Tag Archives: Northern California

Caltrans and Fish and Wildlife Urge Motorists to Be Alert During Watch Out for Wildlife Week

Caltrans and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) remind motorists to remain alert for wildlife on roadways during Watch Out for Wildlife Week, which runs September 18-24.

“We urge motorists to remain alert and be cautious when traveling through wildlife areas, so our roadways will remain as safe as possible,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “Drivers can really make a difference in avoiding wildlife collisions, simply by being aware while driving and watching for wildlife crossing signs.”

According to Defenders of Wildlife, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting native species and their natural communities, there are 725,000 to 1.5 million wildlife-vehicle collisions in the U.S. every year, resulting in more than 200 human fatalities. In California, between eight and 10 drivers and as many as 20,000 deer die in wildlife-vehicle collisions each year.

“Between now and December, deer and other wildlife are highly susceptible to vehicle collisions,” said Marc Kenyon, CDFW’s Human-Wildlife Conflict Program Manager. “Deer will soon start their annual migrations to winter range, bucks will be preoccupied competing for mates, and bears will be searching for food in preparation for hibernation. Such natural behaviors can lead these animals into the way of unsuspecting drivers. Drivers can prevent collisions with animals by being careful and paying attention.”

The Watch Out for Wildlife campaign is supported by Caltrans, CDFW, Defenders of Wildlife and the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis.

Wildlife experts from these organizations offer the following tips for motorists:

  • Be especially alert when driving in areas frequented by wildlife, and reduce your speed so you can react safely.
  • Pay particular attention when driving during the morning and evening, as wildlife are most active during these times.
  • If you see an animal cross the road, know that another may be following.
  • Don’t litter. The odors may entice animals to venture near roadways.
Seen in the side mirror of a vehicle, a doe crosses the road.
Dave Feliz photo

Here are a few examples of what Caltrans, CDFW and their partners are doing to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, improve awareness of key issues, and improve ecological sustainability:

Highway 246, Santa Barbara County

Six new highway undercrossings have been designed for California tiger salamanders and small animals to pass safely between breeding ponds and upland habitat on the opposite sides of Highway 246 between Buellton and Lompoc. This species is protected under both state and federal Endangered Species Acts. In addition to the design and implementation of these six undercrossings, Caltrans has proposed a five-year monitoring study to assess the undercrossings’ effects on California tiger salamanders and other animals crossing the highway. The project is expected to be completed in April 2017.

Highway 89, Sierra County

On a stretch of Highway 89 between Truckee and Sierraville, a recently-completed $2.08 million project consists of two new 12-foot by 10-foot wildlife undercrossings, providing a safe path for animals to cross under the roadway. The project also includes four escape ramps and over 14,000 linear feet of deer fencing on both sides of the highway to help prevent wildlife-vehicle collisions.

Highway 76, San Diego County

Two new wildlife projects, which are part of the $208 million State Route 76 (SR-76 Corridor Project) East Segment and Interchange construction project between Interstate 15 and Interstate 5, will include six wildlife crossings and escape ramps. Wildlife escape ramps allow animals to jump out of the fenced-in highway, if needed. Post-project monitoring will be conducted after completion to monitor their use and influence decision-making for future projects. The project is expected to be completed in late 2017. Five other new wildlife crossings and directional fencing were installed as part of the SR-76 Melrose to Mission Highway Improvement Project in 2012, also part of the SR-76 Corridor Project.

 

Media Contacts:
Dana Michaels, CDFG Communications, (916) 322-2420
Tamie McGowen, Caltrans Public Affairs, (916) 657-5060

CDFW to Hold Public Outreach Meeting for Northern California Wildlife Areas

elkGriz81609 232The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold a public outreach meeting regarding Yolo, Grizzly Island and Napa-Sonoma wildlife areas. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 23 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area’s conference room located at 45211 County Road 32B, Davis, California.

CDFW will take public comments and recommendations and provide updates on habitat conditions, availability of water for wetlands and possible impacts to hunter access on public lands.

These wildlife areas are located in CDFW’s Bay Delta Region, which includes 12 counties in Northern California and is one of seven CDFW regions in the state.

CDFW annually provides an opportunity for licensed hunters to comment and make recommendations on public hunting programs, including anticipated habitat conditions in the hunting areas on wildlife areas through public meetings and other outreach.

Media Contacts:

Larry Wyckoff, Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, (707) 944-5542

Jeff Stoddard, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, (530) 757-2431

Steve Gonzalez, CDFW Communications, (916) 327-9948

Butte County Receives Local Spill Response Equipment

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) oversaw the delivery of oil spill response equipment and training for Butte County first responders today. Butte County is the fifth inland area awarded the spill equipment grant since OSPR expanded its preparedness activities statewide.

“This grant ensures Butte County is prepared in the event of an oil spill. Oroville is one community in the county with a long history of rail traffic with the potential for impacts to the nearby Feather River and Lake Oroville,” said OSPR’s Local Government Outreach and Grant Coordinator Cindy Murphy.

The Butte County Fire Department received the $30,000 grant that provides 1,000 feet of containment boom, absorbent materials, a mobile trailer, and eight hours of training. The equipment will strengthen oil spill preparedness and response at the Lower Feather River.

Today’s training included a four hour classroom instruction session, followed by four hours of on-water equipment deployment with spill response professionals.

OSPR began offering equipment grants in 2007 and it has since provided over $1 million to more than 40 local government agencies and tribes in California.

Equipment grants are available to any local public agency or tribe in the state. In order to be considered, agencies must be at risk of an oil spill occurring in their jurisdiction. The Response Equipment Grant Program webpage offers more information.

Siskiyou County Receives Equipment and Training for Oil Spill Response

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) oversaw the delivery of oil spill response equipment and training for Siskiyou County first responders today. Siskiyou County is the fourth inland area awarded the spill equipment grant since OSPR expanded its preparedness activities statewide in 2014.

“For 25 years, we’ve protected the coast from oil spills. Now we want to bring the same level of protection to communities that have a long history of rail traffic and potential river impacts,” said OSPR’s Local Government Outreach and Grant Coordinator Scott Lipton. “It’s crucial that we all work together to protect these vital areas.”

Siskiyou County Environmental Health Department received the $30,000 grant that provides 1,000 feet of containment boom, absorbent materials, a mobile trailer and eight hours of training. The equipment will strengthen oil spill preparedness and response at the Upper Sacramento River.

Today’s training included a four -hour classroom instruction session, followed by four hours of on-water equipment deployment with spill response professionals.

“On behalf of Siskiyou County First Responders and the Upper Sacramento River Communities, we are grateful to OSPR and the people of the State to have been awarded this grant which will provide swift water oil response equipment and training to local personnel.  Siskiyou County is home of the head waters of the Sacramento River and its diverse habitat, we are very pleased to have these additional tools to help protect this crucial waterway.”

OSPR began offering equipment grants in 2007 and has since provided nearly $1 million to more than 40 local government agencies and tribes in California.

Equipment grants are available to any local public agency or tribe in the state. In order to be considered, agencies must be at risk of an oil spill occurring in their jurisdiction. The Response Equipment Grant Program webpage offers more information.

Media Contact:
Eric Laughlin, Public Information Officer, (916) 214-3279

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.
####

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

CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 322-2420