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Topics - Hojoman

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Fish Talk / CDFW Releases 1 Million Chinook Salmon into San Pablo Bay
« on: June 14, 2024, 04:42:17 PM »
June 14, 2024

As the sun set over the San Pablo Bay June 10, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), joined by faculty, staff and students from the California State University Maritime Academy (Cal Maritime), released approximately 1 million fall-run Chinook salmon smolts from the Cal Maritime campus in Vallejo.

It was the first release of Chinook salmon from this location in almost four decades and among the final releases of hatchery fall-run Chinook salmon taking place in San Francisco and San Pablo bays this spring and summer.

“Expanding our partnerships with organizations like the California State University Maritime Academy is critical in ensuring fall-run Chinook salmon populations continue to rebuild from the recent drought years and other stressors such as thiamine deficiency,” said CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Jason Julienne. “Our hope is for these fish to contribute to harvest and inland spawning returns over the next several years.” 

CDFW has increased fall-run Chinook salmon production at its four Central Valley anadromous fish hatcheries in 2024. The increase in hatchery production aims to compensate for poor environmental conditions in recent years that have contributed to low salmon stocks and the closure of recreational and commercial salmon fishing seasons. In 2023 CDFW hatcheries raised and released just over 24 million fall-run Chinook salmon. In 2024 that number increased to almost 28 million fish.

Salmon smolts released from the Cal Maritime campus were hatched at the Feather River Fish Hatchery in Oroville. The young salmon were released well after sunset to minimize predation by birds. Twenty-five percent of the smolts carry coded-wire tags and their adipose fins are clipped to identify them as being of hatchery origin. The coded-wire tags will help CDFW scientists and hatchery managers evaluate the success of the release.

Cal Maritime is a specialized campus belonging to the California State University system that focuses on degrees promoting workforce development for ocean-facing careers.

“At Cal Maritime, we offer an exciting array of degree programs that engage the largest estuary on the West Coast,” stated Cal Maritime Interim President Mike Dumont. “This project lends perfectly to our oceanography curriculum and our upcoming fisheries course. We are honored to be able to support the work of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife through this partnership.”   

CA Regulations / CDFW no longer posting Q&A posts every two weeks
« on: June 08, 2024, 09:50:26 PM »
The last post was on May 3, 2024. CDFW decided there was not enough interest even though I told them that I provide all their posts to groups like NCKA. Their reaction was that they never considered distribution like ours. They are changing to QUARTERLY reports which will be sent through a newsletter via the license portal.

May 24, 2024

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) this week successfully completed the release of more than 2 million fall-run Chinook salmon smolts into the Klamath River.

On Wednesday, May 15, CDFW released approximately 1.3 million fall-run Chinook salmon smolts below the Iron Gate Dam and carried out another release of approximately 800,000 fish from the same location on Wednesday, May 22.

The salmon smolts were trucked about 7 miles to the release point from CDFW’s new, state-of-the-art Fall Creek Fish Hatchery. The fish carried coded-wire tags and had their adipose fins clipped to later identify them as being of hatchery origin and provide scientists and hatchery managers with data about their life histories and the success of the release.

Although still undergoing the final phases of construction, CDFW’s new Fall Creek Fish Hatchery, which replaces the 63-year-old Iron Gate Fish Hatchery on the Klamath River, has already exceeded its production goal of 3.25 million salmon in its first year of operation, the combined result of the excellent water quality in Fall Creek, a tributary to the Klamath River, along with improved efficiencies of the facility itself.

The salmon smolts are about six months old and average just under 3 inches in length. The smolt releases began earlier than scheduled last week due to warming temperatures in the Klamath Basin and C. Shasta disease concerns. C. Shasta – or Ceratonova shasta – is a naturally occurring freshwater parasite native to the Klamath River that can cause disease in young salmon. The fish are particularly susceptible in warmer water temperatures. Those concerns were alleviated this week, however, with a return of cooler temperatures to the Klamath Basin.

