Tag Archives: USFWS

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Streamflow Enhancement Projects

At its March 9 Streamflow Enhancement meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $20 million of Proposition 1 Funds in grants through the Streamflow Enhancement Program. The program awards grant funding on a competitive basis to projects that represent the mission of the WCB and address the three goals of the California Water Action Plan: reliability, restoration and resilience.

Of the 24 funded projects, 10 are implementation projects, 13 are planning projects and one is an acquisition. All are predicted to result in significant enhancement to the amount, timing and/or quality of water available for anadromous fish and special status, threatened, endangered or at risk species, or bolster resilience to climate change. Some of the funded projects are:

  • A $2.2 million grant to California Trout (CalTrout) for a cooperative project with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences to dedicate, through a California Water Code section 1707 transfer, 1.5 cubic feet per second (cfs) of cold water to the Little Shasta River through a combination of on-farm efficiency savings and voluntary flow contributions, located on privately owned land six miles east of Montague in Siskiyou County.
  • An $800,000 grant to the Plumas Corporation for a cooperative project with the California Department of Water Resources, California State University, Sacramento and the U.S. Forest Service to implement a long term monitoring program that accurately quantifies the flow of water from mountain meadow landscapes, to document the effectiveness of restoration efforts within Tulare, Fresno, Calaveras, El Dorado, Sierra, Plumas and Lassen counties.
  • A $4.5 million grant to Monterey Peninsula Regional Parks District for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), California State Coastal Conservancy, California Natural Resources Agency, Trust for Public Land and California American Water Company, to acquire approximately 185 acres of private land and its associated water rights along the Carmel River, approximately one mile east of Carmel-by-the-Sea in Monterey County.
  • A $3.4 million grant to the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians for a cooperative project with the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, USFWS and Bureau of Indian Affairs to implement 16 restoration actions. These actions, designed to enhance flows and improve ecological conditions and geomorphic processes, span a project area of approximately 91 acres within the Dry Creek Rancheria, and will improve and restore habitat for endangered steelhead and Coho salmon in Rancheria Creek.
  • A $132,000 grant to TNC for a cooperative planning project between Trout Unlimited and CalTrout. The objectives of this project are to develop an efficient process and model for water rights holders to dedicate water for instream flows in the Shasta River watershed, to provide information to practitioners via outreach and to develop straightforward processes for analyzing consumptive use.
  • A $941,000 grant to the Immaculate Heart Community/La Casa de Maria (LCDM) Retreat and Conference Center for a cooperative project with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, American Tanks & Loomis Tanks and the California Conservation Corps to offset existing agricultural irrigation, landscaping and non-potable domestic water use. The capture and reuse of up to 800,000 gallons of water through onsite rainwater reuse, storm water management and irrigation conservation will allow LCDM to abstain from seasonal diversion and use of a riparian water right, and dedicate approximately 7 million gallons of water annually to instream flow, thereby enhancing creek base flows and steelhead trout habitat on San Ysidro Creek.
  • A $2.3 million grant to the Mission Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with the La Pata Mitigation Project, Integrated Regional Water Management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local agencies to control 98 acres of the invasive plant, Arundo donax on 17.8 river miles in the San Juan, Santa Margarita, San Luis Rey and San Diego watersheds in Orange and San Diego Counties. This WCB project will fund activities that are part of existing watershed programs, so will have benefits in terms of long-term success/follow-up, outreach and a large-scale watershed-based approach.

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 Education and Outreach, (916) 322-2420

Featured photo: Riparian habitat on the Cosumnes River in El Dorado County. Courtesy of American River Conservancy

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its June 2 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $17 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 20 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. Funded projects include:

  • Acceptance of a $369,240 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition grant to assist with the acquisition in fee of approximately 141 acres of land from two separate landowners by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. These purchases will protect core wildlife linkages and endangered species habitat near the community of Jamul in San Diego County.
  • A $440,000 grant to Tuleyome to acquire in fee approximately 1,280 acres of land for the protection of habitat such as blue oak woodland, riparian areas and chaparral and to provide for potential future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities near Clearlake Oaks in Lake County.
  • A $3,500,000 grant to Tuolumne River Preservation Trust for a cooperative project with the U.S. Forest Service to restore or enhance habitat and to install infrastructure to benefit wildlife on areas decimated by the Rim Fire, within the Stanislaus National Forest, approximately 20 miles east of Sonora in Tuolumne County.
  • A $3,820,000 grant to the University of California, Santa Barbara to restore approximately 136 acres of slough, wetland, transitional and upland habitats in portions of the historic northern extent of Devereux Slough, adjacent to the southern city limits of Goleta in Santa Barbara County.
  • A $1,850,000 grant to the Imperial Irrigation District to restore approximately 600 acres of shallow, brackish water habitat in the Red Hill Bay area of the Salton Sea, 15 miles northwest of Brawley in Imperial 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 Education and Outreach, (916) 322-2420

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Nov. 19 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $11.5 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 12 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:

 

  • An $846,200 grant to the Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority, to acquire in fee approximately 2,838 acres of land in the City of Hemet in western Riverside County. The sources of these funds are a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition grant to the WCB and a WCB grant to the Authority.

