Black bear cub in rehab

California Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers Receive Financial Support from the State

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is directing approximately $550,000 in grant funding to 45 nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation organizations to immediately support care for injured, sick and orphaned wildlife. The funds are made available from taxpayer contributions to the Native California Wildlife Rehabilitation Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund.

“California’s injured, sick and orphaned native wildlife need our help now more than ever,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “We are proud to quickly make funds available to help these important partner organizations operate during difficult economic times.”

In 2017, Assemblymember Marie Waldron’s Assembly Bill 1031 created the Native California Wildlife Rehabilitation Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund on the state’s income tax form, and thanks to taxpayers’ generosity, more than $820,000 has been donated as of October 2020.

“I am so pleased these organizations will receive the funding they desperately deserve,” Waldron said. “Without them, California’s wildlife would suffer, which would mean we all suffer.  I’m honored to have played a role in conserving California’s abundant natural beauty.”

In 2019, these 45 organizations collectively cared for nearly 112,000 orphaned or injured wild animals, including bats, opossums, skunks, raptors, reptiles, foxes, songbirds, fawns, sea birds, coyotes, bears and many other native species.

CDFW acted swiftly to stand up the new competitive grant program to support and advance the recovery and rehabilitation of injured, sick or orphaned wildlife and conservation education. Funds may be used to support activities such as operations and ongoing facility needs, innovation in animal care (e.g., wildlife rehabilitation techniques, enclosure designs, diet and behavioral enrichment), post-release monitoring and conservation education for the public.

“The California wildlife rehabilitation community is incredibly grateful for this much-needed support,” said Rachel Avilla, president of the California Council for Wildlife Rehabilitators Board of Directors. “While 2020 has certainly taken its toll on many small organizations, our commitment to helping wildlife remains strong as injured and orphaned animals continue to need our help daily. We want to thank Assemblymember Waldron and her team for pushing this landmark legislation through and CDFW for being an excellent ally. We are profoundly grateful for their continued collaboration and support to help care for California’s precious wildlife.”

Consistent with the legislation, eligible organizations were required to document their status as a nonprofit organization that operates a permitted wildlife rehabilitation facility, complies with all conditions of its Wildlife Rehabilitation Memorandum of Understanding, and maintains active participation in the Wildlife Rehabilitation Medical Database.

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Media Contact:
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 591-0140

Elkhorn Slough

Celebrate California Biodiversity Day 2020 by Exploring Nature, In Person or Online

California is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, with more than 30,000 species of insects, 6,500 plants, 650 birds, 220 mammals, 100 reptiles, 75 amphibians, 70 freshwater fish and 100 species of marine fish and mammals. We celebrate the unique diversity of living things found in our state, and encourage actions to protect them, on California Biodiversity Day, held Sept. 7 of each year. In 2020, the celebration coincides with Labor Day.

Although physical distancing restrictions and other COVID-19 precaution have prevented California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) ecological reserves and wildlife areas from planning the “open house” style celebrations that were hosted last year, where large groups of people could gather, CDFW staff across the state have created a roster of ways – both virtual and outdoors – for Californians to explore and learn about the biodiversity found on state lands. A master list of California Biodiversity Day events can be found at https://resources.ca.gov/biodiversityday2020.

This year’s virtual events, self-guided tours and outdoor opportunities lend themselves to physical distancing. The events will be held over the course of a week, from September 5-13, 2020.

A sampling of California Biodiversity Day 2020 events, many of which feature the use of the free iNaturalist app, include the following:

  • Take one of the many self-guided tours available at CDFW properties throughout the state. Use the iNaturalist app to learn and document any plants, animals or other organisms you encounter while exploring CDFW ecological reserves and wildlife areas.
  • Challenge yourself with a self-guided bioblitz at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Contribute observations of organisms spotted while exploring the park between September 5 and 13.
  • Play along in the bioblitz competition between Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Support your favorite park in their quest to log the highest number of bioblitz participants.
  • Play California Biodiversity Bingo! Download the California Academy of Science’s bingo card and see if you can find enough common species in your backyard or neighborhood to make a bingo.
  • Challenge your family to with a bioblitz at the greater Mono Lake area, including Lee Vining Canyon and Lundy Canyon. Share what you see, from bird nests to scat samples!
  • Get ideas for kid-friendly activities on the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History’s website. Learn about ways to engage kids at home in exploring and learning about biodiversity.
  • Venture out on a virtual scavenger hunt at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery. Walk along the Discovery Trail and try to find as many of the species on the list as you can!

Please visit the website for a full list of events and details.

All proposed in-person activities will take place outdoors and involve minimal contact between participants and any staff present, with a minimum physical distance of 6 feet from individuals from different households observed by all.

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Media Contacts:
Kim Tenggardjaja, CDFW Science Institute, (916) 704-3092
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its May 20, 2020 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $36.2 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 31 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.

Funding for these projects comes from a combination of sources including the Habitat Conservation Fund and bond measures approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources.