Dam removal provided a dramatic backdrop to CDFW’s salmon releases. The three remaining Klamath River dams targeted for removal – JC Boyle, Copco 1 and Iron Gate – are all being actively deconstructed. Their removal is ahead of schedule and could open up free fish passage and access to hundreds of miles of new spawning and rearing habitat to salmon returning from the ocean as early as this fall.

CDFW plans another release of  250,000 to 300,000 yearling fall-run Chinook salmon later this year. If dam removal proceeds at its current pace, CDFW expects to release the fish directly from its Fall Creek Fish Hatchery into Fall Creek, which has been inaccessible to salmon due to its location behind the Iron Gate Dam.

Dam removal, the transition to the state-of-the-art Fall Creek Fish Hatchery, increasing variability in hatchery releases at different salmon life stages to supplement in-river production and the strong relationships forged with tribal partners that have made these actions successful are all critical components of the California Salmon Strategy for a Hotter, Drier Future released by Gov. Gavin Newsom in January 2024.

May 24, 2024

With the 2024 closure of ocean salmon fisheries in California, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officials are reminding anglers of important rules relating to transport of salmon taken from Oregon into California.

In ocean waters any salmon taken in Oregon fisheries may not be brought to shore in California. However, it is legal for Californians to trailer their vessels to launch and fish from Oregon ports under applicable Oregon fishing licenses, regulations and reporting requirements. Salmon harvested in Oregon may be brought into California over land if also accompanied by a California Declaration for Entry Form. The declaration must be completed at or prior to the time of entry. After the time of entry, a copy of the completed declaration shall be submitted to CDFW within 24 hours.

On May 16, 2024, the National Marine Fisheries Service on advice from the Pacific Fishery Management Council and West Coast fisheries agencies, including CDFW, took in season action to implement a landing boundary at the Oregon/California border for recreational ocean salmon fisheries in Oregon waters just north of California. The new requirement states that any salmon taken under Oregon sportfishing regulations in the area between Humbug Mountain and the Oregon/California border, also known as the Oregon Klamath Management Zone, must be landed north of the Oregon/California border for the 2024 fishing season.

Regulations for ocean salmon fisheries off the West Coast were published May 21, 2024, in the  Federal Register under citation 89 FR 44553 and went into effect May 16, 2024. The regulations implement the closure of California’s ocean salmon fisheries for the remainder of 2024 as recommended last month by the Pacific Fishery Management Council. Pursuant to California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 1.95, ocean salmon sport fishing regulations in state waters automatically conform to federal regulations. More information about ocean salmon season closures and regulations can be found on CDFW’s ocean salmon web page at wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Salmon.

May 10, 2024

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has received increased reports of California brown pelicans, a fully protected species, stranded along the coast from Santa Cruz County south to San Diego County, since late April. Central and Southern California wildlife rehabilitation facilities began admitting an unusually high number of sick pelicans as reports were received.

The pelicans exhibit characteristics of emaciation, and some have secondary injuries. CDFW along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), wildlife rehabilitation facilities and other state partners are coordinating to assess the ongoing situation.

CDFW is conducting postmortem examinations and testing pelicans admitted to wildlife rehabilitation facilities. Preliminary results indicate that pelicans are succumbing to starvation related problems.

Stranding events have been documented to occur periodically along the California coast in a variety of seabird species. A similar pelican stranding event occurred in spring 2022 with nearly 800 pelicans admitted into wildlife rehabilitation facilities and 394 successfully returned to the wild.

Officials ask the public not to touch, harass, attempt to feed or take photographs with pelicans. Do not attempt to remove any fishing lines or embedded fishing hooks from entangled birds.

CDFW and agency partners will continue to track this stranding event.

How Can the Public Help?

 Report an injured or sick pelican:

1. Call your local wildlife rehabilitation facility ( https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Laboratories/Wildlife-Health/Rehab/Facilities?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery ).

