Tag Archives: public comments

Restoration Grant Program Draft Guidelines Now Available for Public Comment

Media Contacts:
Helen Birss, CDFW Watershed Restoration Grant Branch, (916) 653-9834
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is excited to announce the release of the Restoration Grant Program draft guidelines authorized and funded by Proposition 1 (Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014), which was passed by California voters last November. CDFW is now seeking public input on these guidelines via email, mail and a series of public meetings.

“This is an important opportunity to continue and expand upon the work we do across the state to restore habitat for fish and wildlife and protect important landscapes, while fostering partnerships and selecting the best projects through a competitive process,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham.

For CDFW, this bond act provides, in total, $285 million for ecosystem restoration projects outside the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) and $87.5 million for projects that benefit the Delta. Ecosystem restoration provides important benefits to water supply and sustainability as well as fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Ecosystem restoration is also a climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy.

The public is encouraged to review and comment on the draft guidelines which can be found both at the CDFW Grants website and the Bond Accountability website. Written comments should be emailed to the WatershedGrants@wildlife.ca.gov or mailed to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Restoration Grant Program
1416 Ninth St.
Sacramento, CA 95814

CDFW will hold three public meetings in March and April 2015 for the purpose of receiving comments on the draft guidelines. The meeting dates and locations will be posted on the CDFW Grants website when available.

The purpose of the guidelines is to establish the process, procedures and criteria through which CDFW will administer competitive grants for multi-benefit ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration projects in accordance with statewide priorities, including those in the California Water Action Plan. To achieve this, CDFW is creating two new grant programs. The Watershed Restoration Grant Program will focus on watershed restoration outside of the Delta and the Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program will focus on water quality, ecosystem restoration and fish protection facilities that benefit the Delta.

CDFW to Hold Public Meeting Regarding Pacific Halibut Management

Media Contacts:
Caroline McKnight, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-7192

Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites the public to attend a meeting to discuss the 2015 recreational Pacific halibut fishing season dates under consideration for California.

halibut2
A CDFW sampler taking data from a sport-caught Pacific halibut in 2012. CDFW photo by E.W. Roberts III.

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 at the City of Eureka Wharfinger Building in the Bay Room, located at 1 Marina Way, Eureka (95501) from 6-8:30 p.m.

The meeting will provide information on Pacific halibut management and include a discussion on 2015 season options for the recreational fishery. The public is encouraged to provide input to managers and representatives that will aid in the development of future Pacific halibut management for 2015 and beyond.

Pacific halibut fishing regulations are developed through a collaborative regulatory process involving the Pacific Fishery Management Council, National Marine Fisheries Service, California Fish and Game Commission and the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

For more information regarding Pacific halibut management, please refer to the CDFW website at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/pacifichalibut.asp.

Public Input Sought at Red Abalone Fishery Management Workshops

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites the public to attend a series of workshops kicking off the Red Abalone Fishery Management Plan development process. CDFW specifically seeks public opinion regarding red abalone fishery goals, priorities and management needs.

CDFW will also hold two pre-workshop open houses where the public can engage in informal discussions with fishery managers and biologists. Workshops will be held on Wed., Oct. 1 from 4-7 p.m. at the Central Santa Rosa Library, Central Forum Room, 211 E St., Santa Rosa (95404) and Thur., Oct 2 from 6-9 p.m. at the Marin Rod and Gun Club, 2675 East Francisco Blvd., San Rafael (94901).

An overview of current red abalone fishery information and the fishery management plan process will be presented at the meetings. The new fishery management plan will focus on the northern California sport fishery and also serve to update the current Abalone Recovery and Management Plan.

CDFW received valuable insight from the first two public workshops in Sacramento and Fort Bragg. These workshops are the initial steps of a multi-year process that will include further opportunities for public comment. The success of this fishery management plan process largely depends on the continued involvement of the recreational abalone fishing community as well as the general public. For more information about public participation in this process and to view the workshop agenda, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/redabalonefmp.

Media Contacts:
Jerry Kashiwada, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 964-5791
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW Seeks Public Comment on Wetland Restoration Grant Program

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is seeking comments on a new solicitation of grant proposals for wetland restoration grants.

Dry grasses surround blue water in a seasonal wetland
Flooded section of Yolo Basin Wildlife Area, north of the Delta. Dana Michaels/CDFW photo

CDFW recently initiated its Wetlands Restoration Greenhouse Gas Reduction Grant Program, and is seeking public input on the development of a solicitation for projects to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) and achieve co-benefits for fish and wildlife habitat. CDFW is seeking input on the geographic scope of projects, solicitation priorities, types of projects, methods of monitoring and quantifying GHG reduction, and proposal evaluation criteria for this solicitation. The project area is currently defined as the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, coastal wetlands and mountain meadows.

