CDFW – The Mendocino Voice https://www.mendovoice.com Useful news, for all of Mendocino. Wed, 06 Nov 2019 08:57:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 State water agencies holding online cannabis cultivation workshop on Nov. 12 https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/11/state-water-agencies-holding-online-cannabis-cultivation-workshop-on-nov-12/ https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/11/state-water-agencies-holding-online-cannabis-cultivation-workshop-on-nov-12/#respond Wed, 06 Nov 2019 08:57:43 +0000 https://www.mendovoice.com/?p=257421 The workshop is free but space is limited.

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MENDOCINO Co., 11/03/19 — If you're dealing with applying for a cannabis license, you probably are also applying for a variety of permits or seeking approval from various water agencies, be it the State Water Resources Control Board, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW), or specific cultivation requirements set out by the California Department of Food & Ag (CDFA) — and you probably have questions about how to follow those rules.

On November 12, the Water Board, CDFW, and CDFA will be holding a free webinar to provide an overview of current regulations and permits, and answer your questions about how to ensure you stay in compliance. The webinar is free but space is limited so it's recommended you register in advance at this link.

Here's the full announcement, with a bunch of useful links:

Free Online Cannabis Permitting Workshop Nov. 12
Posted: 28 Oct 2019 01:21 PM PDT
Virtual Forum Answers Common Questions About Commercial Cannabis Licensing 
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) are hosting a free online commercial cannabis cultivation permitting workshop.
“This online workshop allows cultivators to learn more about the regulatory requirements of commercial cannabis cultivation from a location of their choice,” said Jennifer Nguyen, CDFW’s Acting Cannabis Program Director. “There is no better time to understand more about state compliance, reducing environmental impacts and setting up your grow for success.”
The free workshop is ideal for new and existing commercial cannabis cultivators. Those interested in attending can follow the link below and register. The online workshop is limited to 200 participants so early registration is recommended.
Workshop Details: Tuesday, Nov. 12 from 11 a.m. to 12:30p.m.
Registration link: www.wildlife.ca.gov/cannabispermitting
CDFA’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division will provide an overview of the licensing process for commercial cannabis farmers, including the required application attachments. SWRCB will review the cultivation policy, water rights and water quality relative regulations, and other important information. CDFW will cover Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreements and how to limit environmental impacts.
Other participating cannabis regulatory agencies include the Department of Pesticide Regulation, the Franchise Tax Board and the Employment Development Department.
Questions can be submitted at the end of the final presentation.
All commercial size cannabis cultivators are encouraged to obtain required state licenses and county permits, as well as implement best management practices to reduce environmental impacts. Doing so can help cultivators avoid common pitfalls that may lead to enforcement actions.
To learn more about CDFW’s role in cannabis cultivation, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/cannabis
 or email AskCannabis@wildlife.ca.gov.
To learn more about the SWRCB’s Division of Water Quality’s (DWQ) role in cannabis cultivation, please email dwq.cannabis@waterboards.ca.gov or call the DWQ Cannabis General Order hotline at (916) 341-5580.
For more information about becoming a licensed cannabis farmer and for an overview of the California Cannabis Track-and-Trace System, please visit CDFA’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing’s website at CalCannabis.cdfa.ca.gov or call 1-833-CALGROW.
To report illegal cannabis cultivation and environmental crimes such as pollution, water diversions and poaching, please call the CalTIP hotline at (888) 334-2258 or text information to “TIP411” (847411).

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Dungeness season opens, but high domoic acid levels mean health warnings for North Coast https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/11/dungeness-season-opens-but-high-domoic-acid-levels-mean-health-warnings-for-north-coast/ https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/11/dungeness-season-opens-but-high-domoic-acid-levels-mean-health-warnings-for-north-coast/#respond Sat, 02 Nov 2019 02:47:47 +0000 https://www.mendovoice.com/?p=256758 They might be delicious but they can make you sick

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MENDOCINO Co., 11/05/19 — Recreational Dungeness crab season opened on Saturday, November 2, but due to high levels of domoic acid, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is warning people on the North Coast not to consume crab viscera caught from Shelter Cove to Point Arena, and from Point Reyes in Marin County south to Pillar Point in San Mateo County.

Domoic acid can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness, and even seizures and death, but the CDPH will continue to monitor domoic acid levels and re-evaluate their warnings regularly if the levels drop.

Another domoic acid related warning was issued earlier in October, warning people not to consume recreationally harvested shellfish from Mendocino and Humboldt counties.

Here's the full announcement for Dungeness crab from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), followed by health information from the CDPH; the information regarding the shellfish warning is included below. You can find updated testing information and answers to frequent questions by visiting CDPH’s Domoic Acid FAQ or calling CDPH’s toll-free “Shellfish Information Line” at (800) 553-4133. Here's our previous reporting on domoic acid warnings along the North Coast.

As thousands of recreational anglers await the start of the statewide sport season for Dungeness crab on Saturday, Nov. 2, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is advising anglers not to consume the viscera of crab caught in two coastal areas due to the presence of domoic acid.
In a health advisory issued today, CDPH advises recreational anglers not to consume the viscera (guts) of Dungeness crab caught from Shelter Cove in Humboldt County (40° 01.00′ N. Lat.) south to Point Arena in Mendocino County (38° 57.50′ N. Lat.) and from Point Reyes in Marin County (38 ° 00.00′ N. Lat.) south to Pillar Point in San Mateo County (37° 30.00′ N. Lat.).
Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin produced by a naturally occurring marine diatom (algae). Under certain ocean conditions large blooms of these diatoms occur and then accumulate in Dungeness crab. At low levels, domoic acid exposure can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness in humans. At higher levels, it can cause persistent short-term memory loss, seizures and death. Please remember to eviscerate any crab caught in these regions prior to cooking. This reduces the risk of domoic acid poisoning. Check the CDPH Domoic Acid webpage for the latest crab test results.
Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, recreational crabbers are limited to a daily bag and possession limit of 10 crabs that are at least 5 ¾ inches in width as measured by the shortest distance through the body from edge of shell to edge of shell directly in front of and excluding the points (lateral spines).
Dungeness crab may be caught using hoop nets, crab traps, crab loop traps (crab snares) or skin and scuba divers may take them by the use of the hands only.Crab trap buoys must display the owner’s “GO ID” number as assigned by the Automated License Data System and the trap must contain at least one destruct device. When using another person’s trap, written permission, including permission transmitted electronically (i.e. email or text), from the owner of the trap must contain the GO ID number that matches the GO ID on the buoy and must be in the operator’s possession in order to operate the trap.
Minimizing the risk of whale and turtle entanglements remains a top priority of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). CDFW recently requested the Fish and Game Commission consider regulations to reduce the risk of entanglements in recreational Dungeness crab fishing gear. The Commission’s Marine Resources Committee will discuss and consider possible management recommendations at its meeting on Nov. 5 in Sacramento.
CDFW strongly encourages anglers to follow the Best Fishing Practices Guide developed by the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group. Voluntary actions anglers can employ include keeping the line between the pot and main buoy taught and vertical, reducing the amount of vertical line at the surface, avoiding setting gear in the vicinity of whales and turtles, and marking gear consistent with regulations.
More information:
Crab trap regulations
CDPH Domoic Acid webpage
CDFW Finfish and Shellfish Health Advisories webpage
CDFW Domoic Acid Fishery Closure Information Line: (831) 649-2883.