2. Call your regional CDFW office ( https://wildlife.ca.gov/Regions?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery ).

Report a dead pelican:

1. Residents can report dead wildlife to CDFW’s Wildlife Health Laboratory using the mortality reporting form, which helps biologists monitor the event- please include photos if possible ( https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Laboratories/Wildlife-Health/Monitoring/Mortality-Report?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery )..

Support a local Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility:

Contact permitted facilities intaking brown pelicans directly for how to best assist.

May 7, 2024

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been detected for the first time in California’s deer and elk. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) received confirmation on May 6 samples collected from two deer, one in Madera County near Yosemite Lakes and the other in Inyo County, near Bishop. The deer in Madera County was found dead due to unknown causes and the Inyo County deer was found dead after a vehicle collision. 

CWD is a fatal neurologic disease in cervid animals such as deer, elk, moose and reindeer that has been detected in free-ranging cervids from 34 states, including California, and five Canadian provinces as well as Scandinavia. It affects the brain, causing progressive damage and eventually, death. There is no effective treatment or vaccine to combat this disease.

There appears to be no known link between CWD and human disease, although a similar prion animal disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease in cattle, has been linked to fatal disease in humans through the consumption of infected beef. As a result the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend keeping the agents of all known prion diseases from entering the human food chain (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chronic Wasting Disease). 

CDFW has been monitoring California elk and deer populations for CWD through lymph node sampling and testing since 2000, testing over 6,500 deer and elk, and has been working to increase surveillance efforts, with the help of hunters, taxidermists and meat processors since 2018.  

Clinical signs of the disease include progressive weight loss, clumsy movements and lack of coordination, listlessness, drooling, excessive thirst or urination and behavioral changes. Once these symptoms develop death occurs quickly. 

The disparate locations of these two detections indicates that CWD has probably been present in California for some time, since the incubation period can be months to years. 

“CWD infected animals can excrete infectious prions before clinical signs appear and these prions can persist in the environment for years, making it very difficult to prevent or control the spread once it has been introduced,” says, Dr. Brandon Munk, CDFW’s wildlife veterinarian who oversees CWD surveillance and response efforts. “The public can help limit the spread of CWD by reporting any signs of illness in deer and elk populations, and hunters should strongly consider testing their harvested deer or elk.”   

CDFW continues to provide surveillance, response, long-term management plans and public outreach and education through their “No Time to Waste” campaign to limit the spread. Hunters can assist in the efforts by voluntarily participating in CDFW’s statewide CWD surveillance and sampling efforts and encouraging other hunters to participate.

To report a sick deer or elk, go to https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Laboratories/Wildlife-Health/Monitoring/Mortality-Report?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

To learn more and find out how to get your cervid harvest tested, go to https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Laboratories/Wildlife-Health/Monitoring/CWD?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

CA Regulations / Children Accompanying on Hunts
« on: May 03, 2024, 03:08:35 PM »
May 3, 2024

Question: Is it possible to take a 5-year-old duck hunting in California?

Answer: Yes, it is legal to take your 5-year-old duck hunting in California. It is ultimately up to the parent or guardian to decide what age is appropriate to take their kids along on a hunt and at what age they are mature enough and have the reading comprehension skills necessary to take and pass hunter education. Many kids begin their hunter education journey between age 10 and 12. Before then, unlicensed youth observers are welcome into the field at any age.

If you are interested in introducing someone young to a lifelong skill like waterfowl hunting, starting them off in a positive and encouraging way is key. Here are some tips to consider. Bring properly fitting hearing protection for their size, consider purchasing or borrowing youth clothing that matches the conditions (including waders), bring sunscreen, snacks and quiet activities for the blind (like a photobook of birds they can seek out). Very young kids can also have fun with a duck or goose call.

