Tag Archives: regulations

2015 Big Game Digest Now Available Online

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has posted the 2015 Big Game Digest to its website. The 64-page document can be downloaded online for free at www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/digest/.

2015 California Big Game Hunting DigestThe popular guide includes season, quota and harvest information for deer, elk, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep, as well as tag drawing information, bear and wild pig hunting information and big game hunting regulations for the 2015-16 seasons.

Printed copies of the Big Game Digest will automatically be mailed in late April to hunters who purchased a big game tag or applied for the Big Game Drawing in California in 2014.

“As printing costs continue to rise, more funding for big game conservation will be available if the department reduces printing and mailing costs,” said Dan Yparraguirre, CDFW’s Deputy Director of Wildlife and Fisheries. “Making the Big Game Digest available online also means that hunters can access this information sooner.”

Hunting licenses, tags and drawing applications will be available on April 15. Purchases may be made through the Online License Service, at any CDFW License Sales Office or License Agent, or by telephone at (800) 565-1458. The deadline to apply for the Big Game Drawing is midnight on June 2.

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Media Contact:
Stuart Itoga, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3642
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Spring Turkey Season Opener Approaches

California’s 2015 general spring wild turkey hunting season opens statewide on March 28 and extends through May 3, with the archery season extending through May 17.Spring turkey and hunter

Hunters who have a current junior hunting license may also hunt the weekend before the opener, (March 21 and 22), and the two weeks after the general season (through May 17), using shotguns or any other legal method of take.

Please note that the season is closed to all hunters from March 23 to March 27.

Shooting hours for spring turkeys are from one-half hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. Both a hunting license and upland game bird stamp are required to hunt turkeys, although an upland stamp is not required for hunters with junior licenses. The bag limit is one bearded turkey per day and no more than a total of three turkeys during all seasons (general, archery and junior) combined.

The statewide population of wild turkeys is estimated at 240,000 birds. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) estimates about 36,000 hunters bag about 28,000 turkeys in the spring season each year statewide. Wild turkeys are found in most counties in California, with the top 10 for spring harvest being Shasta, Butte, Placer, El Dorado, Tehama, Sonoma, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada and Lake counties.

For places to hunt turkeys and additional tips and information, hunters should refer to the “Guide to Hunting Wild Turkeys in California” on CDFW’s upland game hunting webpage at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/uplandgame/.

Hunters are also encouraged to check CDFW’s special hunts website for more information at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/DFGSpecialHunts/Default.aspx.

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Media Contacts:
Scott Gardner, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 801-6257
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

New Recreational Groundfish Regulations Now in Effect

Black and yellow groundfish
Black and yellow rockfish

The California Fish and Game Commission adopted several changes to the current recreational groundfish regulations that apply to ocean fishing in state waters up to three miles from shore. The new regulations were adopted by the Commission at its Feb. 11 meeting, and became effective March 10.

The open season dates and allowable fishing depths for the recreational Groundfish Management Areas are as follows:

  • Northern – Open May 15 through Oct. 31, in 20 fathoms (120 feet) or less
  • Mendocino – Open May 15 through Oct. 31, in 20 fathoms (120 feet) or less
  • San Francisco – Open April 15 through Dec. 31, in 30 fathoms (180 feet) or less
  • Central – Open April 1 through Dec. 31, in 40 fathoms (240 feet) or less
  • Southern – Open March 1 through Dec. 31, in 60 fathoms (360 feet) or less

Staff from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) worked closely with recreational stakeholders to develop the regulations prior to submission to and approval by the Commission. “The changes are designed to allow as much fishing opportunity as possible while remaining within allowable catch limits,” said Marci Yaremko, CDFW’s State/Federal Fisheries Program Manager. “However, as we do each year, we will be closely monitoring catches up and down the state during the open season to ensure we don’t exceed any limits.”

Other changes include:

  • An increase in the lingcod bag limit from two to three fish
  • A sub-bag limit of five black rockfish within the 10-fish Rockfish, Cabezon, Greenling (RCG) complex bag limit
  • Statewide closure of the California scorpionfish fishery from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31

Take and possession of bronzespotted rockfish, canary rockfish, cowcod and yelloweye rockfish will remain prohibited statewide.

For more information about recreational groundfish regulations and to stay informed of in-season changes, please call the Recreational Groundfish Hotline at (831) 649-2801 or check CDFW’s Marine Region Groundfish Central website at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/groundfishcentral/index.asp.