Proposals submitted under this solicitation will undergo an evaluation and ranking process to identify high quality projects to achieve the priorities and objectives of this solicitation.

Written public comments on this solicitation must be submitted by noon on Sept.18 and sent to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Attention: Helen Birss
Re: Wetland Restoration Grant Program
1416 Ninth Street, Suite 1260
Sacramento, CA 95814

Comments can also be sent via e-mail to Helen.birss@wildlife.ca.gov (please use “Solicitation comment” in the subject line.)

For more information on the solicitation process, please visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=88780&inline.

Media Contacts:
Helen Birss, CDFW Habitat Conservation Branch, (916) 653-9834
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

Joint Release of Federal Recovery Plan for Salmon and Steelhead and Conservation Strategy for California’s Ecosystem Restoration Program

noaa cdfw logos

SACRAMENO, Calif. – NOAA Fisheries and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today jointly released two plans to restore populations of salmon and steelhead in California’s Central Valley: NOAA Fisheries’ Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Plan and CDFW’s Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) Conservation Strategy.

The two plans are complementary in that CDFW’s conservation strategy presents a broader framework for restoring aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems throughout the Central Valley, while the federal recovery plan focuses on the recovery of endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, threatened Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, and threatened Central Valley steelhead.

A shared goal of both plans is to remove these species from federal and state lists of endangered and threatened species. The recovery plan provides a detailed road map for how to reach that goal. It lays out a science-based strategy for recovery and identifies the actions necessary to restore healthy salmon and steelhead populations to the Central Valley.

“Establishing clear priority watersheds, fish populations and actions is essential to achieve recovery,” said Maria Rea, NOAA Fisheries Assistant Regional Administrator for California’s Central Valley Office. “Implementation of this plan will depend on many parties working collaboratively to pool resources, expertise and programs to recover Chinook salmon and steelhead populations that are part of California’s natural heritage.“

Recovery plans required by the Endangered Species Act are guidance documents, not regulatory requirements, and their implementation depends on the voluntary cooperation of multiple stakeholders at the local, regional, state and national levels.

“The Sacramento Valley joins together a world-renowned mosaic of natural abundance: productive farmlands, meandering rivers that provide habitat and feed salmon and steelhead, wildlife refuges and managed wetlands, and cities and rural communities,” said David Guy, President of the Northern California Water Association. “The recovery plan is a positive step forward–through efficient management of the region’s water resources, water suppliers throughout the Sacramento Valley will continue to work with our conservation partners to help implement the recovery plan and improve ecological conditions in the Sacramento River for multiple species and habitat values.”

The ERP conservation strategy was developed by CDFW collaboratively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries to help guide environmental restoration and establish adaptive management to improve restoration success in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its watershed. The approach of conservation strategy is to restore or mimic ecological processes and to improve aquatic and terrestrial habitats to support stable, self-sustaining populations of diverse and valuable species.

“It is critical we make strategic investments in our natural resources,” said Charlton H. Bonham, Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “The funding of these high-priority restoration projects is not only an example of the coordinated effort between state and federal governments, but an example of California’s continued efforts to minimize the effects of drought on fish and wildlife. Central Valley salmon and steelhead deserve nothing less.

California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.’s 2014-15 budget provided CDFW with $38 million to implement enhanced salmon monitoring, restore sensitive habitat, improve water infrastructure for wildlife refuges, expand the fisheries restoration grant program, and remove barriers for fish passage. Some of that money will be used on projects recommended by the federal recovery plan.

Dick Pool of the Golden Gate Salmon Association said, “We thank and congratulate the scientists of NOAA Fisheries for their outstanding work in developing the Central Valley Recovery Plan. GGSA and the salmon industry particularly appreciate the fact that the plan includes both short range and long range actions that can reverse the serious salmon and steelhead population declines. GGSA has identified a number of the same projects as needing priority action. We also commend the agency for its diligent efforts to engage the other fishery agencies, the water agencies and the salmon stakeholders in the process. We look forward to assisting in finding ways to get the critical projects implemented.”

The federal recovery plan and state conservation strategy work together as a blueprint of how at-risk species can be restored to sustainable levels.Restoring healthy, viable salmon and steelhead runs will preserve and enhance the commercial, recreational and cultural opportunities for future generations. As the fish populations grow and recover, so too will the economic benefits and long-term fishing opportunities for everyone.

