Tag Archives: Santa Cruz

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Nov. 30 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $2.6 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 12 approved projects will benefit fish and wildlife—including some endangered species—while others will provide public 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 bond measures approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Funded projects include:

  • A $310,000 grant to the California Waterfowl Association for a cooperative project with the North American Wetlands Conservation Council to construct water conveyance infrastructure and restore wetlands and upland habitats on 507 acres of privately owned property, approximately seven miles south of Oroville in Butte County.
  • A $385,000 grant to the U.S. Forest Service for a cooperative project with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to restore five meadows, stabilize head-cuts and fill sections of incised stream channels. This project will restore channel form, floodplain connectivity, stream bank stability and meadow vegetation on Stanislaus National Forest lands, seven miles northeast of Pinecrest in Tuolumne County.
  • $340,000 for in-fee acquisition of approximately 12 acres of land by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and a Transfer of Jurisdiction of the land by CDFW to the San Joaquin River Conservancy (SJRC), to protect riparian habitat and provide future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities within the San Joaquin River Parkway, near the City of Fresno in Madera County.
  • A $400,000 augmentation to an existing grant to the Elkhorn Slough Foundation for a cooperative project with CDFW, California State Coastal Conservancy, DWR, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Santa Cruz County Public Works. This project will restore 46 acres of tidal marsh and five acres of perennial grasses on CDFW’s Elkhorn Slough National Marine Estuarine Research Reserve, two miles east of Moss Landing in Monterey County.

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 Communications, (916) 322-2420

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

CDFW and Partners Raid Santa Cruz County Marijuana Grow

Officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and other agencies arrested two suspects, cut down marijuana plants and removed hazardous materials from a Santa Cruz county waterway on July 15.

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Acting on an anonymous tip on the CalTIP line, wildlife officers — with assistance from CAL FIRE, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department and Santa Cruz County Code Enforcement — raided an illegal marijuana cultivation site in the upper reaches of the south fork of Vicente Creek off Robles Drive near Bonny Doon. The site had been set up on private property without the landowner’s permission and was diverting water from the creek.

Officers arrested two male suspects and cut down and removed 180 fully mature marijuana plants with an approximate value of $360,000. Officers also found and removed several pounds of hashish, fertilizer, dozens of butane canisters used to manufacture concentrated cannabis, and other harmful materials that cause direct damage to the environment of Vicente Creek. CDFW officers conducted a full reclamation of the site.

“These marijuana cultivation sites are not only illegal but the trash left behind causes tremendous damage to the environment,” said CDFW Assistant Chief Brian Naslund. “Our officers are working hard around the state to find and remove these cultivation sites, keep harmful chemicals from entering state waters and ensure public safety.”

Marijuana cultivation is becoming an increasing problem in California as the historic drought wears on.

“Illegal marijuana growers steal substantial amounts of water, exacerbating our severe drought conditions,” said Naslund. “Marijuana plants use six to eight gallons of water per plant, per day, and are a direct hazard to wildlife that eats the plants.”

Law enforcement officials are also concerned that that hikers and walkers could be in danger if they accidentally come across a marijuana cultivation site. Illegal growers often carry weapons.

The suspects were taken into custody and will be charged with multiple violations including streambed alteration, pollution and placement of hazardous materials on the property of another.

The lower Vicente Creek is the southernmost salmon stream in California. It is a historic waterway that supports both anadromous steelhead and endangered Central Coast Coho salmon.

CalTIP (Californians Turn In Poachers and Polluters) is a confidential secret witness program that encourages the public to provide CDFW with factual information leading to the arrest of poachers and polluters. If you witness a poaching or polluting incident or any fish and wildlife violation, or have information about such a violation, please call 1-888-DFG-CALTIP (888-334-2258), 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Media Contact:
Lt. John Nores, CDFW Enforcement, (408) 591-5174
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

Hill and canyon covered in chaparral, sage and scrub
The chaparral-sage-scrub-habitat of Puerco Canyon
View of the ocean and undeveloped coast hills from hilltop in Los Angeles County
View of the Pacific from Puerco Canyon, Los Angeles County. WCB photo
A lone tree on a rolling, grassy plain
West side of Dry Creek Ranch. WCB photo
A wood and wire fence on a plain of green grass
Northern boundary of Dry Creek Ranch, Merced County. WCB photo

