Monthly Archives: March 2014

California Outdoor News Recreational Ocean Salmon Season to Open South of Horse Mountain on April 5

Ten anglers stand in a row at ocean's edge, fishing for salmon.

Anglers fish for salmon from shore. H. Guy Smith/CDFW photo

The California Fish and Game Commission and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announce the recreational salmon season will open in ocean waters on Saturday, April 5, 2014, from Horse Mountain (40° 05’ 00” N. latitude) south to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Federal fishery biologists estimate roughly 934,000 fall-run Chinook salmon will be in California coastal waters through the summer. Though lower than last year’s estimate, there are still plenty of fish to allow for significant angling opportunities for salmon enthusiasts in all areas off California.

The daily bag limit will remain at two Chinook salmon but the Commission recently took action to change the salmon possession limit. Two daily bag limits are now allowed in possession when on land; however, when on a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit.

The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length between Horse Mountain and Point Arena (38° 57’ 30” N. latitude). For areas south of Point Arena, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length. For anglers fishing north of Point Conception (34° 27’ 00” N. latitude), no more than two single-point, single-shank barbless hooks shall be used and no more than one rod per angler when fishing for salmon or fishing from a boat with salmon on board. In addition, barbless circle hooks are required when fishing with bait by any means other than trolling. The retention of coho salmon is prohibited in all ocean fisheries. For complete ocean salmon regulations in effect during April, please visit CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/oceansalmon.asp or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429.

Final 2014 ocean salmon regulations will be decided next month by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) during their April 4-10 meeting in Vancouver, Wash. and by the Commission at their April 16-17 meeting in Ventura. Final sport regulations will be published in the CDFW 2014 Supplemental Fishing Regulations booklet available in May at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations.

Three alternatives are being considered for California’s recreational ocean salmon seasons that will begin on or after May 1. The public is encouraged to comment on any of the proposed alternatives, which can be found at the PFMC website at www.pcouncil.org.

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ODFW Traps Additional Problem Cougars In Area Of Eugene City Park

ODFW has trapped and euthanized a second problem cougar adjacent to Hendricks City Park in Eugene. A trap remains set for a third cougar believed to still be in the area.

Last week, after a landowner’s goats and chickens were killed by a cougar, ODFW trapped and euthanized an adult female cougar. While the female was not lactating and did not have kittens, wildlife biologists routinely look for young cougars whenever a female is trapped.

Two days after the adult female was captured, biologists discovered fresh cougar tracks at the location of the livestock damage.  A cage trap was set and a 40-pound young male was trapped late last week and euthanized today.

A trail camera also revealed the presence of second young cougar.  This second cougar entered the empty coop where the chickens had been killed last weekend. A trap will remain set for several days should the second young cougar return to this area.

ODFW regularly places cougar kittens in zoos and other Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited facilities thanks to our partnership with the Oregon Zoo in Portland. However, ODFW State Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Colin Gillin observed the cougar’s behavior in captivity and believes the cougar was not a good candidate for captivity.

“Cougars at this age are already accustomed to living in the wild and are not good candidates for captive environments,” explained Gillin.

Under Oregon Revised Statute 498.012, landowners experiencing damage may kill the offending cougar without a permit from ODFW. In this situation, ODFW was concerned not just about livestock damage but about potential pet and human safety issues due to the cougars’ proximity to the city park.

“These cougars were living in an area of high public use and were hunting near residences and structures,” said Brian Wolfer, ODFW district wildlife biologist in Springfield. “Further, although the landowner had a legal right to shoot the cougars,  the property’s proximity to the park raised concerns that shooting might not be safe.

Hikers and other park users should remember to keep their dogs on a leash, as the remaining cougar could still be in the area,” added Wolfer.

ODFW does not relocate cougars, as relocation would create territorial conflicts among existing cougar populations and could also spread disease. Further, ODFW would not relocate a cougar killing livestock, as the cougar is likely to repeat this behavior elsewhere.

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ODFW launches interactive mapping tool for Oregon’s crucial fish and wildlife habitats

SALEM, Ore.—The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife today launched its Centralized Oregon Mapping Products and Analysis Support System, Compass, an online mapping system that provides an overview of crucial fish and wildlife habitats across the state. Crucial habitats are places on the landscape that provide the natural resources critical to fish and wildlife species.

