 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 17 funded projects will benefit fish and wildlife – including some endangered species – while others will provide the public with 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. The state funds for all these projects come from initiatives approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Some of the funded projects include:

A $410,000 grant to the County of Fresno for a project to extend an existing boat launch and provide shade pavilions for boaters in the City of Shaver Lake on privately owned land, approximately 45 miles northeast of the City of Fresno.

$282,720 for the acquisition in fee of approximately 185 acres of land by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for the protection of core wildlife linkages and endangered species habitat, located near the community of Jamul in San Diego County.

  • A grant of up to $3.5 million to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE) under the California Forest Legacy Program Act of 2007, to assist with the acquisition of three separate conservation easements, totaling approximately 15,620 acres. The easements will protect significant forest, natural, ecological and open space conservation values on lands located near Willits in Mendocino County.
  • A $407,000 grant to the California Rangeland Trust for a cooperative project with the Natural Resource Conservation Services to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 1,547 acres of land for the protection of oak woodlands, deer and mountain lion habitat, watersheds and wildlife corridors located in Bear Valley in Colusa County.
  • A $332,500 grant to the California Rangeland Trust for another cooperative project with the Natural Resource Conservation Services to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 2,507 acres of land for the protection of oak woodlands, deer and mountain lion habitat, watersheds and wildlife corridors located in Bear Valley in Colusa County.
  • A $1 million grant to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) for a cooperative project with the California State Coastal Conservancy and the Santa Clara River Trustee Council to remove non-native invasive plants and restore riparian habitat, on TNC’s Hanson property, located two miles southwest of the City of Santa Paula in Ventura County
  • A $3.3 million grant to the San Diego Unified Port District for a cooperative project with the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Division of Boating and Waterways to replace the Shelter Island Boat Ramp, located on land held and maintained in a public trust by the District within the City of San Diego.

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 Education and Outreach, (916) 322-2420

Cache Creek Natural Area Closed Due to Rocky Fire

The Cache Creek Natural Area is closed to all public use and access until further notice due to the Rocky Fire burning in Lake, Yolo and Colusa counties. This closure affects state lands managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), including the Cache Creek Wildlife Area, and public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), including the Cache Creek Wilderness Area within the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. Additional closures are in effect at the Knoxville Wildlife Area managed by CDFW and the Knoxville Recreation Area managed by BLM.

Road closures are also in effect. The Highway 20 corridor is closed from Highway 53 to Highway 16, both directions of Ogulin County Road, and Highway 16 is closed from Highway 20 to County Road 41. Jerusalem Valley Road is closed to all traffic at Spruce Grove Road. CAL FIRE is urging motorists to stay vigilant and adhere to frequently changing evacuations and road closures. Due to significant fire activity, it is unknown when the areas will be safe to reopen.

“Safety is our first priority and we are cooperating with emergency responders who are working hard to get this fire under control,” said Garry Kelley, an environmental program manager with CDFW’s North Central Region. “It is highly unlikely that the Cache Creek Natural Area will open before the Saturday deer hunting opener, and not yet determined if it will open before the season closes on Sept. 20.”

For more information about the closures, please call CDFW’s North Central Region at (916) 358-2900 or Rocky Fire Information Center at (707) 967-4207. The message will be revised as more information becomes available.

For current updates on the Rocky Fire, please visit the CAL FIRE Incident Information website, http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_details_info?incident_id=1161.

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Media Contacts:
Joshua Bush, CDFW North Central Region, (916) 374-9137

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988
Martha Maciel, Bureau of Land Management, (916) 978-4616

Crystal Lake Hatchery to Supply Trout for Waters Normally Stocked by Quarantined Hatcheries

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Crystal Lake Hatchery, operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), is currently stocking thousands of rainbow trout weekly in Hat Creek and surrounding waters in Lassen, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou and Trinity counties. Because the recent discovery of whirling disease at Darrah Springs and Mt. Shasta hatcheries triggered a quarantine of fish at those facilities and raised concern about reduced fishing opportunities, more than 1.5 million healthy rainbow trout from Crystal Lake Hatchery will be allocated to these waters to ensure excellent fishing opportunities at a number of northern California locations.