It’s a good idea to commit to flexibility and the idea that you’re there to introduce a child to the activity and not the hunt itself. That usually means making shorter trips, adjusting to the conditions and stamina of the child and being willing to interrupt a hunt based on the attention span and needs of the child. A few questions to ask before making plans: Are they okay waking up early? How far of a walk and what terrain will be crossed to get to your blind? How will you keep them occupied while waiting for a blind on public refuges? Is it cold, dark and raining? How will you keep them engaged and safe while putting out your decoy spread? Will they need a life jacket or personal floatation device? Are they able to walk through water, mud and muck while keeping their balance? Another recommendation is to have them assist throughout the hunting experience. Have them hold the flashlight, help push the decoy cart or pull the sled, help them build a blind or brush in your pit or tank or even invite them into the pond with you to retrieve birds if they’re tall enough and strong enough to withstand the pond or water conditions and terrain. Remember, taking your kids out on their first hunting experience should be about the kids, not the hunt.

As a reminder, 12 is the minimum age to hunt big game in California. Youth hunters under the age of 12 may hunt:

1.  Ssmall game, like squirrels and rabbits ( https://wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Small-Game?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery )

2.  Upland game, such as turkeys and doves ( https://wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Upland-Game-Birds?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery )

3.  Waterfowl ( https://wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Waterfowl?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery ). A hunting license is required to hunt regardless of age. Some National Wildlife Refuges and state wildlife areas also have youth ponds available for licensed junior hunters. To find more information about youth ponds, visit the specific lands area or wildlife refuge webpage you wish to visit for more information.

CA Regulations / Mussel Fee Stickers for Boats
« on: May 03, 2024, 03:08:16 PM »
May 3, 2024

Question: I’m new to boating. Why do I need to purchase a mussel sticker?  

Answer: The mussel fee sticker supports quagga/zebra mussel infestation prevention efforts throughout the state to protect the environment, recreational access and the economy. CDFW and other agencies’ prevention efforts include outreach and education, early detection monitoring, installation and staffing of watercraft inspection stations and boat cleaning and decontamination stations.

DMV-registered vessels (boats) must display a current mussel fee sticker unless they are only used in marine coastal waters. Law enforcement can cite watercraft for not having the current decal, and marinas may deny launching vessels that do not display a current sticker.

The revenue generated from the sale of the stickers is administered by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW). The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handles the sticker purchase process, and CDFW provides biological expertise to support DBW’s grant program and supports water agencies in their development of mussel prevention programs.

The mussel fee sticker payment of $16 is available through the DMV or by visiting DMV field offices or AAA offices for members.

CA Regulations / Wolverine or Badger?
« on: May 03, 2024, 03:07:58 PM »
May 3, 2024

Question: I came upon a dead animal in Santa Barbara County that I first thought was a wolverine. It turned out to be a badger. Is that a common mistake?

Answer: From a distance it could be possible to make that mistake, but a closer look reveals the big differences between the two animals. First, wolverines are substantially larger, weighing up to 60 pounds, and can grow beyond three feet in length. Badgers are roughly two thirds the size of a wolverine and much lighter in weight. Wolverines have been described as looking like a combination of a bear and a dog, while badgers have shorter bodies and a distinctive white stripe running from their snout up and over its forehead.

Their habitats would also assist in identifying the animal. While badgers can be found living in deserts, grasslands and mountains, wolverines are fond of cold areas and are usually found in alpine settings.

Wolverines are also rare in California. The most recent wolverine sighting in California was in winter 2023 when what appeared to be the same animal, was spotted several times high in the Eastern Sierra. The previous confirmed wolverine sighting in California was in 2018. Prior to that, a wolverine hadn’t been seen in California since the 1920s.

CDFW appreciates sightings reported to the Wildlife Incident Reporting web site ( https://apps.wildlife.ca.gov/wir?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery ) or to regional offices, as the information can assist biologists in their research.

May 2, 2024

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham has closed the recreational razor clam fishery in Humboldt County following a recommendation from state health agencies determining that consumption of razor clams in the area poses a significant threat for domoic acid exposure.