CDFW press release, 11/01/19.

CA Public Health announcement concerning Dungeness crab viscera and domoic acid:

Shellfish Safety Notification: 
Consumers Warned not to eat the Viscera of Dungeness Crab
Caught along Parts of the California Coast

Due to the detection of elevated levels of domoic acid, a naturally occurring toxin, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is warning consumers not to eat the viscera (internal organs) of Dungeness crab caught in coastal waters.

The recreational Dungeness crab season for California anglers begins on Saturday, November 2. This warning is effective for state waters located:
1.    
Near Shelter Cove, Humboldt County (40° 01′ N. Latitude) to Point Arena (38° 57.5′ N. Latitude)
2.    
Point Reyes (38° 0’.00” N. Latitude) to Pillar Point (37° 30.000' N. Latitude)

While domoic acid levels may vary, consumers should always follow these best preparation practices to avoid any inadvertent exposure to domoic acid that might be sporadically found in the crab’s viscera. When whole crab is cooked in liquid, domoic acid may leach into the cooking liquid. Water or broth used to cook whole crab should be discarded and not used to prepare dishes such as sauces, broths, soups or stews (for example, cioppino or gumbo), stocks, roux, dressings or dips. Cooking crab neither decreases nor destroys the toxin in the viscera or body meat. Consumers are advised to discard the viscera and cooking liquids.
The best ways to reduce the risks are to remove the crab viscera and rinse out the body cavity prior to cooking, or boil or steam whole crabs instead of frying or broiling, and discard cooking liquids.
Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood. In mild cases, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and dizziness. These symptoms disappear within several days. In severe cases, the victim may experience trouble breathing, confusion, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short-term memory, coma or death.
CDPH continues to coordinate its efforts with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the fishing community to collect and test crab samples from the impacted areas until domoic acid levels have dissipated. Please contact CDFW for information about the recreational Dungeness crab season.
Test results are updated as laboratory results become available and can be viewed on the CDPH Domoic Acid webpage. Please visit CDPH’s Domoic Acid FAQ for more information. To receive updated information about shellfish poisoning and quarantines, call CDPH’s toll-free “Shellfish Information Line” at (800) 553-4133.

CDPH press release, 11/01/19.

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Recreational spiny lobster season opened September 28 https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/09/recreational-spiny-lobster-season-opened-september-28/ https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/09/recreational-spiny-lobster-season-opened-september-28/#respond Mon, 30 Sep 2019 22:21:05 +0000 https://www.mendovoice.com/?p=239091 The season will remain open until March 18, 2020.

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MENDOCINO Co., 9/30/19 — The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) opened up the recreational spiny lobster season on September 28, and it will remain open through March 18, 2020.

Everyone fishing for lobster must carry a "lobster report card," and more details on the specific legal requirements are included below. CDFW also notes that last year was a particularly bountiful season for recreational lobster fishers.

Here's all the details:

Recreational Spiny Lobster Season to Open Sept. 28
Posted: 24 Sep 2019 02:48 PM PDT
Thousands of lobster divers and hoop netters are eagerly awaiting the start of the sport season for California’s spiny lobster, which opens at 6 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 28 and continues through March 18, 2020.
According to California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Marine Environmental Scientist Jenny Hofmeister, last season was an exceptionally plentiful year. “There was a 16 percent increase in reported recreational catch compared to the previous season,” Hofmeister said. “You might think this is due to more fishing effort, but the average number of lobsters caught per trip increased, too.”
A lobster report card is required for all persons fishing for lobster. Individuals who are 16 years or older must also possess a valid sport fishing license and ocean enhancement stamp in order to take lobster south of Point Arguello. Any person using hoop nets from a public pier and children who are under 16 and fishing for lobster do not need a license but must possess a valid lobster report card.
A typical legal-size spiny lobster will average about one pound in weight. Occasionally divers and hoop netters will find lobsters over five pounds (considered trophy size) in California waters. Spiny lobster taken must measure at least 3 1/4 inches in length and are measured in a straight line on the midline of the back from the rear edge of the eye socket to the rear edge of the body shell. The daily bag and possession limit is seven lobsters.
Lobster can be taken with hoop nets and by hand only when skin or SCUBA diving. No appliance (such as fish spears or poles) may be used to assist. No more than five hoop nets may be possessed by a person when taking spiny lobster or crab (or two hoop nets on piers, jetties and other shore-based structures), and no more than 10 hoop nets may be possessed aboard a vessel, regardless of how many fishers are onboard.
CDFW marine biologists suggest using an oily or aromatic bait to dispense a scent trail that nearby lobsters will follow back to the net. Squid, Pacific mackerel, bonito, anchovies or sardines may serve as good bait. A wire mesh bait container will help prevent the loss of bait to fish or other large predators such as seals and sea lions.
Because lobsters are strong and have hair-trigger responses when they sense predators, the best strategy for divers is usually to grab or pin them to the bottom by their body, rather than grabbing it by a leg or antennae which will likely tear off. Although lobsters can regenerate lost limbs, marine biologists have found that these lobsters ultimately produce fewer offspring because of the energy requirements for limb regeneration.
When finished fishing or changing locations, fishers must immediately record the number of lobster taken from that location. Lobster report cards must be returned or submitted online to CDFW at the end of each season by April 30, regardless of whether the card was used or any lobster were caught. Fishers who fill up a report card can turn in their card and purchase another. Failure to report catch from all cards by the deadline will result in a nonreporting fee that is charged when you purchase a report card next season.
“Each year we only get about 50 percent of lobster report card holders reporting their catch. Our goal is to get as close to 100 percent as possible,” Hofmeister said. “Data from these report cards allow us to determine it catch is increasing or decreasing, the number of lobsters caught per fishing trip, and which gear type is the most efficient. All these pieces of information help managers monitor the population. Everyone benefits from reporting your catch on time. Lobster divers and hoop netters avoid paying the non-return fee, and, more importantly, CDFW scientists can ensure the fishery remains sustainable.”
Lobster fishers should consult the Marine Protected Area maps for the California coastline to ensure they are not fishing in prohibited waters.
The complete spiny lobster regulations are contained in the 2019-2020 Ocean Sport Fishing regulations booklet, found on CDFW’s website and wherever fishing licenses are sold. A lobster fishing FAQ and other biological information specific to California’s spiny lobster.
Media Contacts:
Jenny Hofmeister, CDFW Marine Region, (858) 467-4214
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Press release from CDFW

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Cal Fish & Wildlife considering summer steelhead for endangered species status https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/08/cal-fish-wildlife-considering-summer-steelhead-for-endangered-species-status/ https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/08/cal-fish-wildlife-considering-summer-steelhead-for-endangered-species-status/#respond Fri, 23 Aug 2019 02:33:40 +0000 https://www.mendovoice.com/?p=218578 The agency is seeking public comment until September 30, 2019.