“Because of the quarantine of nearly 3 million trout at two of our hatcheries, we had to re-evaluate and realign our stocking allotments and schedules,” said Linda Radford, CDFW Regional Hatchery Supervisor. “By sharing trout allocations from Crystal Lake and Mad River hatcheries, we can continue to stock all the waters we would normally stock while we are working to eradicate the disease and get back on schedule at Darrah Springs and Mt. Shasta. This is a very good ‘Plan B’ for anglers who are expecting to fish this summer.”

Statewide, CDFW will stock more than 7 million trout in more than 700 waters in 2015. June and July are two of the busiest angling months of the year in northern and central California. This is when many of California’s nearly 2 million fishing license buyers break out their rods and go fishing. Fishing and stocked trout are integral to many family vacations in northern California.

CDFW hatchery workers stock many of northern California’s waters – including the very popular Hat Creek – by hand. Staff often meet anglers as they are working, and serve as the face of the department to fishermen, campers, local business people and tourists.

CDFW Fish and Wildlife Technician Brett Adams works at Crystal Lake Hatchery and drives a small hatchery truck from stream to stream, stocking trout throughout the region. At each stop along the Hat Creek route, he dips a net into the truck’s fish holding tank, scoops up 30 to 50 trout and hand-carries them to the stream to release. Many of the releases are done near campgrounds and at well-known fishing holes and usually draw crowds.

“Anglers really appreciate us stocking trout and providing them the opportunity to catch one for the grill,” Adams said. “At each stop, the people I meet have lots of questions. Recently whirling disease came up for the first time … people are concerned it might affect the hatcheries and waters they love.”

To Adams, realigning some of the stocking is a common sense approach so anglers are not left out due to the whirling disease quarantine. While it is not a perfect solution, it is a good temporary fix to provide anglers fishing opportunity that would otherwise be lost this summer and fall.

Meanwhile, extensive testing is underway at both whirling disease-affected hatcheries to find out how many of the nearly 3 million trout on site are affected and if and when any can be stocked. Whirling disease does not affect humans and the trout are safe to eat.

Crystal Lake Hatchery is located near the town of Burney in eastern Shasta County. The hatchery was completed in 1955 and modernized in 1976. Today it has seven raceways capable of rearing 1.5 million fish annually. Crystal Lake Hatchery stocks approximately 60 waters in Lassen, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou and Trinity counties. It raises a mix of the following fish:

  • Eagle Lake trout. Known for its resistance to highly alkaline waters, the Eagle Lake trout is a native to nearby Eagle Lake and its Pine Creek tributary. Due to diminishing flows into Pine Creek, a program was started in the 1950s to preserve the species. Once found only in its native waters, the Eagle Lake trout can now be found in many waters throughout the state.
  • Brown trout. Also known as German brown trout, this fish is native to Eastern Europe. Brown trout have been stocked in many state waters for recreational fishing. These days, triploid (sterile) brown trout continue to provide anglers a quality fishing experience.
  • Eastern brook trout. Though commonly called a trout, the brook trout is actually a member of the char family. Originating from the eastern United States, brook trout were imported to California via railroad in the late 1800s. As with brown trout, brook trout provided for anglers are now triploid.

 

 

Fish and Game Commission Approves Emergency Fishing Closure on Part of Upper Sacramento River

Winter-run Chinook Salmon
Winter-run Chinook

Recommendations by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to provide dual areas of protection to Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon were approved by the state Fish and Game Commission on April 17.  An emergency regulation closing 5.5 miles of spawning habitat above the city of Redding on the Upper Sacramento River will go into effect on or about April 27. Enhanced protective measures were also included in the ocean sport and commercial fisheries regulations for the 2015 season.