Pseudo-nitzschia, a naturally occurring, single-celled marine alga, produces the potent neurotoxin domoic acid under certain ocean conditions. Bivalve shellfish, like clams and mussels, accumulate the toxin without being harmed. In fact, razor clams are known to bioaccumulate domoic acid, meaning it may not clear their system until long after the ocean conditions that caused it have abated.

Sampling of razor clams from Clam Beach in Humboldt County in late April (PDF) found clams exceeding the current federal action level for domoic acid of greater than or equal to 20 parts per million.

Domoic acid poisoning in humans may occur within minutes to hours after consumption of affected seafood and can result in signs and symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to permanent loss of short-term memory (Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning), coma or death. There is no way to prepare clams for consumption that will remove the toxin – cooking and freezing have no effect.

The recreational razor clam fishery in Del Norte County remains closed due to elevated levels of domoic acid. The closure, which began in November 2023, will remain in effect until state health agencies determine razor clams no longer pose a health risk. 

CDFW will continue to work with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to collect, monitor and analyze razor clams to determine when the recreational razor clam fishery can be reopened safely in these areas.

For more information on any fishery closure or health advisories, please visit: www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Health-Advisories.

Regulation changes include the following:

1.  A large number of groundfish regulation changes. Groundfish include many species of fish including rockfish, lingcod, greenlings, cabezon, and others.

2.  A change in purple sea urchin regulations.

3.  Complete Pacific halibut regulations.

April 23, 2024

Dog owners in California are reminded to take precautions to protect their pets from Salmon Poisoning Disease.

Salmon Poisoning Disease is a potentially fatal condition seen only in dogs after they eat certain types of raw or cold smoked fish like trout and salmon that are infected with a bacteria-like organism, Neorickettsia helminthoeca, which is transmitted by the parasitic flatworm (or “fluke”) Nanophyetes salmincola.

Nanophyetes salmincola occurs naturally in waters of northern California and most of the north state can be considered the native range for the fluke. But dogs throughout the state are susceptible. Dog owners are advised to be cautious and to keep their dogs away from salmon, steelhead, trout and other freshwater fish carcasses. The parasite cannot survive in cooked fish, is not harmful to humans and does not affect pets other than dogs.

If your dog has eaten or is suspected of eating raw fish, watch for signs of the disease. Symptoms are similar to distemper and may include some or all of the following: a rise in body temperature, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, listlessness and/or rapid weight loss. If signs of the disease appear, promptly take your dog to a veterinarian. Salmon Poisoning Disease is treatable if caught in time. If untreated, death usually occurs within two weeks of eating the infected fish. Without treatment, 90 percent of dogs showing symptoms die.

While all fish caught or originating from streams in California could potentially be infected, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) cautions that trout stocked in some waters in CDFW’s North Central Region are more likely to be infected with the flukes that cause Salmon Poisoning Disease.

Weekly fish stocking information is publicly available at CDFW’s Fish Planting Schedule web page at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FishPlants/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.

April 23, 2024

The California Fish and Game Commission acted on several issues affecting California’s natural resources at its April 17-18, meeting in San Jose.

The Commission approved a major amendment with special conditions as recommended by the Department of Fish and Wildlife to an experimental fishing permit related to pop-up gear testing in the Dungeness and rock crab fisheries.

Several Private Land Management (PLM) areas were approved for five-year or annual plans and one area was approved for their initial plan. More information on the PLM Program, including lists for hunters and applications can be found on the Department’s PLM website.

The Commission voted unanimously to readopt, for an additional 90 days, emergency regulations for the recreational take of white sturgeon to support recovering populations and to track fishing pressure and success.

A unanimous vote confirmed the Commission’s determination that listing Southern California steelhead as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act is warranted. Findings for the determination will be adopted at a future meeting.

The Commission adopted proposed amendments to waterfowl and mammal hunting regulations, which are expected to be effective June 30, and July 1, respectively.