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MENDOCINO Co., 8/22/19 — The California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) is considering listing the Northern California Summer Steelhead, which lives in portions of Mendocino and Humboldt counties, as an endangered species. The species was first petitioned for endangered listing by the environmental advocacy group, The Friends of the Eel River, in September 201,8 due to threats from habitat loss due to human activity, and and the fish's status is now under a review. The CDFW is seeking public comment for a draft "status review report" -- the comment period is open until September 30, 2019.

The Northern California Summer Steelhead occupies a range which includes Redwood Creek, and the Mad, Eel, Van Duzen and Mattole rivers. The CDFW asks the public to submit comments about "ecology, genetics, life history, distribution, abundance, habitat, degree and immediacy of threats to reproduction or survival, adequacy of existing management measures, and recommendations for management of the species." More details about submitting public comment and the species listing and review can be found in the press release below.

Here's the full announcement from CDFW:

CDFW Seeks Information Related to Listing of Northern California Summer Steelhead
Posted: 22 Aug 2019 12:31 PM PDT
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is seeking information relevant to the proposed listing of Northern California Summer Steelhead as an endangered species.
Northern California Summer Steelhead occupy a relatively small geographic range in Humboldt and Mendocino counties that includes Redwood Creek and the Mad, Eel, Van Duzen and Mattole rivers. They fill a unique ecological niche, entering freshwater in the spring and early summer and then holding for many months in deep pools high up in the stream systems while waiting to spawn.
In September 2018, the Friends of the Eel River submitted a petition to the California Fish and Game Commission requesting to list Northern California Summer Steelhead as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The petition described threats impacting the survival of the fish, specifically emphasizing habitat loss, alteration and degradation as a result of human impacts.
CDFW recommended that Northern California Summer Steelhead be advanced to candidacy for CESA listing and the Commission voted in favor of this recommendation on June 12, 2019. The official findings of this decision were published on June 28, 2019, which triggered the start of a 12-month period during which CDFW will conduct a status review intended to inform the Commission’s ultimate decision on whether to list the species.
As part of the status review process, CDFW is soliciting information from the public regarding Northern California Summer Steelhead ecology, genetics, life history, distribution, abundance, habitat, degree and immediacy of threats to reproduction or survival, adequacy of existing management measures, and recommendations for management of the species. Comments, data and other information can be submitted in writing to:
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Attn: Vanessa Gusman
830 S St.
Sacramento, CA 95811
Comments may also be submitted by e-mail to wildlifemgt@wildlife.ca.gov. If submitting comments by e-mail, please include “NC Summer Steelhead” in the subject heading.
All comments received by Sept. 22, 2019, will be evaluated prior to the submittal of CDFW’s final status review report to the Commission. Once CDFW submits the final status review report to the Commission, it will be placed on the agenda for discussion at the next available Commission meeting. Comments will also be made available to the public at that time.
Following receipt of CDFW’s status review report, the Commission will allow a 30-day public comment period prior to taking any action on CDFW’s recommendations.
The listing petition and CDFW’s petition evaluation for Northern California Summer Steelhead is available at https://fgc.ca.gov/cesa#ncss.

Press release from CDFW, August 22, 2019.

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Fish for free across California, Labor Day https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/08/fish-for-free-across-california-labor-day/ https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/08/fish-for-free-across-california-labor-day/#respond Fri, 23 Aug 2019 02:25:26 +0000 https://www.mendovoice.com/?p=218644 Now's a good time to try out a new sport!

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MENDOCINO Co., 8/22/19 — The second free fishing day of 2019 is coming up on August 31, so if you're looking for something to do this Labor Day weekend, you might want to try fishing for a day. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife offers two days of "free fishing" each year, which means that now's the perfect time to take someone out to learn how to fish. The previous free fishing day was during the 4th of July weekend.

Here's all the details about August 31:

Aug. 31 is Free Fishing Day in California
Posted: 21 Aug 2019 02:21 PM PDT
Don’t miss the last chance to fish for free this year! Free Fishing Day in California is being offered by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Saturday, Aug. 31, during Labor Day weekend.
“Free Fishing Day is a great opportunity for experienced anglers to share their love of the sport with someone who’s never tried it,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham.
A basic annual resident sport fishing license in California currently costs $49.94, while a one-day sport fishing license costs $16.20. CDFW offers two Free Fishing Days each year – usually around the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend – when it’s legal to fish without one. If you would like to fish the rest of the year, please go to CDFW’s website for information about purchasing a license.
All fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect on Free Fishing Day. Every angler must also have an appropriate report card if they are fishing for steelhead or sturgeon anywhere in the state, or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity river systems.
Anglers of all skill levels can get ideas of where to fish by using CDFW’s online Fishing Guide.
Before you head out to your favorite lake or stream, please review the freshwater fishing regulations or ocean fishing regulations  online or use CDFW’s mobile web site to view limits and regulations specific to a body of water.

CDFW press release.

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Sheriff Allman updates Mendocino supervisors on cannabis raids, cannabis advocate raises concerns https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/07/sheriff-allman-updates-mendocino-supervisors-on-cannabis-raids-cannabis-advocate-raises-concerns/ https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/07/sheriff-allman-updates-mendocino-supervisors-on-cannabis-raids-cannabis-advocate-raises-concerns/#comments Wed, 24 Jul 2019 08:41:32 +0000 https://www.mendovoice.com/?p=202597 According to the sheriff 42,638 plants were cut down and 603 environmental alledged crimes were found on 28 parcels.

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MENDOCINO Co., 7/24/19 — Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman gave an unscheduled update on the ongoing cannabis garden raids during “public expression” portion of Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting, prior to the general meeting, recounting the number of plants cut down, the number of warrants served, and the 603 enivornmental charges to be issued — adding that the MCSO is “following the law of the land.”  

Allman was followed by the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance’s Casey O’Neill, who spoke out against the raids, saying, “When militarized enforcement occurs in neighborhoods, the community feels terrorized by it — whether or not that is deemed appropriate by government, doesn’t change the fact that on the ground that people are terrified.”