At its May 22 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $22.1 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 23 funded projects will provide benefits to 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 bond initiatives approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Some of the funded projects include:

  • A $4.5 million grant to Humboldt County for a cooperative project with the State Coastal Conservancy and the Natural Resources Agency to acquire approximately 1,000 acres of land for the protection of a mixed conifer forest property, including riparian corridors, salmonid streams, coastal watershed and habitat linkages, and to expand future wildlife oriented public use opportunities.
  • A $3.2 million grant to Sanctuary Forest Land Trust to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 2,612 acres of land for the protection of a mixed conifer working forest with riparian corridors, salmonid streams, coastal watersheds and habitat linkages near the community of Whitehorn in Humboldt and Mendocino counties.
  • A $1.7 million grant to the National Audubon Society for a cooperative project with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed to enhance and restore approximately 260 acres of the Sonoma Creek Marsh on San Pablo Bay, within the boundary of the USFWS’s San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, 15 miles southeast of the city of Sonoma in Sonoma County.
  • A $531,000 grant to the Santa Cruz Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program, the USFWS, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the California Conservation Corps, the Coastal Conservancy and others to restore approximately 10 acres of riparian and wetland habitat in areas critical to special status amphibian and fish species on four coastal watersheds in Santa Cruz County.
  • Accepted a USFWS Recovery Land Acquisition grant and approved a sub-grant of these federal funds to the California Rangeland Trust. Approved a WCB grant to the California Rangeland Trust for a cooperative project with the U.S Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Bureau of Reclamation to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 4,417 acres of land for the protection of grassland and associated vernal pools, blue oak woodland and riparian habitats to promote recovery of threatened and endangered species near the community of Snelling in Merced County.
  • A $4.5 million grant to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority for a cooperative project with the State Coastal Conservancy and the County of Los Angeles to acquire approximately 700 acres of land for the protection of chaparral, coastal sage scrub, scrub-oak chaparral, native grasslands and oak woodland-savannah habitat and to enhance wildlife linkages, watershed protection and provide future wildlife oriented public use opportunities, located in the central Santa Monica Mountains, near the community of Malibu, in Los Angeles County.
  • Accepted a USFWS Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition grant of $786,750 and approved a sub-grant of these federal funds to the Friends of the Palm Spring Mountains (FOPSM). Approved a Wildlife Conservation Board grant to FOPSM, for a cooperative project with the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy to acquire approximately 353 acres of high desert, desert alluvial fan and habitat linkages to promote recovery of the Peninsular bighorn sheep and other threatened and endangered species covered under the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, along the lower elevations of the San Jacinto mountains near the northwest border of the city of Palm Springs, in Riverside County.

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 Communications, (916) 322-2420

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, Wildlife Conservation Board, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

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At its Feb. 23 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved $17.9 million in grants funding to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 13 funded projects will provide benefits to fish and wildlife species, including some endangered species, and others will provide public access opportunities 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, the landowner and the local community. The funds for all of these projects come from recent bond initiatives approved by the voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources.

Some of the funded projects include:

  • A $263,000 grant to Watsonville Wetlands Watch for a cooperative project with the Department of Fish and Game (DFG), the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, the City of Watsonville and the Santa Cruz Resource Conservation District to restore approximately six acres of riparian habitat located along Struve Slough, West Struve Slough and Hanson Slough in Santa Cruz County.
  • A $2.4 million grant to the Pit Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with DFG to restore approximately 1,500 acres, protecting approximately 1,085 intact wetlands from increased head-cutting, and integrating the water delivery system to meet downstream water rights and management of seasonal wetlands on DFG’s Ash Creek Wildlife Area in Lassen and Modoc counties.
  • A $1.2 million grant to the Northcoast Regional Land Trust to acquire a conservation easement over 1,622 acres of diverse native forests and riparian areas which include Port Orford cedar and Douglas fir habitat corridor linkages within the Willow Creek watershed, a salmonid stream and tributary to the Trinity River, in Humboldt County.
  • A $5.5 million grant to the River Partners for a cooperative project with the California Natural Resources Agency, Department of Water Resources, U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, San Francisco Public Utility Commission and Tuolumne River Preservation Trust to acquire in fee approximately 1,603 acres of valley floodplain and riverine habitat for the protection of habitat for special status species including Chinook salmon, steelhead trout and riparian brush rabbits, and to provide future wildlife-oriented public use and recreational opportunities in Stanislaus County.

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