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Conservation News


Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Stream Flow Enhancement Projects
Stream Flow Enhancement Projects

Posted: 22 Mar 2018 04:43 PM PDT
At a March 22 meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $33.1 million in grants for 22 projects to enhance stream flows to benefit fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. The Legislature appropriated funding for these projects as authorized by the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1). A total of $200 million was allocated to the WCB for projects that enhance stream flow.
A total of $38.4 million including $5 million designated for scoping and scientific projects allocated to the WCB for expenditure in Fiscal Year 2017/18 for the California Stream Flow Enhancement Program. Projects were chosen through a competitive grant process, judged by the WCB, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the State Water Resources Control Board. Guided by the California Water Action Plan, funding is focused on projects that will lead to direct and measurable enhancements to the amount, timing and/or quality of water for anadromous fish; special status, threatened, endangered or at-risk species; or to provide resilience to climate change.

Funded projects include:
* A $4.8 million grant to The Wildlands Conservancy for a project to enhance stream flow on Russ Creek by reestablishing channel alignment to provide continuous summer base flows suitable for fish passage. The project is located on the southern portion of the Eel River Estuary Preserve in Humboldt County, approximately four miles west of Ferndale.

* A $693,408 grant to the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District for the purpose of dedicating a portion of the District's diversion water rights to instream flow use that will benefit fish and wildlife by increasing habitat for salmonids and special status species in the Mad River. The project is located on the main-stem Mad River in the Mad River Watershed with releases coming from Matthews Dam at Ruth Reservoir, approximately 48 miles southeast of Eureka and 53 miles southwest of Redding.

* A $726,374 grant to Mendocino County Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to reduce summer diversions and dry season stream flows for the benefit of Coho salmon and steelhead trout. The Navarro River watershed is located approximately 20 miles south of Fort Bragg.

* A $5 million grant to the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency for a cooperative project with the Department of Water Resources and CDFW, to improve roughly 7,500 linear feet of existing channels to connect isolated ponds. This will provide fish refuge and eliminate potential stranding. This project's design was funded by the Stream Flow Enhancement Program in 2016. The project site is within the Sacramento River watershed and is less than one mile southwest of the town of Oroville, on the east side of the Feather River.

* $609,970 grant to the University of California Regents for a cooperative project with the University of Nevada, Reno and the Desert Research Institute, to expand monitoring, scientific studies and modeling in the Tahoe-Truckee Basin. The results will guide watershed-scale forest thinning strategies that enhance stream flow within an area that provides critical habitat for threatened species. The project is located in the central Sierra Nevada mountain range, primarily on National Forest lands in the Lake Tahoe Basin and Tahoe National Forest.

* A $851,806 grant to the Sonoma Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with the Coast Ridge Community Forest and 29 landowners, to install rainwater harvesting tanks and enter into agreements to refrain from diverting stream flow during dry seasons. The project area consists of 29 properties within the coastal Gualala River, Russian Gulch and Austin Creek watersheds, which discharge to the Pacific Ocean approximately 40 miles northwest of Santa Rosa.

* A $5.3 million grant to the Alameda County Water District for a cooperative project with the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, California Natural Resources Agency, State Coastal Conservancy and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to modify flow releases in Alameda Creek and construct two concrete fish ladders around existing fish passage barriers. This will provide salmonids access to high value habitat upstream of the project location, approximately 17 miles north of San Jose and 22 miles southeast of Oakland.

* A $3.9 million grant to The Nature Conservancy for a cooperative project with U.C. Santa Barbara and the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy to remove approximately 250 acres of the invasive giant reed (Arundo donax), which will save approximately 2,000 acre-feet of water annually for the Santa Clara River. The project is located in unincorporated Ventura County approximately two miles east of the city of Santa Paula and three miles west of the city of Fillmore, along the Santa Clara River.


The CWC grant is funded! Six California Organizations Among 2018 George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar Education Fund Grantees
Submitted by Dennis Davie, from Cal Fish and Wildlife Department

Six California non-profit organizations have been awarded funds to provide fishing programs for Hispanic youth and families. A total of $53,207 in grants was awarded by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) through the George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar Education Fund. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will match the grant funds,effectively bringing the total amount of funding to $106,414.
To be eligible for funding, proposals were required to encourage family participation (both genders and multiple generations), appeal to participants who live in metropolitan communities, be ethnically inclusive (open to families of all races and ethnicities) and provide hands-on experiences and conservation activities.
Latinos are California's largest ethnic population, with almost 15 million people of Hispanic heritage. Yet only a fraction of California's anglers are Hispanic.
CDFW and RBFF are finding new ways to educate and engage Hispanic communities in fishing and boating activities. These grants were made available for programs that support this cause. Projects approved for funding include:

Captain Rollo's Kids at Sea
Friends of Rollo will hold three marine-awareness fishing trips for children who might not otherwise have such opportunities to witness the beauty and splendor of being on the ocean. Youth are provided on-the-water fishing and ocean conservation education where they learn about coastal ecosystems. Friends of Rollo focuses on serving disadvantaged, physically challenged and at-risk youth.