The recent raids, dubbed “Operation Clean Sweep,” officially began July 15, and marks the first major cannabis eradication operation since the passage of Prop 64, which legalized recreational cannabis consumption and production in the state of California — and with multi-agency convoys and military helicopters has reminded many in the county of the old prohibition CAMP operations. A similar multi-agency enforcement effort has also been taking place in Humboldt and Trinity counties, and other parts of the state.

At the meeting Allman told the supervisors that during the “Clean Sweep” officers from three multi-agency teams have so far cut down 42,638 plants and served 28 search warrants resulting in finding 603 alleged criminal acts related to environmental degradation, to be filed with the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office. Included in the teams were MCSO deputies, wardens from the CDFW, soldiers from the California National Guard, staff from the state’s CalCannabis agency, Water Board staff, and representatives of Cal Fire.

Allman said that these recent raids are, “a very important historical mark for Mendocino and marijuana.” He noted that he is aware of community concerns but that the MCSO is following through with enforcement laid out in Prop 64. However, he added that he would address any complaints about law enforcement behavior if evidence was provided or complaints were filed. 

Mendocino County residents have expressed concerns over mutli-agency enforcement over the last several months, as Blackhawk and other helicopters have been seen flying very low and hovering in the weeks prior to “Operation Clean Sweep.” Allman has said the current operation will last through this week and perhaps beyond, and is focused on unpermitted cannabis grows causing environmental degradation, particularly in the Eel River watershed.

The Mendocino Cannabis Alliance (MCA), which represents a number of cultivators currently seeking or holding cannabis permits, has issued several statements concerning the raids — and encouraged people to document any flyovers or law enforcement activity that may be questionable. Following Allman’s statements this morning, MCA policy chair and local permitted cannabis farmer, Casey O’Neill, spoke about his concerns over the effects of militarized enforcement on local communities, and called for an easier path for small cannabis farms to seek permits, especially for those who previously had been legally allowed to cultivate 25 plants in Mendocino. O’Neill also submitted an “open letter to law enforcement” he penned this week to the supervisors for consideration. 

As he did prior to the supervisors’ meeting last week, Allman got up during public comment and summarized the operation, then responded to questions from supervisors — an update was not on the regularly scheduled agenda, and therefore not open to lengthy discussion or action by the supervisors, or to direct comment from the general public.

Allman said that so far during Operation Clean Sweep, 28 search warrants had been served, but an additional four were written, but not executed, in Covelo, Iron Peak, and the Woodman Creek area. The effort had utilized a total of 110 personnel (although the number varied daily), in three teams (red, white, and blue), and that each team was accompanied by MCSO deputies. He added that while no arrests had been made, some could still occur, and emphasized that per the DA’s request, MCSO was making sure all charges of environmental crimes had been fully investigated prior to filing charges.

Allman added that the number of plants on each property visited so far had varied, with the lowest number being 65, but that some parcels had had thousands of plants. He said each property visited did not have a permit, and that at least 10 environmental crimes had been found at each site — ranging from trash and fertilizer in the river, to unlawful grading of creek beds. Allman added that seven firearms had been found during the operation.

Tuesday afternoon, MCSO issued a press release stating that there were 142 violations to water quality, 197 “acts impacting water rights,” and 264 CDFW violations found, including the presence of a Foothill Yellow Legged Frog, which has been petitioned for state endangered species status, in a creek being impacted by cultivation. Allman also told the supervisors that although 32 warrants had been issued so far, CDFW had initially informed him that staff had identified a potential 2,095 sites of potential interest for enforcement in north county.

Both Allman and O’Neill highlighted the impacts of Proposition 64, which established a new system of dual permitting for California’s commercial cannabis industry, on Mendocino’s cannabis farmers, and addressed community concerns about how the operations would be managed. Allman told the supervisors that while he had been “actively against” Prop 64, he was conducting enforcement based on the new regulatory system, and that, “if people want to play by the rules, it’s time for them to understand what the rules are.” Supervisor McCowen agreed, noting, “People who are unhappy with enforcement should reread Prop 64, which said with very limited exceptions, if you’re growing cannabis, you need to have a permit locally and a license from the state.”

Allman said he had received hate mail, but he hoped that when the full environmental crimes found were made public, that those people would be, “as angry as me.” He also addressed rumors that law enforcement had trashed houses or flown low over permitted properties, saying he had not been provided any evidence, which he found notable with today’s technology, but was prepared to fully investigate if complaints were filed. He added that MCSO deputies were placed on each enforcement team and that there would be “hell to pay” if local enforcement was found acting inappropriately, and that he would also initiative an investigation into other agency staff for the same cause. He said if people are hesitant to file complaints out of fear that MCSO will contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), that, “I want to publicly say that’s not the case right now,” and that people could also send complaints to the District Attorney or the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 Said Allman:

“We want to know if our people have done anything wrong. I will stand on this firm ground right now and say our people did everything right, but if someone wants to disprove me wrong — I’ve said to you many times, I’ve been married for 35 years, I’m used to being wrong. But let me know what the facts are, and don’t make allegations and don’t throw false facts around without knowing the facts. When I get the information and it’s third hand, I’m going to tell you, I don’t put a lot of credibility into extreme stories. I think there’s some exaggerations happening.”

In his public comment following Allman, O’Neill pointed to his letter, emphasizing that he respected the difficult job of law enforcement, and appreciated Allman’s willingness to open an investigation if complaints were made. However, O’Neill underscored that the new regulations had left many Mendocino residents who had formerly grown a few dozen plants “stuck between this rock of enforcement and the hard place of nowhere to go,” saying that the new system wasn’t working. 

O’Neill said he’d spoken with Governor Gavin Newsom’s office about the need for a more forgiving permit process for “the traditional small gardens,” and said he hoped the county would consider advocating for similar changes at the state level, as well as for reducing “heavy handed enforcement,” though he emphasized that he does not support environmental degradation. 

To illustrate his policy point, O’Neill drew, as he often does, a comparison between his experience as a vegetable farmer and a cannabis farmer. “We have a cottage food producers permit, and we have a cottage industry permit in cannabis, but it doesn’t mean anything different,” he noted. “Cottage food producer has a significantly lower regulatory bar. Cottage cannabis producer has the same regulatory bar — we just called it a cottage!” O’Neill added he believed “For a 25 plant farmer, there is no percentage going forward at this point with the complicated regulatory structure.”

The full MCSO press release is included below. You can watch the video of Tuesday’s supervisors’ meeting here. Our previous coverage of recent cannabis enforcement can be found here. You can also listen to a special edition of the KZYX "Cannabis Hour" radio show about the raids, which includes this reporter talking with local advocates.

