2019 Duck Stamp Art Contest Winners

CDFW Seeks Artists to Enter Annual California Duck Stamp Art Contest

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites artists to submit their original artwork to the 2020-2021 California Duck Stamp Art Contest. Submissions will be accepted April 27 through May 29.

The contest is open to U.S. residents 18 years of age or older as of Feb. 27, 2020. Entrants need not reside in California.

The winning artwork will be reproduced on the 2020-2021 California Duck Stamp. The top submissions will also be showcased at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s art show in July.

The artwork must depict the species selected by the California Fish and Game Commission, which for the 2020-2021 hunting season is the canvasback. These fast-flying, diving ducks are the largest of their genus, Aythya, and are characterized by a white back with a reddish-brown neck and head that slopes gently into a long black beak. In California, the canvasback migrates along the Pacific Flyway to wintering grounds on lakes, estuaries and protected bays.

The design is to be in full color and in the medium (or combination of mediums) of the artist’s choosing, except that no photographic process, digital art, metallic paints or fluorescent paints may be used in the finished design. Photographs, computer-generated art, art produced from a computer printer or other computer/mechanical output device (air brush method excepted) are not eligible for entry and will be disqualified. The design must be the contestant’s original hand-drawn creation. The entry design may not be copied or duplicated from previously published art, including photographs, or from images in any format published on the Internet.

All entries must be accompanied by a completed participation agreement and entry form. These forms and the official rules are available online at wildlife.ca.gov/duck-stamp/contest.

Entries will be judged in June. The judges’ panel, which will consist of experts in the fields of ornithology, conservation, and art and printing, will choose first, second and third-place winners, as well as honorable mention.

Since 1971, CDFW’s annual contest has attracted top wildlife artists from around the country. All proceeds generated from stamp sales go directly to waterfowl conservation projects throughout California. In past years, hunters were required to purchase and affix the stamp to their hunting license. Now California has moved to an automated licensing system and hunters are no longer required to carry the physical stamps in the field (proof of purchase prints directly onto the license). However, CDFW will still produce the stamps, which can be requested by interested individuals at wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps.

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Media Contacts:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8907
Melanie Weaver, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 373-8828

California Fish and Game Commission Meets in Sacramento

At its December 2019 meeting in Sacramento, the California Fish and Game Commission  took action on a number of issues affecting California’s natural resources. The following are just a few items of interest from the two-day meeting.

The Commission made a listing decision under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) regarding the foothill yellow-legged frog. Due to the level of genetic divergence, geographic isolation, and differing levels of imperilment between populations and threats within these populations, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recommended separating the listing into different clades for the foothill yellow-legged frog. The Commission’s decision was consistent with that recommendation. The Commission listed the Southern Sierra, Central Coast and South Coast clades as endangered under CESA, and the Feather River and Northern Sierra clades as threatened under CESA. The Commission also decided that listing the North Coast clade is not warranted at this time. The Commission is scheduled to adopt findings for the decision at its February 2020 meeting.

The Commission recognized five newly inducted members of the California Waterfowler’s Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees are L. Ryan Broddrick, Dean A. Cortopassi, John M. Eadie, Richard Janson and Mickey W. Saso. The California Waterfowler’s Hall of Fame was established in 2006 to recognize those individuals who have made significant contributions to enhancing waterfowl and their habitats in California.

After hearing from numerous Delta anglers, the Commission voted to postpone adoption of a Delta Fisheries Management Policy and potential amendments to the Commission’s Striped Bass Policy to a future meeting.

Successful and sound management of game populations has allowed for the Commission to authorize publication of notice to amend hunting regulations for big game mammals and waterfowl. Amendments to be considered include additional hunting opportunities in some elk and desert bighorn sheep zones where populations continue to thrive, and new hunting opportunities for veterans and active military personnel for waterfowl hunting.

The Commission authorized publication of notice to amend the regulations for CDFW lands to add properties to the lists of wildlife areas and ecological reserves, and to remove properties from those lists for which CDFW no longer has management authority. This focused regulatory package also proposes authorization of new site-specific public uses, as well as other amendments to address operational or public safety concerns.

The Commission received an annual report from CDFW on management activities of the Statewide Marine Protected Area Program and heard other marine-related items.

The Commission also elected to move the dates of the next meeting to Feb. 20-21, 2020 with marine items being heard on the first day and wildlife items on the second day.

Commission President Eric Sklar, Vice President Jacque Hostler-Carmesin and Commissioner Samantha Murray were present. Commissioners Russell Burns and Peter Silva were absent.

The full Commission agenda for this meeting along with supporting information is available at www.fgc.ca.gov. An archived video will also be available in coming days.

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The California Fish and Game Commission was the first wildlife conservation agency in the United States, predating even the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries. There is often confusion about the distinction between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Commission. In the most basic terms, CDFW implements and enforces the regulations set by the Commission, as well as provides biological data and expertise to inform the Commission’s decision-making process.

CDFW staff working with landowners

Landowners Invited to Participate in California Waterfowl Habitat Program

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications from landowners for the California Waterfowl Habitat Program (CWHP). The CWHP provides technical guidance and economic incentives to private landowners who agree to manage their properties in accordance with a wetland management plan developed cooperatively by CDFW biologists and participating landowners.

