Tag Archives: Southern 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

Applications Opening Soon for Quail Hunts in San Diego County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications for two quail hunts in San Diego County.

The first hunt opportunity is slated for Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, from 6 a.m. to noon. The second will be Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017.

These hunts will be at the Oakgrove sub-unit of San Felipe Wildlife Area, a CDFW property located off Highway 79, 1.5 miles south of the Cleveland National Forest Oak Grove Campground. Each hunt will accommodate up to 20 hunters.

The deadline to apply for the Oct. 15 hunt is Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 4 p.m. The deadline to apply for the Jan. 7 hunt is Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 4 p.m.

Applications must be submitted online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds (select “Special Hunts,” then “Special Hunts and Online Application”). There is no cost to apply. Applicants may include up to four hunters on each application.

Dogs are allowed on these hunts but they must remain in the immediate control of the hunters at all times. No dogs will be provided for this event.

For more information about these hunt opportunities or logistics, please call the CDFW South Coast Region’s Upland Game Bird Special Hunt Program at (562) 254-8969. For questions or more information about the application process, please call (916) 445-3452.

Media Contact:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 201-2958

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

CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 322-2420

Annual General Trout Opener Coming Soon in the Eastern Sierra

The general trout opener in many counties throughout California will commence on April 26, one hour before sunrise.

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Because of the popularity of this annual event with the angling public, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is making every effort to stock trout in all accessible waters approved for planting prior to the season opener. Lingering winter conditions and this year’s unprecedented drought could play a major role in how many rivers, creeks, lakes and reservoirs can be stocked before April 26.

Most lakes, rivers and streams have a limit of five trout per day and 10 in possession. However, regulations differ on season opening and closing dates, bag limits, minimum and maximum size limits and gear restrictions.

Anglers are advised to check specific area regulations and opening dates in the 2014/15 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulation booklet, found online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations, for regulations specific to each body of water.

In 2012, CDFW regional staff created the Eastern Sierra Back Country Fishing Guide to provide anglers with a quick, informative and accurate account of the distribution of fisheries in back country high elevation lakes. This guide does not address front country waters, defined as lakes and streams that are accessible by vehicle. Most of the lakes lie within U.S. Forest Service lands managed as Wilderness and usually require back country permits for overnight use. Most back country fisheries are based on self-sustaining populations of trout and do not need regular trout stocking to maintain fish populations. The guide can be found at http://dfg.ca.gov/regions/6/

Crowley Lake in the Eastern Sierra is expected to be one of the most popular opening day destinations for anglers from around the state. In past years, an estimated 10,000 anglers have turned out for the opener, and approximately 50,000 trout are caught during the first week of the season. Typically Crowley is planted with hundreds of thousands of small and medium sized trout, and because of excellent food sources in the 5,280-acre reservoir, these trout grow to catchable sizes and weigh at least three-quarters of a pound by the opener. About 10 percent of the trout caught at Crowley during opening weekend weigh over a pound and a half. These fish are from stocks planted in previous years or are wild fish produced in Crowley’s tributary waters.

Anglers are asked to be particularly vigilant when cleaning fish and fishing gear at Crowley Lake and in the upper and lower Owens River Drainage. The New Zealand Mudsnail was discovered several years ago in the Owens River Drainage, and CDFW would like to prevent the snail from spreading into other waters. To avoid spreading New Zealand Mudsnails and other aquatic invasive species to other waters, anglers are advised dispose of their fish guts in bear-proof trash cans, rather than throw them back into the water. Wading gear should be properly cleaned before using in new waters.

All persons age 16 and older must possess a valid California fishing license to fish within state lines. Freshwater fishing licenses can be purchased online at www.dfg.ca.gov/onlinesales or at regional CDFW offices or other license agents. Anglers no longer have to display their license visibly above the waist but they must have it in their possession while fishing.

Media Contacts:            
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
James Erdman, Environmental Scientist, (760) 873-6071

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Two Santa Barbara County Men Arrested for Felony Fish Theft

Two commercial fishermen were arrested by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers early Sunday morning in Santa Barbara Harbor on felony charges of conspiracy and grand theft.

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John Wilson, 53, of Santa Ynez and Kai Griffin, 23, of Buellton, both licensed commercial fishermen, are being charged with stealing live rock crabs from fellow commercial fishermen and stealing from commercial fish markets at the commercial dock in Santa Barbara Harbor. Wildlife officers allege that the pair then sold the crabs, along with several other illegally landed species, at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market.

“Thanks to some good tips from the fishing community and good, solid police work, we were able to catch the suspects and stop these illegal sales,” said CDFW Lt. Wes Boyle

Wardens had received reports from commercial fishermen and two Santa Barbara fish markets regarding stolen rock crabs and other assorted species. The thefts were said to be occurring in the early morning hours. During the two-month-long investigation, the subjects were observed stealing live rock crabs from receivers in Santa Barbara Harbor and then selling them at the Farmer’s Market. The investigation also showed that the subjects were selling sea urchins, Kellet’s whelks (out of season), live rock crabs and clawed rock crabs that were illegally landed.

The suspects were booked into Santa Barbara County Jail, and charges will be filed with the county District Attorney.

Media Contacts:     
Capt. Mike Stefanak, CDFW Law Enforcement, (805) 746-7590
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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