MEDIA ADVISORY/NEWS RELEASE

DATE:  "July 23, 2019"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Incident Number: 
2019

Crime/Incident: 
Operation Clean Sweep - Summary

Location: 
Eel River watershed in Mendocino County

Date of Incident: 
07-15-2019

Time: 
8:00 AM

Victim(s): 
N/A

Suspect(s): 
N/A

Written By: 
Captain Gregory L. Van Patten  #1184

Synopsis: 
UPDATED PRESS RELEASE:

On 07-19-2019 Operation Clean Sweep concluded in Mendocino County and a debrief was conducted which developed the following information about the operation:

Search Warrants served:
 
28

Locations of Search Warrants:

Covelo (Round Valley), Dos Rios, Woodman Creek (Laytonville), Iron Peak Road/Simmerly Road (Laytonville)   

Marijuana/Cannabis plants removed:

42,638

Independent acts of Environment based Crime(s) observed:
 
603

Independent acts impacting Water Quality:
 
142

Independent acts impacting Water Rights:
 
197

California Department of Fish & Wildlife violations observed:
 
264

Observed acts of Environmental Degradation:

Water/Stream Diversion,  Water Pollution from trash, pesticides and generator fuel, Illegal Grading of land to include the unnatural damming of watersheds (streams/rivers/springs).

Significant Wildlife Impact(s):


Foothill Yellow Legged Frog was observed in a stream that was impacted by an act of Illegal damming and water diversion.  In June 2017 the California Fish and Game Commission voted to make the Foothill Yellow Legged Frog a candidate species under the California Endangered Species Act.

Arrest(s):
 
None at this time as cases will be submitted to the Mendocino District Attorney's Office at a later date.

Participating Agencies:

Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, Mendocino County Marijuana Enforcement Team (COMMET), Mendocino County Search & Rescue, Mendocino County Probation Department, Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force (MMCTF), Glenn County Narcotics Task Force, CAMP (California Campaign Against Marijuana Planting), California Department of Food and Agriculture (CalCannabis Licensing), California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California State Water Resource Board, California State Water Board, CalFire and the California Army/Air Force National Guard.     

ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE:
  During the week of July 15th-19th, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office will be collaborating with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CalCannabis Licensing), California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California State Water Resource Board, Cal Fire and the California Army National Guard to serve search warrants on public/private lands to investigate identified illegal cannabis cultivation sites.

All the sites will be those of non-permitted cannabis cultivation sites that are believed to be involved in water diversion and other situations of environmental degradation that impacts several watersheds in the greater Eel River area of Northern Mendocino County.

The collaboration includes pre-identified sites that do not have cannabis permits, state water permits for cannabis or permits from Cal Fire for deforestation and legal tree removal.
 
Cannabis farms that are licensed through the California Department of Food and Agriculture's CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division will not be the focus of this operation.

CalCannabis Licensing Inspectors will be participating in Operation Clean Sweep and have been an essential resource in the Operation's pre-identification process of the sites to be investigated.

Approved by: 
Captain Gregory L. Van Patten  #1184

MCSO press release, July 23, 2019.

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Mendocino Sheriff begins cannabis eradication effort, “Operation Clean Sweep” with National Guard, CDFW (updated 6/16) https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/07/mendocino-sheriff-cannabis-eradication-effort-operation-clean-sweep-with-national-guard-cdfw/ https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/07/mendocino-sheriff-cannabis-eradication-effort-operation-clean-sweep-with-national-guard-cdfw/#comments Tue, 16 Jul 2019 02:49:16 +0000 https://www.mendovoice.com/?p=196503 This article has been updated to include Sheriff Allman's update to the supervisors on Tuesday.

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UPDATED 7/16/19 — Mendocino County's Sheriff Tom Allman gave a brief update concerning the cannabis enforcement operation to the county's board of supervisors this morning before the regularly scheduled agenda items, as another convoy was spotted by Laytvonille residents heading up Spy Rock Rd. for the second morning in a row.

Law enforcement have stated that the targeted sites have been selected based on a lack of permits and impacts to the environment, particularly the Eel River watershed. Allman told the supervisors this morning that staff from the statewide cultivation licensing agency, CalCannabis, were accompanying law enforcement officials in order to examine the scope of environmental damage at the targeted sites. He added that four staff members from Governor Gavin Newsom's office would also be accompanying the raids to see the targeted grows and witness the operation. Allman also said that he would be working with the U.S. District Attorney's office to see if any of the violations should result in federal charges.

In response to a question from Third District Supervisor John Hasckak, who represents the area where the raids are currently taking place, Allman said that deputies would work with both CalCannabis and local permitting agencies, specifically Trent Taylor at the county's planning and building department, to "double checked and triple check," whether farms were in the permit process, and that they were prioritizing grows with "no legitimacy" that were "“thumbing their noses” at Proposition 64, the initiative that created California's new recreational and medical cannabis permitting system. Although the timeframe in the MCSO press release stated the operation would be conducted through July 19, Allman elaborated that the raids would continue into next week as well.

Allman also clarified in response to a question from Haschak that the raids had occurred on the eastern side of Spy Rock, near the Eel River drainage towards dos rios, and that authorities planned to continue eradication efforts in the Dos Rios area, as he said "the water pipes are very visible going to the gardens." He noted that the operation had taken down 10,000 plants during eradication efforts on Monday, and described one site that he said was found to be pumping directly from a nearby river into a water storage bladder.

MENDOCINO Co., 7/15/19 — The newest multi-law-enforcement campaign, “Operation Clean Sweep,” against unpermitted cannabis cultivation kicked off today with convoys heading up Spy Rock Road, initiating a previously announced eradication effort being conducted by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MCSO), in conjunction with the California National Guard, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. A similar effort is ongoing in Humboldt County.

Local law enforcement have stated that they will coordinate with CalCannabis, the statewide regulatory division of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, to target cannabis grows which are not in the permitting system.

But some local farmers have expressed concern due to the complex nature of the permitting process — and the relatively few permanent permits currently issued. The Mendocino Cannabis Alliance (MCA), an advocacy group that represents a number of permitted cannabis farmers and business owners, issued a statement last week in anticipation of the enforcement efforts (see full statement below).

Several convoys of vehicles were reportedly seen heading up Spy Rock Rd. from Laytonville this morning, including a chipper, with helicopters spotted in the area. Mendocino residents have reported seeing Black Hawk helicopters over the last several weeks. “Operation Clean Sweep,” was officially announced in a press release from the MCSO mid-day today (see full statement below). The announcement stated that the operation will take place July 15 through July 19, and focus on previously identified non-permitted locations in the “greater Eel River area of Northern Mendocino County,” that are “believed to be involved in water diversion and other situations of environmental degradation.” The operation will also include Cal Fire, and the State Water Resource Board. The MCSO’s Capt. Van Patten said in an email that the National Guard, who has been following the requested assistance of the Sheriff’s Office, has personnel assigned to the state Campaign Against Marijuana Program (CAMP), and had assisted in serving three search warrants in Mendocino during one previous week during 2019. 