“We are taking proactive measures on two fronts to protect these endangered fish both in the ocean and on their natal spawning habitat,” said CDFW Chief of Fisheries Stafford Lehr. “The fishing communities have stepped forward to support these measures and work towards long-term sustainability of the resource. None of us wanted to be in this situation, but heading into a fourth year of extreme drought calls for extreme measures.”

The emergency regulation closes all fishing on the 5.5 mile stretch of the Sacramento River from the Highway 44 Bridge where it crosses the Sacramento River upstream to Keswick Dam. The area is currently closed to salmon fishing but was open to trout fishing. The closure will protect critical spawning habitat and eliminate any incidental stress or hooking mortality of winter-run salmon by anglers.

The Commission also adopted ocean sport fishing regulations, which will mirror federal regulations approved earlier this week. CDFW, in consultation with representatives of California’s sport and commercial salmon fishing industries, recommended additional strategic protective measures for winter-run Chinook salmon to the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC). Following a two-month evaluation process, the PFMC recommended federal regulations that provide for sport and commercial seasons off California designed to target more abundant stocks, including Sacramento River fall-run Chinook salmon, while minimizing contact with winter-run Chinook.

“The CDFW proposal to reduce the allowable ocean harvest rate on winter-run salmon and change the timing and location of ocean fisheries south of San Francisco was accepted by the PFMC after in-depth analysis, review and discussion,” said Marci Yaremko, CDFW’s representative to the PFMC. “The Commission concurred with these recommendations, realizing their conservation benefit to all winter-run.”

It is highly unusual for a state to propose even stricter guidelines on a listed species than required by the federal Endangered Species Act. However, CDFW scientists believe the additional protection provided in the emergency river closure and additional ocean fishing restrictions will help a significant segment of the winter-run population to avoid losses.

“Given the gravity of the current situation, the Commission recognizes the need for highly protective measures,” said  Commission President Jack Baylis. “It is imperative that our fisheries are given the best protections.”

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Media Contact:
H
arry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478 or (208) 220-1169

Euthanasia Drugs Reach the Wrong Animals

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has confirmed that several turkey vultures have been poisoned from the veterinary euthanasia drug pentobarbital in Marin County.

Six turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) were brought to the WildCare Wildlife Hospital in San Rafael between July and October 2014. All the birds were comatose and barely breathing, presenting a medical mystery to the wildlife hospital staff.

With immediate and intensive medical intervention all of the birds recovered, and digestive samples were sent to a laboratory to determine what made them sick. CDFW confirmed pentobarbital exposure in all birds tested, but the source of the exposure remains unknown.

Pentobarbital is a drug used by veterinarians to euthanize companion animals, livestock and horses. If the remains of animals euthanized with pentobarbital are not properly disposed of after death, scavenging wildlife – such as turkey vultures and eagles – can be poisoned. Veterinarians and animal owners are responsible for disposing of animal remains properly by legal methods such as cremation or deep burial.

Turkey vultures are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and California Fish and Game Code. Improperly disposed-of euthanized remains are a danger to all scavenging wildlife.

Members of the veterinary and livestock communities are asked to share this information with colleagues in an effort to prevent further incidents.

WildCare also asks the public to pay attention to grounded turkey vultures and other raptors and scavengers.

Pentobarbital-poisoned birds appear to be dead. They have no reflex response and breathing can barely be detected. The birds appear intact, without wounds or obvious trauma. Anyone finding a comatose vulture should call WildCare’s 24-hour Hotline at (415) 456-SAVE (7283) immediately.

Read more about one pentobarbital-poisoned turkey vulture patient and the astonishing medical intervention required to save its life at http://www.wildcarebayarea.org/vulture. WildCare also has numerous photos and videos of the animals in care, as well as release footage.

Media Contacts:
Alison Hermance, WildCare, (415) 453-1000, ext. 24, alisonhermance@wildcarebayarea.org
Stella McMillin, CDFW Wildlife Investigations Lab, (916) 358-2954
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420