Tag Archives: Santa Barbara County

Watch Out for Wildlife Week Reminds Motorists to Slow Down & Be Alert

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.

“Drivers can improve their own safety by simply slowing down and remaining alert while driving,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “We are committed to safety while being mindful of the environment, using signage, fencing, and undercrossings to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions along roadways, especially in wildlife corridors.”

“Between now and December, deer and other wildlife are more susceptible than usual to vehicle collisions,” said Marc Kenyon, CDFW’s Human-Wildlife Conflict Program Manager. “Soon, deer will 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.”

Wildlife experts offer the following tips for motorists:

  • Be especially alert when driving in wildlife areas, 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 others may be following.
  • Don’t litter. The odors may entice animals to venture near roadways.

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.

Here are a few of 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 17 Laurel Curve Wildlife Crossing, Santa Cruz County

The Laurel Curve Crossing Project is a planned undercrossing that will enhance wildlife movement to either side of Highway 17. Highway 17 over the Santa Cruz Mountains is a four-lane road that has become heavily-traveled in recent years, particularly by people who commute between the Santa Cruz and San Francisco Bay areas. The part of Highway 17 that includes Laurel Curve is in an essential connectivity area for wildlife, cutting through prime habitat. Deer, bears, mountain lions and smaller wildlife attempt to cross the highway in their normal migration and foraging patterns, creating hazards for themselves and motorists. The Laurel Curve Wildlife Crossing project is a collaboration of several local and state partners including the Santa Cruz County Land Trust, Pathways for Wildlife, the UC Santa Cruz Puma Project, Caltrans, and CDFW. Funding sources include Advance Mitigation Program funds from the 2016 State Highway Operation and Protection Program.

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 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 the 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 in the final stages and is expected to be completed this fall.

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Media Contacts:
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420
Patrick Olsen, Patrick Olsen, Caltrans Public Affairs, (916) 654-3633

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its May 21 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $17.8 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 19 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, land owners and the local community. The 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 $360,000 grant to American Rivers, Inc., for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), US Forest Service (USFS), Wildlife Conservation Society, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Alpine Watershed Group, for ecological restoration of the West Fork Carson River in CDFW’s Hope Valley Wildlife Area and the USFS’s Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, 12 miles south of South Lake Tahoe in Alpine County.
  • A $450,000 grant to the Redwood Community Action Agency for a cooperative project with Humboldt and Del Norte County Agriculture Departments, California Department of Transportation, California Department of Parks and Recreation and the Yurok Tribe, to eradicate non-native knotweeds and other invasive species at more than 100 locations in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.
  • A $1.6 million grant to Pacific Forest Trust to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 3,468 acres of land to protect of a mixed conifer working forest and habitat linkages located near the community of Montague in Siskiyou County.
  • A $2.1 million grant for the acquisition of a conservation easement over approximately 1,447 acres of land by CDFW for a cooperative project with The Trust for Public Land, to protect native oak woodlands habitat near Penn Valley in Nevada County.
  • A $465,000 grant to the Santa Cruz Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, California Conservation Corps, State Coastal Conservancy, State Water Resources Control Board, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County and a private landowner, to restore riparian habitat in areas critical to special status amphibian and fish species, located on two coastal watersheds in Santa Cruz County.
  • A $568,000 grant to The Nature Conservancy for a cooperative project with the National Park Service to eliminate Argentine ants from Santa Cruz Island, approximately 20 miles west of Ventura Harbor in Santa Barbara County.

For more information about the WCB please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

small river with pebble bottom running through a dry Alpine wilderness
West Fork Carson River in CDFW’s Hope Valley Wildlife Area and the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, in Alpine County. WCB photo
Green, leafy groundcover blankets floor of deciduous forest
Non-native knotweeds and other invasive species found in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Photo by Monica Walker
narrow creek runs through green meadow with a few tall conifer trees
Butte Creek in Siskiyou County
Black, red and white sign warning of Argentine ants, posted on rural wood fence
Invasive Argentine ants warning on Santa Cruz Island, in the Santa Barbara Channel.
Creek runs through green and brown forest brush
Riparian habitat in areas critical to special status amphibian and fish species, in a coastal watershed in Santa Cruz County. WCB photo
Oak trees on a hill surrounded by dry, yellow grasses
Native oak woodlands habitat near Penn Valley in Nevada County. WCB photo

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Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, WCB Executive Director, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 322-2420