Anticipation and concern over the impending operation has been building for several weeks, as an increasing number of low-flying military-like helicopters appeared around the county during an aerial surveillance training held at the Ukiah airport in June. A number of farmers who have applied for local and state permits, both of which are required, have shared concerns due to processing delays at both local and state levels, as well as over helicopters circling very low around their properties. The MCA’s statement notes that farmers are concerned about low-flying helicopter flights, and that eradication may occur immediately if there is a more than 10% discrepancy between what amount of cannabis has been permitted and what is found on site.

Background

The decision to bring on the California Guard, as part of a multi-agency effort, to work on cannabis eradication efforts in Northern California was first mentioned by Governor Gavin Newsom some months ago. In June, Mendocino residents got a glimpse of what that might look like as Homeland Security helicopters took to the skies for an aerial surveillance training with MCSO and other agencies, based at the Ukiah airport, which has taken place in many previous years

This year, a number of residents expressed concern during the joint training operation, in no small part due to the helicopters prompting fear of new wildfires. Residents and farmers, including some with no cannabis growing on their property, also reported seeing extremely low flying helicopters hovering for extended periods, taking pictures, and some reported the height of the flights resulted in damage to their greenhouses or frightened their livestock. Legally, aircraft is required to remain above 500 feet, although there are specific exceptions to allow for certain law enforcement activities, such as documenting evidence. At least one permitted cultivator, the Mendocino Clone Company’s Jed Davis, filed a complaint with the FAA after his greenhouse was damaged during the trainings, but was informed that the FAA cannot accept complaints regarding other federal agencies. Davis said he was considering legal action to recoup the alledged damage done to his newly purchased greenhouse after helicopters hovered above them at a low height for an extended period. 

Many Mendocino cultivators who are seeking to comply with the new California regulations for commercial cannabis permits have struggled to make it through the complex process, which requires not only dual licenses from both the local government, such as the county, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, as well as seeking approval or permits from a diverse range of other state agencies. Van Patten said that in Mendocino County, the targeted cannabis grows “have been determined to not have any connection to legal permitting. The operation is not including any location that is connected to an annual permit, temporary business permit or provisional permit.” The CDFW’s Janice Mackey said that the agency’s primarily coordinates cannabis enforcement activities with other agencies, and that the CDFW checks with the CDFW while identifying grows to target “to determine what steps may have been taken to obtain a commercial cannabis cultivation license.” 

Van Patten said that the sites targeted were not complaint-driven, but instead were non-permitted grows “identified as being a danger/impact to the Eel River watershed based upon scientific and aerial examinations.” Van Patten noted that the operation identified sites on both public and private lands, but that “There has been a noticeable decrease in public land grows.” Mackey said that her agency’s main focus was environmental impacts, which “typically involve environmental harm, habitat destruction, illegal water diversions, poaching and other such crimes.” She added, “we usually focus our efforts on unpermitted cultivation sites doing the most environmental damage.”

One fear expressed by cultivators seeking permits is that if there is uncertainty about their permit status, the crop will be eradicated immediately. In response to this question, Mackey stated, “We will eradicate plants when there is an illegal grow. By law, CDFW is required to take representative samples as evidence and then may destroy the rest.” 

In the MCA statement, Allman is described as saying that if there is a 10% difference in the amount of cannabis approved for a particularly permit, and what is found on the property, the entire crop may eradicated immediately. The MCA statement notes that Allman has stated his deputies will carry identification, and be instructed not to fly below the standard 500 feet unless in “narrow” law enforcement situations such as those requiring photographic evidence.

A request for confirmation of these statements has been made to Sheriff Allman, but he was not immediately reached, and it was after business hours. Capt. Van Patten was unable to confirm any of the statements attributed to Allman as reflecting agency policy. This article will be updated with any response.

Press releases:

DATE:  "July 15, 2019" 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

Incident Number: 
2019 

Crime/Incident: 
Operation Clean Sweep 

Location: 
Eel River watershed in Mendocino County 

Date of Incident: 
07-15-2019 

Time: 
8:00 AM 

Victim(s): 
N/A 

Suspect(s): 
N/A 

Written By: 
Lieutenant Andrew Porter  #2403 

Synopsis: 
During the week of July 15th-19th, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office will be collaborating with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CalCannabis Licensing), California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California State Water Resource Board, Cal Fire and the California Army National Guard to serve search warrants on public/private lands to investigate identified illegal cannabis cultivation sites.

All the sites will be those of non-permitted cannabis cultivation sites that are believed to be involved in water diversion and other situations of environmental degradation that impacts several watersheds in the greater Eel River area of Northern Mendocino County.

The collaboration includes pre-identified sites that do not have cannabis permits, state water permits for cannabis or permits from Cal Fire for deforestation and legal tree removal.
 
Cannabis farms that are licensed through the California Department of Food and Agriculture's CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division will not be the focus of this operation.

CalCannabis Licensing Inspectors will be participating in Operation Clean Sweep and have been an essential resource in the Operation's pre-identification process of the sites to be investigated.

Approved by: 
Captain Gregory L. Van Patten  #1184

MCSO press release from July 15, 2019.

Here's the full press release from the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, issued July 10:

Recent reports of pending enforcement actions have caused significant concern in the Mendocino cannabis community and the Emerald Triangle at large.  
 