The Compass map can be accessed via the ODFW website. It is free and available to anyone who is interested. Designed to help users make informed land use decisions as they plan energy, transportation, industrial, habitat and other projects, the maps and analysis tools are easy to use.

“Compass will save time and money as planners now have the GIS data they need at the beginning of a project,” said Holly Michael, ODFW Conservation Policy Coordinator. “For example, they will be able to see deer and elk wintering areas; high-value wetlands; threatened and endangered species; highways and railroads; sage-grouse core areas and much more.”

“The habitat data in Compass will allow large-scale energy developers to evaluate the proposed location of their facility before expending a lot of resources,” said Todd Cornett, Oregon Department of Energy Siting Division Administrator. “And, it will be very helpful in our evaluation of the natural resource portion of development applications.”

Susan Haupt, ODOT, Chief Environmental Officer and Environmental Section Manager, is an advocate of Compass. “We’re excited about test driving this new tool. It’s definitely a step in the right direction as we are always looking to improve our planning and project development processes to better align decisions with ecological values,” she said. “Fiscal and environmental stewardship continue to be critical drivers, and tools like these support better all-around outcomes.”

Compass incorporates data sets from a number of partners including The Wetland Conservancy, Institute for Natural Resources, Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon Geospatial Enterprise and United States Geological Survey. Conservation Opportunity Areas as identified in the Oregon Conservation Strategy are included.

Compass is part of a 16-state map

Compass was developed in cooperation with the Western Governors’ Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT), which launched in December 2013. CHAT provides a regional view of fish and wildlife habitat. The 16-state map, which includes Oregon, California, Washington, Idaho and Nevada, is available on the Western Governors’ website.

Compass, http://www.dfw.state.or.us/maps/compass/index.asp
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, http://www.dfw.state.or.us/

Fish and wildlife photos available on ODFW’s Flickr site, http://www.flickr.com/photos/odfw/collections/

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Two-pole rule to begin early for salmon and steelhead at Drano Lake

Action: Drano Lake anglers with a two-pole endorsement will be allowed to use two poles for salmon and steelhead beginning May 1.

Species affected: Chinook and steelhead

Effective dates: May 1 through June 30, 2014 (except closed to all fishing on Wednesdays during this period).

Location: Drano Lake downstream of markers on point of land downstream and across from Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery and upstream of the Hwy. 14 Bridge.

Other information: Anglers with a two-pole endorsement may fish for salmon and steelhead with two poles. When fishing for sturgeon or other species, only one pole per angler may be used.

All other permanent rules apply.

Reason for action: The 2014 Drano Lake spring chinook returns are expected to be similar to the recent 5 year average and almost twice last year’s actual return. Surplus hatchery origin fish are available for harvest.

Information contact: (360) 696-6211. For the latest information, press *1010.

Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW “Fishing in Washington” rules pamphlet for details on fishing seasons and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call (360)796-3215 or toll free 1-866-880-5431.

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California Streamlines Domestic Water Tank Storage Process In Response To Drought

As the unprecedented drought continues in California, a number of the state’s coastal rivers and streams are in danger of reaching critically low stages later this summer, threatening rural drinking water supplies. But plans are now in place to assist landowners that store water for use later in the season through a state program.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) announced today that they will expedite approval for the installation of storage tanks by landowners who currently divert water from these important rivers and streams. The action comes under the State Water Board’s Small Domestic Use (SDU) registration program.

Installing tanks to divert and store water when flows are higher will help improve rural water supply reliability and fire safety while also relieving pressure for in-stream diversions during the drier months when fish need it most.

The State Water Board has an existing statewide registration program for domestic use of water, allowing home water uses such as drinking and fire protection. These small domestic registrations must comply with general conditions from the State Water Board and typically receive project specific conditions from CDFW.

Landowners eligible for the SDU program currently can request approval to divert to storage. However, this can be a lengthy process requiring site-specific evaluations that address in-stream and habitat needs.

With today’s action, CDFW has essentially “pre-approved” the installation of storage tanks that meet the general criteria. The State Water Board has agreed to incorporate these criteria as conditions of approval, and to expedite the issuance of the registrations. This action will result in the collection of water during any upcoming precipitation events, taking advantage of higher flows, and using the stored water later in the season when there may be little to no water available.

Some of these water tanks can provide months of storage to meet domestic water supply needs.