Media Contacts:
Joanna Grebel, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 601-2279
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191

CDFW Clarifies Use of “Unplugged” Shotguns

Media Contacts:
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-6692

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988
Ducks and Geese2

CDFW Clarifies Use of “Unplugged” Shotguns

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) seeks to clear up an inadvertently included sentence in the 2014-2015 California Waterfowl Hunting Regulations that led to confusion about the use of an “unplugged” shotgun for late-season waterfowl hunts.

The language in question is included in the synopsis of current federal regulations, located at the back of this year’s California Waterfowl Hunting Regulations booklet. On Page 84, the booklet states that no person shall take migratory game birds:

“… with a shotgun of any description capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler, incapable of removal without disassembling the gun, so its total capacity does not exceed three shells. This restriction does not apply during dates States have selected under the Conservation Order for light geese (i.e. greater and lesser snow and Ross’s geese) or those selected for the control of resident Canada geese. (States insert appropriate dates for light goose only and Canada goose only seasons.)

Please note that the section of the regulations underlined above is incorrect and does not apply anywhere in California. The plugged shotgun requirement remains in effect for all goose hunting seasons in California.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which has primary jurisdiction over management of the nation’s waterfowl, does authorize the use of unplugged shotguns and other techniques in certain parts of the country, in specific circumstances when population reductions are desired. However, federal regulations do not provide for these exceptions in California.

Almost all of California’s wintering goose populations are at the highest levels in decades, resulting in liberal harvest limits and several special late season goose-only hunts around the state. While in the field, hunters can access the regulations via smartphone at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Waterfowl . The incorrect language relative to the unplugged shotguns has been removed in the online version.

CDFW apologizes for the confusion and will remove the inapplicable reference in next year’s regulations booklet.

Special Low Flow Conditions Annually from October 1 through April 30 for Coastal Streams in Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin Counties

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) informs anglers that sport fishing regulation changes have gone into effect for coastal streams in Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties. The new regulations can be found in Title 14, California Code of Regulations, section 8.00 (b).

On December 3, 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission adopted a regulation for annual Special Low Flow Conditions from October 1 through April 30 for coastal streams within the three counties. This regulation now bases flow closure conditions for Mendocino County streams on the Navarro River gauge near Navarro by establishing a minimum flow of 200 cubic feet per second (cfs) at the USGS gauging station on the main stem Navarro River near Navarro, Calif.

With the exception of the Russian River, coastal streams in Marin and Sonoma counties will be based on the South Fork Gualala River gauge near Sea Ranch with the establishment of a minimum flow of 150 cfs at the gauging station on the South Fork Gualala River near Sea Ranch (Sonoma County).

The new regulation also establishes low flow conditions for the Russian River in Mendocino and Sonoma counties based on the Russian River gauge near Guerneville. These streams will be closed to fishing when stream conditions fall below the minimum flow of 300 cfs at the gauging station located on the main stem Russian River near Guerneville (Sonoma County).

Low stream flow conditions prevent the movement of salmon and steelhead to their spawning grounds, increasing their vulnerability to predation, physiological stress and angling pressure. These coastal 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.

In addition, CDFW will make low flow stream closure information available to the public by a telephone recorded message updated, as necessary, no later than 1 p.m. each Monday, Wednesday and Friday as to whether any stream will be open or closed to fishing. It shall be the responsibility of the angler to use the telephone number designated in the sport fishing regulations booklet to obtain information on the status of any stream.

The number for low flow stream closure information is (707) 822-3164 for Mendocino County and (707) 944-5533 for Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties.

Media Contacts:
Ryan Watanabe, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 576-2815
Allan Renger, CDFW Northern Region, (707) 725-7194
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Anglers Urged to Return Overdue 2014 Sturgeon Fishing Report Cards

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding sturgeon anglers to return their 2014 Sturgeon Fishing Report Cards as required by law. Although the deadline to report their catch was Jan. 31, so far only about 9,000 (or 18 percent) of the 49,263 report cards sold have been returned. The sport fishing regulations require that all sturgeon anglers return their Report Cards, even the sturgeon anglers who did not encounter sturgeon and who did not fish for white sturgeon.

Without the data gleaned from the late report cards, CDFW’s scientific understanding of the white sturgeon and green sturgeon populations is incomplete. This makes it harder for scientists to recognize possible overfishing of the diminished white sturgeon population and to document accidental catch of the threatened green sturgeon. In this case, addressing the uncertainty could mean new harvest restrictions.