[Mendocino County, CA Wednesday, July 10, 2019] Reports from multiple sources throughout Northern California have indicated that low flying helicopters under the auspices of multiple state and local agencies have been photographing cannabis cultivation sites from the air as part of anticipated enforcement actions.
Sheriff Tom Allman of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department informed Mendocino Cannabis Alliance (MCA) Board member, attorney Hannah Nelson, that next week, the National Guard helicopters and pilots will be used to identify and locate illegal cannabis operations that are on public lands and/or have environmental and/or water violations in Mendocino County. No National Guard will be involved in cannabis eradication, though other members of the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team (COMMET) will be conducting eradication and members of resource agencies will be present to document environmental and water violations. 
Nelson informed Sheriff Allman that there are concerns regarding low overflights and there have been numerous times recently that helicopters have flown so low as to damage greenhouse plastic and scare animals. She requested that Sheriff Allman ensure that pilots observe the 500' minimum altitude restrictions and be sensitive to the negative impact on innocent citizens. Sheriff Allman said that he expects all personnel to follow court rulings that establish a 500’ minimum altitude except in rare and narrowly tailored circumstances where 300’ is permissible to photograph violations and that he would personally instruct all team members of the legal restrictions during a pre-mission briefing on Monday morning. He asked that citizens submit video documentation of any violations directly to Nelson at MCA via email at info@mendocannabis.com who will pass them onto him. MCA suggests detailing the location, reference points to establish altitudes and to provide documentation of land, animal or property disturbance.
After Nelson raised the concern that cannabis farmers who are seeking to enter the regulated system might get caught up in the missions, Sheriff Allman noted that all activities are pursuant to search warrants and are not wide-ranging ‘fishing’ expeditions. Sheriff Allman added that the Sheriff's department has been using its best efforts to ensure that those search warrants were not sought for those who have applied with the Mendocino County Cannabis Permitting Program. However, Sheriff Allman did caution that any cultivator that exceeds their local and state authorization are subject to complete eradication (not just the difference of the overage). Generally, complete eradication will occur if an otherwise authorized cultivator exceeds the amount authorized by more than 10% according to Sheriff Allman. 
Sheriff Allman is pleased to work with MCA to educate the public and the law enforcement team members so as to minimize any negative impact on innocent citizens and lawful cultivators.  He will be instructing all personnel conducting missions to provide their names and/or business cards when asked to aid in transparency and accountability.
Additionally, PG&E announced this morning that they will also be flying helicopters and fixed-wing planes over areas of Humboldt, Mendocino, and Lake counties for fire-spotting and electric line surveying.
It is well documented that the populations within legacy cannabis producing regions have been disproportionately impacted by the US War On Drugs, including having suffered through militarized enforcement actions which at times left lasting trauma, including PTSD. Many of the same victims have now bravely stepped forward to enter the highly regulated industry.
Under MAUCRSA, (Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation Act) many of the activities once subject to felony prosecution are now infractions or misdemeanors or simply handled through civil fines and regulatory enforcement actions. If the illicit operation involves environmental crimes, it categorizes the offense as a criminal matter subject to felony charges and significant fines. We call on State and local agencies to recognize that enforcement for illicit operations on private land is more efficiently and humanely implemented through code enforcement. 
Humboldt County has seen a 700% increase in successful enforcement and eradication of illicit operations through the issuance of an Abatement Notice and notice of large fines. The widespread use of National Guard helicopters and personnel, along with other military-style enforcement tactics should be reserved for only the most egregious situations. 
MCA recommends:
Have your local authorization and state licenses properly posted, your environmental permits, and all other documents that establish the legality of the cultivation. You may also want to have your lawyer’s contact available and, whenever possible, document with video any encounters with law enforcement. Try to include which local and state agencies are present and the names of associated staff and officers. While not required, cultivators may also want to place 4’ banners with their local and/or state permit and license numbers on them in visible positions on the ground so law enforcement can see them clearly from helicopters.
 
We will continue to provide fact-based information as it comes in and are committed to creating a safe space for you to share your concerns.
 
For future updates please follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MendoCGA/) Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/mendocga/) and join our mailing list at http://mendocannabis.com/.
 
The Mendocino Cannabis Alliance serves and promotes Mendocino County’s world-renowned cannabis cultivators and businesses through sustainable economic development, education and public policy initiatives.

MCA press release from July 10, 2019.

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Deadly bat fungus appears in California for the first time https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/07/deadly-bat-fungus-appears-in-california-for-the-first-time/ https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/07/deadly-bat-fungus-appears-in-california-for-the-first-time/#respond Mon, 08 Jul 2019 07:19:49 +0000 https://www.mendovoice.com/?p=193898 The fungus has killed millions of bats across the country.

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MENDOCINO Co., 7/8/19 — A deadly fungus that causes "White-nose Syndrome" has been killing millions of bats on the east coast and around the country over the past decade, but it has recently been detected for the first time in California, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced recently. The fungus has caused major die-offs in bat colonies across the country, and spores can be easily spread from one location to the next.

People can assist with surveillance by reporting unusual behavior they see in bats. The announcement notes, "Sick or dying bats observed during winter in the colder regions of the state should be reported to CDFW at this link.

The CDFW also requests that people who are entering caves take care to decontanimate afterwards and not transfer clothing and gear from one site to the next to avoid spreading the fungus.

Here's the full announcement from CDFW:

Deadly Bat Fungus Detected in California
Posted: 05 Jul 2019 08:58 AM PDT
The fungus that causes White-nose Syndrome (WNS), a deadly disease of bats, has been detected in low levels in California for the first time. Fungal DNA of Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) was detected in samples collected this spring from bats on private land in the Plumas County town of Chester. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have been preparing for possible detection of the fungus with partner organizations since 2009. While there is currently no indication the disease itself is affecting bat populations in California, the lab tests suggest Pd is here.
WNS awakens bats during hibernation, causing them to use energy reserves needed to survive winter, when insects they rely upon for food are not available. The fungus was first detected in New York in 2006 and spread incrementally. Bats that have contracted the disease have now been confirmed in 33 states and seven Canadian provinces. Including the recent California discovery, the fungus alone has now been detected in a total of five states.
WNS has killed millions of bats in the U.S., including more than 90 percent of the bats in some hibernation colonies. Since bats usually produce only one offspring per year, it could take decades for some populations to recover from a major die-off.
“WNS is considered one of the deadliest wildlife diseases, having killed over six million North American bats since it was discovered,” said CDFW Wildlife Veterinarian and Epidemiologist Dr. Deana Clifford. “WNS doesn’t affect human health or pets, but the ecological impacts of bat die-offs may indirectly impact agricultural systems through loss of the natural pesticide effect and nutrient cycling of bats.”
Until spring 2016, the westernmost occurrence of Pd was in eastern Nebraska. In March of that year WNS was confirmed in Washington State—1,300 miles west of the nearest known location of the fungus. How it got there is unknown; Pd spreads through physical contact with an infected bat or Pd in the environment. Because spores are persistent, people can also spread the fungus from infected areas to non-infected areas on their shoes, clothes or gear.
Surveillance for WNS has been supported by a national program administered by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin in collaboration with FWS, Northern Arizona University (NAU), and Bat Conservation International (BCI). CDFW has worked with the National Park Service Klamath Network (NPS KLMN) and others to collect swab samples from bats around California since 2016. The samples tested for the DNA signature of Pd were negative until 2018, when one sample from a little brown bat maternity colony in Chester suggested the fungus may be present at low levels. In 2019, the same site and another in Chester yielded three bats with similar low-level detections.
Dr. Alice Chung-MacCoubrey of the NPS KLMN, who led the surveillance work at Chester and several other northern California sites, said, “The detection of Pd at Chester, even at these low levels, is troubling. It has now been detected in two successive years at two different sites and with testing by both the NWHC lab and the NAU lab. In other parts of North America affected by WNS, low-level Pd detections preceded detection of the disease itself by one to four years.”
“Detection of Pd at the levels reported in Chester are possible thanks to advanced tools and surveillance networks in place today that we did not have in the years right after WNS was discovered,” said Jeremy Coleman, National White-nose Syndrome coordinator for the FWS, which leads the national response to the disease. “These very early indications that Pd is present allow for a more proactive response by local partners than what has been possible before. Just how long we’ll have before WNS emerges in California’s bats is a big unknown.”
CDFW leads the California WNS Steering Committee, a multi-agency scientific research group that has been monitoring WNS nationally since 2009. The Committee includes the FWS, NPS, U.S. Forest Service, USGS, BCI, California State Parks, U.S. Department of Defense and National Speleological Society (NSS). They developed a WNS response plan for California that outlines actions to be taken if the fungus or disease arrives in California.
“It is critically important for CDFW and our partners to follow up on these detections,” said CDFW Wildlife Ecologist Dr. Scott Osborn. “In the coming months and years, we will intensify surveillance for WNS, monitor impacts on bat populations, and assist with research on disease management. We hope disease treatment and prevention techniques currently in development will be available soon.”
Meanwhile, Osborn asks all Californians to be vigilant and cooperate with management actions that may be taken to slow the spread of WNS. People can assist with surveillance by reporting unusual behavior they see in bats. Sick or dying bats observed during winter in the colder regions of the state should be reported to CDFW at www.wildlife.ca.gov/
conservation/laboratories/
wildlife-investigations/monitoring/wns/report
.
According to Osborn, caving organizations like the NSS have helped collect important information about California’s underground bat roosts. People who enter caves and mines should follow decontamination protocols at www.whitenosesyndrome.org/
static-page/decontamination-information
, and do not transfer clothing or gear between certain sites.
Details about WNS and Pd are at www.whitenosesyndrome.org.
For photos and B-roll video, visit the White-nose Syndrome National Response Team newsroom at www.whitenosesyndrome.org/static-page/news.
Information about bat conservation is available at www.batcon.org.