In response to the loss of wetland habitat in California, the Legislature passed the California Waterfowl Habitat Preservation Act in 1987. This Act established the CWHP, a multi-faceted wetland incentive program designed to improve habitat conditions for waterfowl on private lands. Consistent with its primary waterfowl habitat objectives, the program also endeavors to enhance habitat for shorebirds, wading birds and other wetland-dependent species. The program has remained very popular with existing enrollees, but lack of adequate funding has limited CDFW’s ability to enroll new properties since the mid-2000s. The passing of Proposition 68 in 2018 approved $10 million in new funding for the program.

The program is designed to contribute to large-scale conservation objectives by helping private landowners overcome many of the challenges associated with wetland management in California. Approximately two-thirds of the managed wetlands in the Central Valley are privately owned, and many of these landowners are not trained in the science, policy or regulation of wetland management. In addition to guidance offered by CDFW biologists, landowners also receive an incentive payment following the successful implementation of work plans. The program offers $30 per acre for the management of seasonal wetlands ($60/acre in the Tulare basin) and $60 per acre for the management of semi-permanent wetlands statewide.

“Partnerships with private landowners, such as those developed through the California Waterfowl Habitat Program, are critical to ensuring our waterfowl and other wetland dependent species habitat objectives are met,” said CDFW’s Comprehensive Wetland Habitat Program Coordinator, Brian Olson. “We truly value the relationships developed with private landowners, and appreciate their efforts in helping provide for the needs of California’s fish and wildlife.”

Landowners have until Aug. 30 to apply. For more information on the program, or to submit an application, please visitwww.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/cwhp/private-lands-programs/waterfowl-habitat.

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Media Contacts: 
Brian Olson, CDFW Comprehensive Wetland Habitat Program, (916) 445-3486 
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

2019 Duck Stamp Art Contest Winners

Nebraska Artist Wins 2019 California Duck Stamp Art Contest

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A painting of northern pintails by Frank Dolphens, Jr. of Omaha, Neb. has been chosen as the winner of the 2019 California Duck Stamp Art Contest. The image will be the official design for the 2019-2020 stamp.

The contest judges praised the anatomical accuracy of Dolphens’s painting, as well as the accuracy of the habitat. They complimented the excellent body shape and the contrast between the subjects and the background, which seems to make the pintails “pop” off the canvas. The judges also appreciated the three-bird composition and the fact that both sexes were represented.

“I have always admired the northern pintail,” said Dolphens. “I am inspired by their mysticism and their colors and was anxious to enter this year’s contest to portray these characteristics in the painting. I wanted to present the pintails in a grouping to show the strength of their colors in a background setting that enhanced their features.”

Artists from around the country submitted entries for the contest, sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). John Nelson Harris of Groveland, Fla., placed second, Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Ind., placed third and Roberta Baer of Redding received honorable mention.

The top four paintings will be displayed at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s 49th Annual Classic Wildlife Art Festival, which is scheduled July 20-21 in Sacramento.

Since 1971, the California Duck Stamp Program’s annual contest has attracted top wildlife artists from around the country. The contest is traditionally open to artists from all 50 states in order to ensure a wide pool of submissions. All proceeds generated from stamp sales go directly to waterfowl conservation projects throughout California.

In the past, hunters were required to purchase and affix the stamp to their hunting licenses. Today, hunters are no longer required to carry the stamps because California’s modern licensing system prints proof of additional fees paid directly onto the license. However, CDFW still produces the stamps, which can be requested on CDFW’s website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps.

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Media Contacts:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8907

Melanie Weaver, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3717

Mallards in flight

CDFW Completes 2019 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed its annual waterfowl breeding population survey. Mallards, gadwall and cinnamon teal comprised 85 percent of ducks observed. The survey results included the following:

  • Total breeding ducks in the survey area decreased 14 percent from 2018 and are 14 percent below the long-term average.
  • Mallards – which were the most abundant species of ducks surveyed – decreased 12 percent from 2018 and are 28 percent below the long-term average.
  • Gadwalls increased eight percent from 2018 and are 29 percent above long-term average.
  • Cinnamon teal decreased 36 percent from 2018 and are 17 percent above long-term average.

According to Dan Skalos, a CDFW waterfowl program biologist, the decline was disappointing, given near-normal precipitation levels over the past two years. “It would have been nice to see higher numbers in the survey, but there may be some increases still ahead,” Skalos said. “The abundant rainfall we saw in May likely led to a longer nesting season and should contribute to better production going forward.”

Skalos also noted that while local waterfowl production should be better than the past few years, the decrease in wildlife-friendly agriculture (e.g. wheat and other annual crops that provide important nesting cover) in the Central Valley will limit long-term improvement of populations.

CDFW biologists and warden pilots have conducted this annual survey using fixed-wing aircraft since 1948. The population estimates are for the surveyed areas only, which include the majority of the suitable duck nesting habitat in the state. Surveyed areas include wetland and agricultural areas in northeastern California, throughout the Central Valley, the Suisun Marsh and some coastal valleys.

The 2019 California Survey was flown April 22-26 in the Central Valley and May 7-9 in northeastern California. Some of the scheduled transects in the northeastern stratum were not flown due to high winds, but the survey was 100 percent complete in the Central Valley and 95 percent complete in the northeast, for a total survey effort of 99 percent.

The full Breeding Population Survey Report can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/birds/waterfowl.

The majority of California’s wintering duck population originates from breeding areas surveyed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Alaska and Canada. Those survey results should be available in early August. CDFW survey information, along with similar data from other Pacific Flyway states, is used by the USFWS and the Pacific Flyway Council when setting hunting regulations for the Pacific Flyway states, including California.

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Media Contacts:
Dan Skalos, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3763
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988