“The Recovery Plan provides a clear framework to better coordinate and align restoration projects in the Delta, the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and their tributaries to achieve greater conservation outcomes,” said Jay Ziegler, Director of External Affairs and Policy for The Nature Conservancy. “We are pleased to see the integration of multiple habitat values in the Plan including the importance of expanding lateral river movements to enhance floodplain habitat and recognition of the importance of variable flow regimes to benefit multiple species.”

The development of a recovery plan is an important part in the successful rebuilding of a species because it incorporates information from a multitude of interested parties including scientific researchers, stakeholders and the general public. Since 2007, NOAA Fisheries has held 14 public workshops, produced a draft for public comment, and met with strategic stakeholders to guide the plan’s development and ensure a comprehensive and useful document.

CDFW will be investing considerable resources in improving water conservation on public wildlife refuges in the Central Valley and protecting important salmon stocks that contribute to the state’s fishery. The department has also recently released a restoration grant solicitation which includes salmon and steelhead watersheds in the Central Valley. The solicitation can be found here. Applications are being accepted until August 12, 2014.

More on the NOAA Fisheries Recovery Plan and the CDFW Ecosystem Restoration Program

Contact:
Jim Milbury, NOAA Fisheries Communications, (562) 980-4006
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Communications, (916) 651-7824

CDFW to Hold Public Meetings on Proposed Low-Flow Closure of the Russian River

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold two public meetings to discuss the proposed low-flow closure changes to the Russian River and North Central Coast streams.

The first meeting is Wednesday, July 30 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, 5550 Skylane Blvd., Suite A, in Santa Rosa. The second meeting is Thursday, July 31 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Gualala Community Center, 47950 Center St. in Gualala near the intersection of Center Street and South Highway 1.

A CDFW representative will detail the proposed regulation changes. Following the short presentation, interested parties can make comments and provide input that will help shape CDFW’s final recommendation to the Fish and Game Commission, which CDFW anticipates presenting at the Commission’s meeting in Van Nuys in December.

The Russian River and other North Central Coast streams provide critical life-stage habitat for coastal Chinook salmon, coho salmon and steelhead trout. All three of these species are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Coho salmon is also listed under the California ESA.

CDFW is preparing regulatory changes for Title 14, Chapter 3, Article 4, section 8, part (b) to add low-flow fish restrictions to the Russian River and base the closure of North Central Coast streams on one or more stream gauges on rivers that are more representative of these North Central Coast streams than the current regulated flows of the Russian River. These proposed regulatory actions are based upon fishery impact concerns that have arisen during the past three years of drought conditions. During the past two winters, salmon entering these streams were forced to congregate into the remaining pools below restricted passage areas, and then were subject to heavy angling pressure. In both years the Russian River and North Central Coast streams have dropped to mere trickles, yet have remained open to fishing till an emergency closure was enacted by the Fish and Game Commission in February 2014. This emergency action expired on April 30, 2014.

The two public meetings are being led by CDFW to solicit public comments regarding the regulatory changes that are proposed to protect these ESA-listed fish while still providing sport fishing opportunities. In addition to these public meetings, individuals and organizations may submit comments in writing. The written comments can be sent by email to ryan.watanabe@wildlife.ca.gov, or by mail addressed to CDFW, Bay Delta Region, Attn: Ryan Watanabe, 5355 B Skylane Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95403.

 

Media Contacts:
Ryan Watanabe, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (707) 576-2815
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Fish and Wildlife Extends Scoping Comment Period on Ballona Wetlands

Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937, jordan.traverso@wildlife.ca.gov

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has extended the scoping comment period for the Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project from March 1 to March 16. CDFW extended the period in response to many public requests.

For more information about the project, please go to http://santamonicabay.org/ballonarestoration.html.

Evaluation of Petition to List White Shark as Listed Species Available

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released a staff evaluation of a petition to list the Northeast Pacific population of white sharks as a threatened or endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).

The evaluation document is available at http://dfg.ca.gov/news/pubnotice/.

In completing the petition evaluation, CDFW determined there is sufficient scientific information to indicate that the petition action may be warranted, and recommends the petition be accepted and considered by the California Fish and Game Commission.

At its next meeting, the Commission may take action on whether or not to accept the petition and declare the white shark as a candidate for future threatened or endangered species status. If the petition is accepted, this will start a one-year status review before decision on listing is made. The Commission meeting will be held on Feb. 6, 2013, in the Natural Resources Building, First Floor Auditorium, 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento.