“Anglers who return their cards are providing data that is otherwise unavailable and it’s very good data.  They are also helping to protect the white sturgeon fishery and rebuild both sturgeon populations.  Anglers who do not return report cards are complicating those efforts,” said Marty Gingras, CDFW Sturgeon Program Manager. “We’re asking anglers to send the information to us now, even though the deadline has passed. It’s truly better late than never.”

Anglers can return the overdue report cards by mail to the address printed on the card or use the CDFW website at https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Fishing – 758846-harvest-reporting

White sturgeon and green sturgeon are anadromous, meaning they move from the salt and brackish water to spawn in freshwater. They are both native California species and can live to be more than 100 years old.  California’s white sturgeon and green sturgeon populations were substantially reduced by commercial fishing in the 19th century and the recreational and commercial sturgeon fisheries were (with minor exceptions) closed from 1901 through 1953. Only recreational fishing for sturgeon has been allowed since 1954, and that fishery has become increasingly restricted over time in an effort to rebuild the populations and protect the fishery.

Media Contact:
Marty Gingras, CDFW Sturgeon Program Manager, (209) 234-3486
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW to Hold Public Meetings on Draft Regulations Changes for Scientific Collecting Permits

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold three public meetings about proposed regulation changes relative to Scientific Collecting Permits. At these meetings, CDFW staff will address common concerns received during initial stakeholder outreach conducted in 2012 and 2013, and discuss improvements anticipated with the proposed regulations

The proposed regulation changes adjust permit fees, extend the duration of permit terms, establish procedures relative to permit program administration, and clarify entity permits and the relationship between Scientific Collecting Permits and state-listed threatened, endangered, candidate and fully protected species. CDFW will be working through the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) rulemaking process in 2015, with an anticipated effective date of Jan. 1, 2016.

CDFW invites comments and suggestions prior to initiating the formal APA rulemaking process. This pre-notice period provides opportunity for input as the draft regulations are written. The three meetings will be held from 1:30 – 4 p.m. on the following dates:

Thursday, February 19
Resources Building Auditorium
1416 Ninth St.
Sacramento (95814)

Wednesday, March 4
Humboldt Area Foundation, Emmerson Room
363 Indianola Rd.
Bayside (95524)

Wednesday, April 1
West Ed Building, Ed Meyers Classroom
4655 Lampson Ave., Suite A
Los Alamitos (90720)

Online participation via a web-based conference tool (WebEx) will be available to those who cannot attend a meeting in person. Due to space and staffing limitations, CDFW requests that interested parties RSVP with their intent to attend in person or via WebEx at least one week prior to the meeting they wish to attend. Please send an email with your name, affiliation, phone number and preferred meeting location to SCPermits@wildlife.ca.gov.

Written comments regarding the proposed regulation changes may also be submitted by mail to the CDFW’s Regulations Unit, 1416 Ninth St., Room 1342-A, Sacramento, 95814 or by email to SCPermits@wildlife.ca.gov. All pre-notice comments must be postmarked or received by Friday, April 17, 2015 to be considered by CDFW in this round of drafting the proposed regulations.

Interested parties will have an additional opportunity to comment on the proposed regulations during the official 45-day public comment period, expected to start in July 2015.

Additional information for permit applicants and permittees will be available on the CDFW website in spring 2015, at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Scientific-Collecting.

Media Contacts:
Ona Alminas, CDFW Regulations Unit and Fisheries Branch, (916) 651-9167
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

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.

Emergency Regulations to Close Merced River Angling Now In Effect

On Aug. 6, 2014 the California Fish and Game Commission adopted a proposal to implement early restrictions on angling in the Merced River, pending a legal review. Monday, Aug. 25, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the proposal, effective immediately. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) was notified on Tuesday, Aug. 26.

This early closure affects only the Merced River from Crocker-Huffman Dam downstream to the Snelling Road bridge, a distance of approximately 5.5 miles. Angling in the river below Snelling Road bridge is subject to normal fishing regulations and closures. A map of the closure can be found here.

The lower Merced River is typically only closed to angling from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31. The purpose of the annual closure is to increase survival of juvenile and adult wild rainbow trout and steelhead by reducing fish mortality associated with hook-and-line fishing.

This year’s move to close the river ahead of schedule is intended to protect drought-stressed waters and their salmonid populations during the fall spawning.

The river will re-open to anglers on Jan. 1, 2015.

Media Contacts:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937
Dean Marston, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (559) 243-4005 ext. 122, or dean.marston@wildlife.ca.gov

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