Funded projects include:

  • A $343,000 grant to The Nature Conservancy for a cooperative project with the National Park Service and the California Institute of Environmental Studies to restore approximately three acres of migratory bird breeding habitat on Anacapa Island in the Channel Islands National Park off the coast of Port Hueneme in Ventura County.
  • A $635,000 grant to the Trust for Public Land for a cooperative project with the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority and the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society to acquire approximately 22 acres of land for the protection of threatened and endangered species and riparian and floodplain habitat along the Santa Clara River and to provide the potential for wildlife-oriented, public-use opportunities near Acton in Los Angeles County.
  • A $1.3 million grant to Truckee Donner Land Trust to acquire in fee approximately 201 acres to preserve montane meadow, wildlife corridors and habitat linkages, and to provide wildlife-oriented, public-use opportunities near Truckee in Nevada County.
  • A $4.7 million grant to Tuolumne County for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), CAL FIRE, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Forest Service to enhance forest health and reduce hazardous fuels through selective thinning and replanting activities on approximately 6,434 acres of mixed conifer forest in the Tuolumne River watershed located in Stanislaus National Forest 20 miles east of Sonora in Tuolumne County.
  • A $1.25 million grant to Port San Luis Obispo Harbor District for a cooperative project with California State Parks to rehabilitate a pier and boat landing at Avila Pier located approximately eight miles northwest of Pismo Beach in San Luis Obispo County.
  • A $689,000 grant to Bolsa Chica Conservancy for a cooperative project with Signal Landmark, Pacific Life Foundation and CDFW to install new portable buildings for an interpretive center and construct educational features, an Americans with Disabilities Act accessible observation desk and restrooms in the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve approximately four miles northeast of Huntington Beach in Orange County.
  • A $10 million grant to Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority for a cooperative project with the Peninsula Open Space Trust and State Coastal Conservancy to acquire in fee approximately 235 acres of land to protect a critical linkage both for movement of wildlife and for species adaptation to climate change, and the protection of a natural floodplain located in Coyote Valley in Santa Clara County.
  • A $5 million grant to the Ventura County Watershed Protection District for a planning project that will complete final design plans for Matilija Dam removal and for three downstream levee construction/rehabilitation projects as essential components of the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project, a watershed-scale dam removal initiative and one of California’s largest dam removal efforts located five miles northwest of Ojai in Ventura County.

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

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Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, WCB, (916) 445-0137
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 817-0434

turkey vulture receiving veterinary treatment for poisoning

CDFW Reminds Veterinarians and Pet Owners to Properly Dispose of Animal Remains

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reaching out to veterinarians and owners of pets and livestock to remind them of the importance of properly disposing of the remains of chemically euthanized animals. CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory has recently confirmed the fourth known incident of secondary pentobarbital poisoning in a turkey vulture from Marin County.

The other three Marin County incidents, dating back to 2014, also involved turkey vultures that were suffering from secondary poisoning after consuming the remains of animals that were euthanized with sodium pentobarbital. CDFW has confirmed similar cases of poisoning in Ventura County in 2017 and Shasta County in 2018, also involving turkey vultures. In 2017, a bald eagle was also poisoned by pentobarbital in Fresno County.

Sodium pentobarbital is commonly used to humanely euthanize domestic animals such as dogs and cats, horses, goats, cattle, poultry and other livestock. The drug is quickly distributed throughout the animals’ body. Secondary poisoning of wildlife occurs when the animal remains are disposed of improperly and scavengers feed on the animal exposing them to the euthanasia drug.

Pentobarbital poisoning of wildlife is entirely preventable. Law requires that animals chemically euthanized with pentobarbital be cremated or buried at least 3 to 4 feet deep to prevent exposing scavenging wildlife to the euthanasia drug. Leaving a euthanized animal unburied in a field or landfill will put wildlife scavengers at risk of poisoning. Proper disposal of animal remains is the responsibility of the animal owner and veterinarian administering the drug.

Wildlife that have ingested pentobarbital-contaminated animal remains may appear dead. They often have no reflex response and breathing may be barely detectible. If treated promptly, turkey vultures have a fair chance of survival. The most recent turkey vulture was successfully treated and released by wildlife rehabilitation staff at WildCare in San Rafael. Unfortunately, given that several turkey vultures may feed on the same animal remains, it is possible additional vultures and other scavengers may have been similarly affected but not recovered.

Incidents and information about possible sources of poisoning may be reported to the CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory by phone at (916) 358-2790, by email at WILab@wildlife.ca.gov or online via the CDFW website.

If grounded birds are observed, please contact your local wildlife rehabilitation center.

For more information, please see the USFWS Fact Sheet “Secondary Pentobarbital Poisoning of Wildlife.”

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Media Contacts:
Krysta Rogers, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 531-7647
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714
Alison Hermance, WildCare, (415) 453-1000, ext. 24

 

Roadkill Still Illegal to Possess on Jan. 1, Despite Passage of the “Wildlife Traffic Safety Act”

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds the public it is still illegal to collect or possess roadkill animals and violators could face citation, even after Jan. 1, 2020. SB 395 – Chapter 869 (Archuleta), also known as the “Wildlife Traffic Safety Act,” was enacted with the intent to eventually make available for utilization the roadkill meat of deer, elk, pronghorn antelope or wild pig.

However, the legislative language does not permit the general public collection and utilization of roadkill animals, but rather authorizes development of a program for what the bill describes as “salvageable wild game meat.” Such a program is not yet in place, contrary to many news articles and social media traffic.

SB 395 only authorizes the California Fish and Game Commission to adopt regulations, in consultation with the California Department of Transportation, California Highway Patrol and the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, to establish such a salvageable wild game meat utilization program. It would mandate any such program to include a permit and a reporting process.

“Many Californians think it will be legal to possess and utilize roadkill on Jan. 1, which is the  technical effective date of the Wildlife Traffic Safety Act, but that’s not the case,” said  David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “There is no collection or utilization program in place. We are trying to avoid any confusion by misinformed citizens who think it is lawful to collect roadkill animals.”

In addition, SB 395 authorizes CDFW to create a roadkill reporting database to help wildlife managers identify the places where wildlife/vehicle collisions are most common. Data from such a reporting system could support wildlife conservation efforts conducted through regional conservation investment strategies. That program is also not yet in place. However, the University of California, Davis has a public reporting system called the California Roadkill Observation System (CROS) that is currently operational. Any citizen can contribute roadkill data and photos to CROS, either anonymously or as a registered user.

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Media Contacts:
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-6692

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988