 

  • A $1.8 million grant to the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District for a cooperative project with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the California Natural Resources Agency, to acquire in fee approximately 326 acres of wildlife habitat, including large areas of riparian and aquatic habitat, grasslands and oak woodlands near Simi Valley in Ventura County.

 

  • A $730,000 grant to the Inyo and Mono Counties Agricultural Commissioner’s Office for a cooperative project with U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), to control invasive perennial pepperweed on approximately 14 acres. This will enhance native habitat on approximately 10,000 acres of publicly owned land that is jointly managed by BLM, DWP and CDFW, north of Bishop, in Inyo and Mono counties.

 

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

Anglers Encouraged to Return Sturgeon Tags for Recognition and Monetary Reward

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed its annual sturgeon tagging program, catching and releasing nearly 400 sturgeon in Bay Area waters.  Many of the tags are eligible for a reward if returned to CDFW by anglers.

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The tagging operation is used to help manage California’s green and white sturgeon populations. Information received from anglers about tagged sturgeon complements the details submitted on sturgeon fishing report cards as well as data from party boats, creel surveys, surveys for juvenile sturgeon and various special studies.

CDFW offers monetary rewards for the return of certain marked tags. The tags are smaller than a dime and located behind the rear dorsal fin. Anglers who return a tag will also receive a certificate of appreciation from CDFW. Additional information and the form for returning tags can be found on the CDFW website.

“Protecting the white sturgeon fishery and the sturgeon populations requires research, collaboration, adaptive management and enforcement,” said CDFW Program Manager Marty Gingras. “Angler participation is a vital component of the information-gathering process – we rely on them to help us complete the loop.”

Working in Suisun and San Pablo bays from August through October, crews collected information on 18 green sturgeon, tagged 190 white sturgeon, and collected information on 169 white sturgeon that were either too small or too large to tag. In an ongoing collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and a new collaboration with San Francisco Estuary Institute, USFWS staff was also on board CDFW boats to collect various tissues as part of an age-and-growth study and a study monitoring selenium concentrations in white sturgeon.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin river system is the southernmost spawning grounds for both white sturgeon and green sturgeon.  Sturgeon in California can live more than 100 years and weigh over 500 pounds, but anglers most often catch sturgeon 3-4 feet in length.  The sturgeon fishery in California was once closed for decades due to overfishing. Today, commercial harvest of white sturgeon is not allowed, and recreational harvest of white sturgeon is regulated by size limit, daily bag limit and annual bag limit. Green sturgeon is a threatened species and neither commercial nor recreational harvest of those fish is allowed.

Serialized tags are provided with each sturgeon fishing report card to help enforce the bag limits. To enable law enforcement to cross-reference the tag with a particular card, anglers must permanently fix a tag to each kept white sturgeon until the fish is processed for consumption.

Anglers are required to return their 2015 sturgeon fishing report cards by Jan. 31, 2016.

Media Contact:
Marty Gingras, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (209) 234-3486
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

California Receives Federal Grants to Support Land Acquisition and Conservation Planning for Endangered Species

Media Contacts:
Monica Parisi, Habitat Conservation Planning Branch, (916) 653-9767
Dale Steele, Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-0803
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

California has been awarded $12.7 million in federal grants to support conservation planning and acquisition of habitat for threatened and endangered fish, wildlife and plants.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awards annual competitive grants from the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund to states. The grants are authorized by Section 6 of the federal Endangered Species Act. Nearly $33 million was granted to 21 states in 2012. These funds are administered under three grant programs: Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) Planning Assistance, HCP Land Acquisition and Recovery Land Acquisition.

California received $4.2 million in HCP Planning Assistance Grants, which support the development of HCPs and, in California, Natural Community Conservation Plans (NCCPs). HCPs and NCCPs are large-scale, ecosystem-based plans designed to protect plants, animals and their habitats while allowing compatible and appropriate economic activity. Grants fund baseline surveys and inventories, document preparation, public outreach and similar planning activities. Seven plans were awarded grants: including HCPs and NCCPs in the Bay-Delta, Northeast San Luis Obispo County, Kern Valley Floor, Butte Regional, Bakersfield Regional, Town of Apple Valley  and the city of Colton.

A total of $7 million was awarded to the state for HCP Land Acquisition Grants, which fund the purchase of land to meet the conservation objectives of approved HCPs and NCCPs. Three plans received awards: the East Contra Costa County NCCP/HCP, the Western Riverside County NCCP/HCP, and the Northwest San Diego County Multiple Habitat Conservation Plan NCCP/HCP.

California received $1.5 million in Recovery Land Acquisition Grants to acquire habitat for threatened and endangered species associated with approved recovery plans. Funded projects include:

  • Kelsey Ranch Conservation Easement, Merced County, which includes habitat for vernal pool fairy shrimp, California tiger salamander and vernal pool rare plants.
  • Arrastre Canyon, Los Angeles County, for unarmored three-spine stickleback, Southwestern willow flycatcher, California red-legged frog and arroyo toad habitat.
  • Shay Meadows Conservation Area Expansion, San Bernardino County, for habitat for unarmored three-spine stickleback and five federally-listed plants
  • Riverside County habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep, desert tortoise, desert slender salamander and triple-ribbed milk-vetch

For more information on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grants for threatened and endangered species, including links to the complete list of awards nationwide, visit www.fws.gov/endangered/grants. More information on conservation planning in California can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/habcon/nccp.