“We have been working in these coastal communities for many years, and have good reason to believe that these emergency changes are going to be welcomed,” said Charlton H. Bonham, Director of CDFW. “Many landowners who have wanted to take these steps can do so now more quickly with greater regulatory certainty from our department.”

This action is designed to capture water when it is raining and right after rain events. It is not designed to expand any applicant’s existing water right or amount of diversion. Capturing rain when it falls from the sky and storing it for use later can also help reduce the impacts to fish and wildlife from diverting water from streams during the driest times of the summer. Today’s action was the direct result of suggestions made by local communities and fish conservation organizations such as Trout Unlimited, Mattole River Sanctuary Forest and the Salmonid Restoration Federation.

“The drought is going to be really hard for fish and wildlife as well as agriculture and people,” said State Water Board Executive Officer Tom Howard. “CDFW and the State Water Board are open to any solution from any corner of the state on how to make it through these tough times together.”

Expedited permitting is available to applicants that meet all of the criteria set forth in the program. SDU program eligibility can be found at http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/registrations/.

Eligible parties are those that are already diverting from a stream under a riparian basis of right in CDFW Regions 1 or 3. The party should be diverting for domestic and fire protection use only, and has or will install a rigid style water storage tank. The storage tank should be big enough in size to store at least 60 days of water supply for the house.

Parties who are eligible will need to accept the general CDFW conditions, most importantly that they will use the stored water as a substitute for withdrawing additional water during the summer when flows are lowest. The State Water Board will expedite processing of registration forms where the party meets the CDFW eligibility criteria.

This will help protect fish during periods of low stream flow, especially this year with the drought conditions.

With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. The Governor signed legislation to immediately help communities deal with the devastating dry conditions affecting our state and to provide funding to increase local water supplies after it was passed with bipartisan support in the legislature.

Governor Brown met with President Obama about crucial federal support during the ongoing drought, and the state continues to work with federal partners to ensure coordinated drought monitoring and response. Governor Brown and the administration have also expressed support for federal legislation introduced by Senators Feinstein and Boxer and Representatives Jim Costa, Tony Cárdenas and Sam Farr.

Across state government, action is being taken. The Department of General Services is leading water conservation efforts at state facilities, and the California State Architect has asked California school districts and Community Colleges to act on the Governor’s call to reduce water usage. The Department of Transportation is cutting water usage along California’s roadways by 50 percent. Caltrans has also launched a public awareness campaign, putting a water conservation message on their more than 700 electronic highway signs.

In January, the state took action to conserve water in numerous Northern California reservoirs to meet minimum needs for operations impacting the environment and the economy, and recently the Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced they would seek the authority to make water exchanges to deliver water to those who need it most. The State Water Resources Control Board announced it would work with hydropower generators and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to preserve water in California reservoirs, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Fish and Game Commission restricted fishing on some waterways due to low water flows worsened by the drought.

The state is working to protect local communities from the dangers of extreme drought. The California Department of Public Health identified and offered assistance to communities at risk of severe drinking water shortages and is working with other state and local agencies to develop solutions for vulnerable communities. CAL FIRE hired additional firefighters and is continuously adjusting staffing throughout the state to help address the increased fire threat due to drought conditions. The California Department of Food and Agriculture launched a drought website to help farmers, ranchers and farmworkers find resources and assistance programs that may be available to them during the drought.

Even as the state deals with the immediate impacts of the drought, it’s also planning for the future. In 2013, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and CDFA released the California Water Action Plan, which will guide state efforts to enhance water supply reliability, restore damaged and destroyed ecosystems and improve the resilience of our infrastructure.

Governor Brown has called on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20 percent, and the Save Our Water campaign launched four public service announcements encouraging residents to conserve and has resources available in Spanish. Last December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations and California’s preparedness for water scarcity. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water.

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Big Rainbows Biting At Potholes Reservoir

Joe Pulzer of Everett, with two rainbow trout up to 24 inches.  These were caught using Berkley Power Eggs on the shores of MarDon Resort.

Joe Pulzer of Everett, with two rainbow trout up to 24 inches. These were caught using
Berkley Power Eggs on the shores of MarDon Resort.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 3/12/2014

Heavy rains and a muddy Umpqua River have combined to keep the fishing pressure directed at spring chinook somewhat in check. Springers have been caught on both the Rogue and Umpqua rivers and both rivers are projected to have good runs – but fishing duccess depends so much on river conditions when the springers are moving through.