A unanimous vote confirmed the Commission’s determination to list the Mohave desert tortoise as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. Findings for the determination will be adopted at a future meeting.

The Commission also hosted several speakers to recognize the 100-year anniversary of the extirpation of California’s grizzly bear, including Chairman Octavio Escobedo III of the Tejon Indian Ranch. A resolution recognizing the anniversary was adopted by the Commission, and two commissioners plan to provide an updated version in the future for Commission consideration.

The Department’s Director, Chuck Bonham, also announced the release of a Black Bear Conservation Plan for California. The public comment period is open, and comments must be made by June 14, 2024.

Commission President Samantha Murray, Vice President Erika Zavaleta, Commissioner Eric Sklar and Commissioner Darius Anderson participated in-person and were joined by a variety of Commission and Department staff.

The agenda for this meeting, along with supporting information, is available on the Commission website. Archived video of past Commission meetings is available online. The next California Fish and Game Commission meeting is scheduled for June 19-20, 2024, in Mammoth Lakes and via Zoom and phone. A location will be determined and updated on the Commission’s website soon.

CA Regulations / Habitat for Waterfowl
« on: April 19, 2024, 06:46:00 PM »
April 19, 2024

Question: As a duck hunter, I’m curious how the California Waterfowl Habitat Program works?

Answer: Also known as the Presley Program, named for the state senator who established the program, the California Waterfowl Habitat Program encourages private landowners to manage their land in accordance with management plans that are cooperatively developed between CDFW biologists and landowners and designed to benefit waterfowl and other wetland-dependent species of wildlife. In turn, those landowners get a personal wetland consultant for 10 years, and are paid $30 or $60 per acre per year for successfully managing habitat ($30 dollars for habitat that’s flooded during the fall and winter. $60 for habitat that’s flooded during the spring and summer). This program helps provide habitat for both birds that spend their winters in California, and birds and other wildlife that spend their entire life cycle in and around California’s wetlands.

“There’s a lot that goes into managing wetland habitat each year,” said CDFW Private Lands Biologist Andrew Greenawalt. “Spring and summer flooded wetlands require constant maintenance. In addition, fall and winter-flooded units need to be drawn down or dewatered at specific times and rates in the spring to provide habitat for staging migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. They also need to be irrigated in the spring and summer to boost the carrying capacity or number of birds those wetlands can support, and flooded up at the right time and depth during the winter to ensure those resources are available to birds when they need them. Presley is designed to offset some of those management costs for landowners”

It was the voter-approved Proposition 68 in 2018 that continued funding for the California Waterfowl Habitat (Presley) Program, and it continues to be extremely popular with landowners. Over 70 properties are currently enrolled in the program throughout the state, and well over 100 more are on the waiting list to apply for the program the next time the Department has a solicitation. Since 1987 the Presley Program has boosted habitat in the Central and Sacramento valleys by more than 50 thousand acres.

More information on the California Waterfowl Habitat Program is available at https://wildlife.ca.gov/Lands/WCP/Private-Lands-Programs.

CA Regulations / Hunting Blinds
« on: April 19, 2024, 06:45:26 PM »
April 19, 2024

Question: Is it legal to set up and hunt mule deer from a hunting blind in California?

Answer: Yes, it is lawful to hunt deer from a blind. Setting up a hunting blind for deer hunting is a common strategy, whether a ground blind or a tree-stand. A hunting blind is a tent-like construction that camouflages the hunter and allows the animal to come into view and, eventually, within range for a clear shot. Hunting blinds take many forms, and some are permanent while others are portable. Some are on the ground, while more expensive blinds are elevated with legs, and require a ladder to enter. Hunters are encouraged to be considerate of their surroundings and remove any blind that’s been built or brought to the area when their hunt is completed. The full set of regulations for deer and all mammal hunting can be found at https://wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Deer#54775-regulations.

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