Coastal Watershed Council
The Coastal Watershed Council will partner with community centers and conservation organizations to reintroduce the San Lorenzo River and the fish that call it home to neighboring communities through the sport of fly fishing. The Coastal Watershed Council will engage Latino families who live near the river and invite them to participate in the Dìa de Pescar, a fly fishing clinic along the river.
The council will also teach after school program participants how to fly fish.

Daniel Hernandez Youth Foundation
The Daniel Hernandez Youth Foundation will partner with local and state organizations, cities and communities to provide outdoor activities for underserved and minority youth. Kids are paired with volunteers to learn basic fishing skills and marine and conservation sciences in classroom and outdoor settings. The foundation will also coordinate free youth fishing events open to the public at various inner-city lakes throughout the year.

Hispanic Access Foundation
The Daniel Hernandez Youth Foundation will partner with local and state organizations, cities and communities to provide outdoor activities for underserved and minority youth. Kids are paired with volunteers to learn basic fishing skills and marine and conservation sciences in classroom and outdoor settings. The foundation will also coordinate free youth fishing events open to the public at various inner-city lakes throughout the year. The Hispanic Access Foundation will hold four fishing outings for families in Los Angeles and San Diego during Latino Conservation Week and Hispanic Heritage Month. In each city, fishing events will provide an educational outing to a nearby fishing spot to participate in a hands-on fishing and aquatic stewardship educational experience.

Trout Unlimited South Coast
Trout Unlimited South Coast will provide fishing days and guidance with development of fishing skills on the natural bottom sections of the Los Angeles River. The events will focus on the concepts behind fishing, the equipment necessary for a successful fishing adventure and actual hands-on river fishing experience.

Tuolumne River Trust
The Tuolumne River Trust will coordinate several activities designed to educate, excite and motivate participants by exposing families to a variety of fishing techniques and locations. The trust will also hold a youth fishing activity station at the first annual Modesto Recreation Festival.

Grant funding was made a=vailable through the George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar Education Fund, which supports RBFF's Hispanic initiative, Vamos A Pescar. The Education Fund allows state agencies to provide sub-grants to local 501(c)(3) organizations with project ideas that support efforts to keep future generations educated about the joys of fishing and boating and the importance of conservation. With the help of donations from companies and organizations, the Education Fund has continued to grow and expand nationally.

Contact: Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach - (916) 651-7824


Nimbus Basin will be Closed to all Fishing as of March 2018
Nimbus Basin on American River Closed

Posted: 28 Feb 2018 10:14 AM PST
The Nimbus Basin on the lower American River will permanently close to all fishing as of March 1, 2018, as per fishing regulations amended by the Fish and Game Commission in December 2017.
The closure will take effect from Nimbus Dam on the lower American River to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) gauging station cable crossing approximately one-half mile downriver (California Code of Regulations Title 14, sections 7.50(b)(5)(A)and (B).
Under current regulations, the American River from Nimbus Dam to the Hazel Avenue bridge piers is open to fishing all year (CCR Title 14, section 7.50(b)(5)(A)), and from the Hazel Avenue bridge piers to the USGS gauging station cable crossing about 300 yards downstream from the Nimbus Hatchery fish weir from Jan. 1 through Aug. 15 (section 7.50(b)(5)(B)).
Closure of the Nimbus Basin to fishing is part of the Nimbus Hatchery Fish Passage Project, which involves reorienting the hatchery's fish ladder into the Nimbus Basin and removing the existing fish weir. This project will create and maintain a reliable system of collecting adult salmon and steelhead broodstock for the hatchery and increase the amount of natural spawning and rearing habitat available in the lower American River.
The changes will also minimize American River flow fluctuations associated with installation and removal of the hatchery's weir and eliminate health and safety concerns relative to the deterioration of the existing weir structure. The new spawning habitat opened up by the permanent removal of the weir will improve juvenile salmon production and increase harvest opportunities downstream.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife completed a joint Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIR/EIS) for the Nimbus Hatchery Fish Passage Project in 2011. Planning is currently underway and construction is scheduled to begin in federal fiscal year 2019. The EIR/EIS is available for download from www.usbr.gov/mp/ccao/hatchery.