Oregon no longer holds the Columbia River record for heaviest walleye. The 19 pound 15.25 ounce jumbo walleye taken near the John Day Dam in 1990 was toppled by a 20.32 pound walleye taken neat McNary Dam by John Grubenhoff.

Idaho’s Cascade Reservoir continues to put out Idaho state record yellow perch. The latest record weighed two pounds 11.68 ounces. It was caught by  Tia Marie Wiese only 13 days after Lucas Spaete pulled the previous record, a two pound 11 ouncer from the same reservoir.

A mackinaw weighing more than 52 pounds was caught by Minnesota angler Rob Scott while icefishing Ontario’s Lac la Croix. However, Scott’s fish was invalidated as a world record for a mackinaw taken via tip up even though the fish, at 45 inches and 52 pounds 3 ounces was nearly twice as heavy as the current record for a mackinaw or lake trout taken through the ice while using a tip up.

The path to Scott’s record invalidation started with him and his fishing partner being checked earlier that morning by fisheries enforcement personnel. At that time, Scott had caught and kept a four pound mackinaw and the Ontario daily limit is one mackinaw.

What’s interesting, though, is how the 65-year-old U.S. Navy veteran was caught.

After landing the giant trout, he gave the 4-pound trout to another angler, and toted the big fish back to Minnesota via snowmobile. He had only one trout in possession, and seemed home free.

But two officers with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources had checked Scott’s fishing license on February 8, before he landed the 52-pounder. They had noticed the 4-pound trout.

It was not until one of the officers saw a newspaper report on the monster catch, however, that he recalled his encounter with Scott, and making note of the 4-pound trout.

The officers contacted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which helped track down Scott and his fish, which was being stored by a taxidermist. The fish was scheduled to be delivered by the DNR to the MNR, where it would be stored as evidence.

Late last week the Minnesota Star Tribune quoted Scott as saying there was nothing malicious about his actions, and that he was not trying to hide anything.

“I called the Ontario officers and said I owed them an apology,” Scott said. “It wasn’t illegal for me to keep fishing after I caught the first trout. But when I caught the bigger fish, with the adrenaline and everything I had going, and the fact that it wasn’t going to survive if I released it, I figured if I gave the smaller fish away, that would be OK.”

Scott explained that the big trout probably would have died if it’d had been released, because of the prolonged struggle.

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Winchester Bay Man Wins National Travel Story Contest

I would like to congratulate longtime Reedsport/Winchester Bay resident Eric Boe for winning  an all expenses paid trip for two.
to virtuallky anywhere in the United States, Canada or Mexico. Eric won the trip for submitting the winning travel story in a contest held by and open to the employees of Crowley Maritime Services, a huge company that provides tugboat and towing services all over the world – and a company that Eric has been employed by for several decades in various capacities, including his current rank of captain.

While Eric has not yet decided where to take his wife Janet, they are considering a visit to Washington DC, which should give them a chance to see both apple blossums and their daughter “Maddie”.

Here’s Eric”s trip-winning story in his own words.

“This incident occurred many years ago, and all of the characters, save me, have long since crossed over to the far side of the Jordan. “Which leaves me feeling a little like Ishmael: Alone to tell the tale”.

September and October are frequently very warm months in the San Francisco Bay Area. And that year, thirty some years ago, was no exception. We had de-crewed a tug on San Francisco’s Embarcadero and had loaded all our sea bags into the van that was to take us to the airport. Leaving the Embarcadero just as rush hour traffic was starting to back up, we were soon caught in the snarl of crawling vehicles. Needless to say that by the time we got to the airport, our flights had long since departed and new flights would have to be booked. The hours crept by as new flights were booked and the unexpected delay ground toward its conclusion. After the new arrangements had been made, we moved to the ticket counter to pick up our tickets and check our baggage. The old mate was ahead of me in line, he got to the ticket counter, and tossed his sea bag onto the baggage pass through, as the clerk began processing his ticket.
Behind him, I was paying little attention to what was going on, until the ticket clerk cut loose with a scream that stopped everything on that concourse. People dropped their bags and looked in horror in our direction. Security Police were running toward us on the double. Hair standing on end, I took a step forward straining to see what it was that had elicited the scream. And there it was. Dripping from the end of the mate’s sea bag was blood, lots of it, bright red and pooling on the stainless steel. The police muscled their way through the crowd of gawkers and squeamishly, lifted the bag, removed the lock, and pulled the pucker string. Both of them looked into the bag and groaned. One of them then stuck his hand into the bag and withdrew………………. an enormous prime rib. An enormous and rapidly thawing prime rib. Fresh from the tug’s freezer, the mate had decided to appropriate it and counted on eating it at home. What he hadn’t counted on were the unsettling delays during the hot weather. In any event the mess was cleaned up, and the prime rib placed in an intact plastic bag. The captain noted the price of the meat which, along with a fairly colorful denunciation and warning, he planned to charge against the mate’s pay check. We eventually all got home, as did the mate with his prime rib. From then on, however, that crew always referred to prime rib as “lucky beef”, figuring themselves lucky to have gotten first crack at it.”.