Press release from CDFW.

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Go fishing for free on July 6 https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/06/go-fishing-for-free-on-july-6/ https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/06/go-fishing-for-free-on-july-6/#respond Tue, 25 Jun 2019 02:29:12 +0000 https://www.mendovoice.com/?p=188797 Teach someone how to fish on the upcoming holiday weekend!

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MENDOCINO Co., 6/24/19 — Would you rather be fishing, but didn't buy a license? Have you been meaning to teach your youngest friend how to fish? Every year, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) sets two free fishing days, to let people interested in angling try their hand without paying for a license. This year, the first free fishing day is July 6, timed for the 4th of July holiday weekend.

If you're interested in buying a license, you can purchase one online — an annual resident sport fishing license is $49.99, and a one-day one is $16.20. If you're trying to decide, you might want to go fishing for free on July 6!

Here's the full announcement from CDFW:

Mark your calendars for the first of two 2019 Free Fishing Days in California, when anyone can try their hand at angling – no fishing license required. If you would like to fish the rest of the year, you can purchase a license online through CDFW’s website.
“Free Fishing Day is a great opportunity for seasoned anglers to introduce friends and neighbors to their love of the sport,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham.
A basic annual resident sport fishing license in California currently costs $49.94, while a one-day sport fishing license costs $16.20. CDFW offers two Free Fishing Days each year – usually around the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend – when it’s legal to fish without either an annual or one-day license. This year, the first of the two Free Fishing Days falls on the Saturday of Independence Day weekend. The second will be on Saturday, Aug. 31.
All fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect. Every angler must have an appropriate report card if they are fishing for steelhead or sturgeon anywhere in the state, or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity river systems.
Anglers can review the sport fishing regulations online (www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations) or use CDFW’s mobile web site to view freshwater limits and regulations specific to a body of water (https://map.dfg.ca.gov/sportfishingregs/).
Please note: CDFW has recently been made aware of customer complaints that third party websites are offering California fishing licenses for sale at greatly inflated prices. We urge customers not to provide credit card numbers, social security numbers or any other personal information to these sites. The CDFW website, License and Revenue Branch locations and CDFW license agents are the only state-authorized sources for California fishing licenses.

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Lead-free hunting will begin across California on July 1 https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/05/lead-free-hunting-will-begin-across-california-on-july-1/ https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/05/lead-free-hunting-will-begin-across-california-on-july-1/#respond Tue, 21 May 2019 00:17:40 +0000 https://www.mendovoice.com/?p=166331 .

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MENDOCINO Co., 5/13/19 — Starting July 1, California will require all wildlife hunters to use only non-leaded ammunition.

Lead-Free Hunting Takes Effect Statewide July 1
Posted: 13 May 2019 12:42 PM PDT
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) wants to remind hunters that beginning July 1, 2019, nonlead ammunition will be required when taking wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California.
CDFW strongly recommends that hunters acquire and practice with nonlead ammunition well before heading afield, particularly in advance of upcoming big game seasons, to make sure rifles are sighted in and to understand how their firearms perform with nonlead ammunition.
The nonlead ammo requirement includes hunting on public land, private property and licensed game bird clubs, and applies to rifles, shotguns, pistols and muzzleloaders in any gauge or caliber for the take of any legal species. The nonlead ammo requirement extends to the legal take of nongame birds and mammals and includes firearms used for depredation to take species causing property damage.

The requirement does not apply to hunting with pellet rifles. Since pellet rifles are not classified as firearms, the use of lead pellets is allowed. Lead ammunition is allowed for target shooting where that activity is permitted.

California will become the first state in the nation to require nonlead ammunition for all firearms-related hunting. California’s phase-in of nonlead ammunition for hunting originated with state legislation signed into law in 2013. In 2015, the California Fish and Game Commission adopted regulations to phase in the requirement over time with full implementation July 1, 2019.

In recent years, with advances in technology and more states and the federal government restricting the use of lead hunting ammunition, manufacturers have responded with an increasing variety of nonlead ammunition offerings. Nonlead ammunition has been required for waterfowl hunting nationwide since 1991, and many California hunters already have made a voluntary change to nontoxic hunting ammunition due to health and environmental concerns.

The first California hunting seasons impacted by the lead ammunition ban include the general rabbit season, which opens statewide July 1, and the A Zone general deer season, which opens Aug. 10 along much of the California coast.

CDFW advises hunters to shop carefully when purchasing nonlead hunting ammunition, particularly from out-of-state-based sporting goods stores and other mass retailers that may stock their California outlets with lead hunting ammunition in advance of upcoming seasons.
All ammunition in a hunter’s possession may be inspected by wildlife officers. Hunters are encouraged to assist in confirming compliance by retaining and carrying in the field ammunition boxes or other packaging.
For more information, please visit CDFW’s Nonlead Ammunition in California webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/nonlead-ammunition. For in-depth research and ballistics analysis of nonlead hunting ammunition, please visit www.huntingwithnonlead.org/index.html.

CDFW press release, May 10, 2019.

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