Please check the Commission website www.fgc.ca.gov for more information.

 

Media Contacts:
Adrianna Shea, CA Fish and Game Commission, (916) 508-5262
Mike Taugher, CDFW Communications Director, (916) 591-0140

DFG Announces Public Comment Period for Dungeness Crab Trap Limit Program

Public Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, DFG Marine Region, (707) 576-2887
Peter Kalvass, DFG Marine Region, (707) 964-9080

Media Contact:
Carrie Wilson, DFG Marine Region, (831) 649-7191 

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has released an Initial Study and proposed Negative Declaration for the Dungeness Crab Trap Limit Program as required by Fish and Game Code (FGC) Section 8276.5.

Dungeness Crab
Dungeness Crab

The documents will be available for public comment and review through Sept. 10, 2012.

The project under review is DFG’s proposed regulations to implement the Dungeness Crab Trap Limit Program prior to the 2013-14 commercial Dungeness crab season.

Under statute, the Dungeness Crab Trap Limit Program must cap the number of crab traps in state waters at a number that is not yet known, but will be fewer than 175,000. To do so, the department is implementing new procedures that include assigning permit holders to one of seven tiers that will allow them to fish between 175 and 500 traps.

The initial study analyzes the potential environmental impacts of the proposed regulations, which describe how to apply for and use trap tags and buoy tags. The proposed regulations also describe procedures for how new biennial permits can be purchased and replaced if lost.

To obtain the materials, contact Christy Juhasz at DFG’s Santa Rosa office: (707) 576-2887 or cjuhasz@dfg.ca.gov. More information and online versions of the documents can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/invertebrate/traplimit_nd.asp.

All comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Sept. 10, 2012 and must include the commenter’s name, address and daytime telephone number. Comments may be submitted by mail to:

Dungeness Crab Trap Limit Program CEQA
Department of Fish and Game
5355 Skylane Blvd., Suite B
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Additionally, comments may be submitted via e-mail (in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format only) to cjuhasz@dfg.ca.gov. If e-mailed, comments must include “Dungeness Crab Trap Limit Program CEQA Comments” in the subject line.

Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project Under Way With Public Input

Public Invited to Submit Comments on the Scope of Environmental Documents

The California Department of Fish & Game (DFG) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have begun the process of developing environmental reviews for the restoration of the Ballona Wetlands in west Los Angeles County. The documents will review potential designs for the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve and evaluate their likely impacts on wildlife, water pollution, local traffic and other factors.  The public is encouraged to submit suggestions for the environmental review at a scoping meeting planned for August 16, 2012.

The Ballona Wetlands was at one time a large wetland complex that covered more than 2,000 acres along the coast near Los Angeles, from Playa del Rey to Venice. Today, the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve encompasses 600 acres owned by the State of California and offers one of the largest opportunities for repairing lost coastal wetlands in Los Angeles County. The site contains important habitat and is identified as a high priority for restoration in the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Plan and the regional strategy of the Southern California Wetland Recovery Project.

The area is currently off-limits to the public. After restoration, the site will be open to residents and visitors for walking, biking, birdwatching and learning about nature. The project may involve removing the concrete levees on Ballona Creek to restore river and marsh habitat between Marina del Rey and the Westchester Bluffs, west of Lincoln Boulevard.  Due to construction costs logistics and wildlife management needs, the project would take several years to build even after it is approved.

DFG and the Corps will hold a scoping meeting on Thursday, August 16, from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at the Fiji Gateway entrance to the Ballona Wetlands (13720 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292. The site is across from Fisherman’s Village and the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors).

Members of the public are invited to attend, speak to agency representatives and provide input for the environmental review. The agencies expect to examine the impacts to aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, water quality, land use and planning, noise, public services, recreation, sea-level rise, traffic and others.

Written comments on the scope of environmental review, or additional issues may be submitted at the scoping meeting or sent to the address listed below. Comments will be accepted until September 10, 2012

Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project
C/O Donna McCormick
1 Ada, Suite 100
Irvine, CA  92816 or by email to Donna.McCormick@icfi.com

Additional information on the project and the environmental review process is available on the Ballona Wetlands Restoration website at: www.ballonarestoration.org.

Media Contacts:
David Lawhead, DFG Region 5, (858) 627-3997
Donna McCormick, ICF International, (949) 333-6611
Dr. Daniel P. Swenson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, (213) 452-3414