Eric Boe holds a copy of his trip-winning article

Eric Boe holds a copy of his trip-winning article

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California Outdoor News – State and Federal Agencies Evaluate New Drought Contingency Plan To Help Commercial Fishing and Utilize Trucking of Salmon Smolts

State and Federal Agencies Evaluate New Drought Contingency Plan To Help Commercial Fishing and Utilize Trucking of Salmon Smolts

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have agreed on a temporary contingency plan for the release of hatchery smolts in 2014 due to drought.

The goal of the contingency plan outlined today is to ensure the greatest survival of Chinook salmon smolts released from hatcheries managed by CDFW and the USFWS under current drought conditions. The plan includes thresholds for trucking all or part of Sacramento River Basin salmon smolts to selected net pen locations downstream of the Delta.

“While we know that our hatchery systems in California need ultimately to move away from trucking to reduce the adverse biological effects that trucking causes, this drought and what we are predicting for in-river conditions in the next few months for out-migrating fish requires us to consider exceptions to the preferred approach,” said Dan Castleberry, Assistant Regional Director for the USFWS.

This decision and the contingency plan are informed by lengthy and collaborative discussions with leaders in the California commercial fishing industry. After these discussions and input from NMFS, CDFW and USFWS this approach was pursued because of the exceptional circumstances created by the current drought in the state, and the risks of those circumstances to salmon and the commercial salmon fishing industry. California is facing an extreme drought. These extreme drought conditions are forcing these agencies to consider actions to preserve the future of salmon fishing in California.

“It is important to recognize two things: first, our decision to adapt fast to drought and truck fish this year should not be used to argue against long-term reform of our hatcheries,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “Second, the state and federal agencies care greatly about this state’s salmon and the fishing industry. We need to take these adaptive approaches given the severity of this drought.”

Trucking all or part of the fall-run Chinook is only being considered as a one-time action at this time. But for the drought, agencies have been striving to increase smolt releases into the rivers where the hatcheries operate to allow for the more natural migration of anadromous fish. Salmon return to their spawning grounds using their sense of smell. The process, called imprinting, begins before birth as waters flow over the eggs and continues as they grow and make their way to the ocean. Each segment of water on their journey has distinctive chemical cues, which they can re-trace to their spawning grounds.

“We have been working closely with our partners at USFWS and CDFW in reviewing their efforts for transporting hatchery production of salmon smolts to the ocean during this severe drought year,” said Will Stelle, NMFS West Coast Regional Administrator. “We strongly support these efforts and share in the commitment for long-term reform of hatchery practices that impact wild salmon stocks.”

This contingency plan is designed to ensure the most smolts reach the ocean taking into account the drought. Trucking of smolts from CDFW’s Sacramento basin hatcheries is regarded as the best management option at this time based on projected water flows and conditions during the outmigration of smolts. Up to 18.4 million Sacramento fall-run Chinook smolts will be evaluated for potential trucking during April, May and June 2014.

CDFW will continue the important barge study, which keeps protected smolts in recirculating water as they are taken downstream so they pick up the chemical cues, in hopes to improve the survival rate of migrating salmon.

Consultation and coordination will continue over the coming weeks between CDFW, USFWS and NMFS to fine-tune and implement this plan. Should drought conditions change, all parties will quickly re-evaluate and possibly reverse this action.

Sacramento fall-run Chinook salmon are the primary driver of ocean commercial and recreational fisheries. Trucking of smolts from inland hatcheries to net pen sites at Jersey Point and San Pablo Bay helps minimize in-river losses to unsuitable water quality conditions, predation and entrainment due to during drought conditions.