CDFW Trout Hatcheries Announce Angling Opportunities for "Trophy Trout" in 2018
Trophy Trout Opportunities

Posted: 28 Feb 2018 10:27 AM PST
Every year, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) trout hatcheries release trophy-sized trout to approved waters for public recreational angling and a chance to catch a big one! Trophy trout are categorized by CDFW as larger than 2.99 pounds each, but can be much larger. Another category of large trout released by CDFW each year is a "super-catchable" which are fish between 1.1 and 2.99 pounds each.
Some of these large fish are raised specifically to provide public anglers with a chance to catch a big one, and others are released to approved waters once they have fulfilled their role in providing fertilized eggs for populating fish of all life stages in CDFW's statewide program of trout hatcheries.
Trophy and super-catchable trout require more resources than catchable-size trout. Younger trout (fingerling to catchable size) grow quickly and efficiently convert fish food to body size, and that efficiency drops with age. By weight, 93 percent of all trout released by CDFW trout hatcheries are in the "catchable" size category (most often 1/2 pound fish, or approximately 12 inches in length). In 2018, approximately 100,000 pounds of trout released for public recreational angling will be in the trophy or super-catchable size.

The following locations are scheduled for trophy and super-catchable size trout releases in 2018:
Northern Releases:
Hat Creek, Shasta County (late April to early May)
Burney Creek, Shasta County (late April to early May)
Baum Lake, Shasta County (late April to early May)
Iron Canyon Reservoir, Shasta County (May)
Browns Pond, Modoc County (May)
Rainbow Pond, Modoc County (May)
Ash Creek, Lassen County (May)
Shasta Lake, Shasta County (May through August)
Lake Siskiyou, Siskiyou County (May through August)
Juanita Lake, Siskiyou County (May through June)

North Central Releases:
Red Lake, Alpine County (May)
Indian Creek Reservoir, Alpine County (May)
Sawmill Pond (children’s fishing pond), El Dorado County (May)
Pillsbury Reservoir, Lake County: (May)
Various locations for Kid’s Fishing Day events (November through May)

Central Releases:
Kern River, Tulare County (February through April)
Kings River, Fresno County (January through April)
Stanislaus River, Tuolumne County (June and July)
Pinecrest Lake, Tuolumne County (June and July)
Shaver Lake, Fresno County (February through March)

South Coast Releases
Pyramid Lake, Los Angeles County (November through May)

Inland Deserts Releases:
35 waters in Inyo and Mono counties, including but not limited to Bishop Creek, Bridgeport Reservoir, Convict Lake, Diaz Lake, Ellery Lake, the June Lake Loop, Lake Sabrina, Lee Vining Creek, Lundy Lake, the Mammoth Lakes, the Owens River, Pleasant Valley Reservoir, Twin Lakes Bridgeport, Rock Creek Lake, Saddlebag Lake, South Lake, Tioga Lake, Virginia Lakes and the West Walker River (March through September) Silverwood Lake, San Bernardino County (November through May).
Trophy fish are regularly added to weekly plants of regular sized "catchable" fish in Inyo and Mono counties. The trophy sized fish are tagged for identification as originating from CDFW hatcheries and released to approved waters determined to have the ability to sustain the larger fish. Trophy fish will be stocked in Diaz Lake for the early trout opener and in Pleasant Valley Reservoir and in Owens River Section II for the Blake Jones Derby. Trophy fish have been stocked in Pleasant Valley Reservoir, Owens River Section II, Owens River below Tinemaha and Diaz Lake since January and these waters will continue to receive trophy fish over the next few months.
Updated information on trophy and super-catchable trout releases for recreational angling is released early each calendar year and will be posted to the CDFW fish stocking website (nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FishPlants). Anglers can also call the following lines for region-specific information: Northern Region: (530) 225-2146; North Central Region: (916) 351-0832; Central Region: (559) 243-4005, ext. 183; South Coast Region: (855) 887-1275; Inland Deserts Region: (855) 887-1275.
nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FishPlantsCDFW trout hatcheries are dedicated to providing millions of additional trout angling opportunities in approved, public waters throughout the state every year, using the best available science, and ecological, hatchery and resource management principles.