In the fall of 2013, 444,000 Chinook adult salmon returned to the Central Valley to spawn. Most spawned in natural areas now being impacted by drought. The deterioration of river conditions will affect the survival of their off-spring.

Klamath Basin fall run Chinook salmon raised at two state operated hatcheries are not expected to need out migration assistance at this time. At Iron Gate Hatchery, on the Klamath River, a release plan includes alternate release site use downstream as identified in the hatchery genetic management plan.

“We are pleased the USFWS, CDFW and NMFS have spent so much time trying to help solve this problem with us,” said Zeke Grader, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. “Salmon is a serious business in California.”

See the contingency plans here:
CDFW: Contingency Release Strategies for Juvenile, Feather River Hatchery
Spring-Run Chinook Salmon due to Severe Drought, 2014
USFWS: Contingency Release Strategies for Coleman National Fish Hatchery Juvenile Fall Chinook Salmon due to Severe Drought Conditions in 2014

With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. The Governor signed legislation to immediately help communities deal with the devastating dry conditions affecting our state and to provide funding to increase local water supplies after it was passed with bipartisan support in the legislature.

Governor Brown met with President Obama about crucial federal support during the ongoing drought, and the state continues to work with federal partners to ensure coordinated drought monitoring and response. Governor Brown and the administration have also expressed support for federal legislation introduced by Senators Feinstein and Boxer and Representatives Jim Costa, Tony Cárdenas and Sam Farr.

Across state government, action is being taken. The Department of General Services is leading water conservation efforts at state facilities, and the California State Architect has asked California school districts and Community Colleges to act on the Governor’s call to reduce water usage. The Department of Transportation is cutting water usage along California’s roadways by 50 percent. Caltrans has also launched a public awareness campaign, putting a water conservation message on their more than 700 electronic highway signs.

In January, the state took action to conserve water in numerous Northern California reservoirs to meet minimum needs for operations impacting the environment and the economy, and recently the Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced they would seek the authority to make water exchanges to deliver water to those who need it most. The State Water Resources Control Board announced it would work with hydropower generators and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to preserve water in California reservoirs, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Fish and Game Commission restricted fishing on some waterways due to low water flows worsened by the drought.

The state is working to protect local communities from the dangers of extreme drought. The California Department of Public Health identified and offered assistance to communities at risk of severe drinking water shortages and is working with other state and local agencies to develop solutions for vulnerable communities. CAL FIRE hired additional firefighters and is continuously adjusting staffing throughout the state to help address the increased fire threat due to drought conditions. The California Department of Food and Agriculture launched a drought website to help farmers, ranchers and farmworkers find resources and assistance programs that may be available to them during the drought.

Even as the state deals with the immediate impacts of the drought, it’s also planning for the future. In 2013, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and CDFA released the California Water Action Plan, which will guide state efforts to enhance water supply reliability, restore damaged and destroyed ecosystems and improve the resilience of our infrastructure.

Governor Brown has called on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20 percent, and the Save Our Water campaign launched four public service announcements encouraging residents to conserve and has resources available in Spanish. Last December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations and California’s preparedness for water scarcity. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water.

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ODFW News – Commission Suspends Sea Urchin Lottery For 2 Years

SALEM, Ore.—The Fish and Wildlife Commission met today in Salem and completed the following business:

Suspended the sea urchin permit lottery for two years due to stock and fishery conditions.
Amended the Wildlife Integrity Rules to put several species on the Noncontrolled or Prohibited list based on the level of risk they present to native wildlife (through disease, habitat competition, or hybridizing).
Appointed two new representatives to the statewide Access and Habitat Board: Alan Christensen of Portland as a Hunter Representative and Craig Ely of La Grande as a Landowner Representative.
Approved Access and Habitat funding for the New River Aleutian Goose Project along the southern coast, which will provide fertilizer to private landowners experiencing goose damage in return for continued hunting access.
Amended falconry rules that govern the take of peregrine falcons for use in falconry, and added a new species to the list of species allowed for use by falconers.
Finally, the Commission was briefed on the 2013 Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Annual Report. As of the end of last year, there are 64 known wolves and eight wolf packs in Oregon, including four breeding pairs and 17 pups.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. Its next meeting is April 25 in North Bend.

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