News Worth Noting: Dept of Fish and Wildlife awards $16.7M to habitat and drought projects; Invasive mussels detected in the Yuba River; New Stormwater Monitoring Coalition 5-Year Fact Sheet; Weekly Water and Climate Update

Department of Fish and Wildlife awards $16.7 million to fisheries habitat restoration, forest legacy, and drought projects

From the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

dfw logoThe California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 67 projects that will receive funding for coastal salmon and steelhead habitat restoration, response to the statewide drought and forest legacy restoration.

The grants, which total $16,720,061, are distributed through CDFW’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program (FRGP) and include approximately $661,000 awarded to drought restoration projects, $2.5 million awarded for timber legacy restoration projects and $13.4 million for anadromous salmonid restoration projects. FRGP monies come from a combination of state sources and the federal Pacific Coast Salmon Restoration Fund.

In response to the February 2015 FRGP solicitation, CDFW received 143 proposals requesting more than $45 million in funding. The drought solicitation was subsequently released in June and 25 proposals were received requesting approximately $2.5 million. All proposals underwent an initial administrative review and those that passed were evaluated through a technical review process that included reviews by CDFW and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists.

The 67 approved projects will further the objectives of the state and federal recovery plans, including removing barriers to fish migration, restoring riparian habitat, monitoring of listed populations, and creating a more resilient and sustainably managed water resources system (e.g., water supply, water quality and habitat) that can better withstand drought conditions. These projects further the goals of California’s Water Action Plan and CDFW’s recently approved and awarded State Wildlife Action Plan.

The list of approved projects can be found on the FRGP website.

Invasive mussels detected in the Yuba River

From the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

dfw logoThe California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has confirmed the presence of New Zealand mudsnails in the Yuba River in both Yuba and Nevada counties. The snails have been detected at the Sycamore Ranch Park and Campground and at locations on the lower Yuba River both above and below the Highway 20 bridge crossing.

CDFW biologists confirmed the presence of snails at these locations just one week after discovering a new population in the lower Feather River. They were already known to be present in many other California lakes and river systems, including the Owens, Klamath, Russian, Lower American, Stanislaus, Merced, San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers and many of their tributaries.

“We don’t have any way to confirm that the Yuba River population originated with the Feather River population, but it’s possible,” CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Colin Purdy said. “New Zealand mudsnails are notorious for hitchhiking on waders and fishing gear. It’s critical that anyone who uses infested waters for recreational purposes be extremely vigilant about checking for snails. The more they spread, the bigger the threat to our native fish populations.”

New Zealand mudsnails are tiny, aquatic snails that reach, on average, up to 4-6 millimeters long. Dense populations of New Zealand mudsnails can displace and out-compete native species, sometimes by consuming up to half the food resources in the waterway. The snails have been linked to reduced populations of aquatic insects, including mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, chironomids and other insect groups upon which trout and salmon populations depend.

Boaters, anglers and others who may visit the Yuba or lower Feather rivers are asked to decontaminate equipment and follow the “clean, drain and dry” directive with all equipment used in the river:

  • If you wade, freeze waders and other gear overnight (at least six hours).
  • After leaving the water, inspect waders, boots, float tubes, boats and trailers or any gear used in the water. Remove any visible snails with a stiff brush and follow with rinsing. If possible, freeze or completely dry out any wet gear.
  • Never transport live fish or other aquatic plants or animals from one waterbody to another.

CDFW biologists are in the process of conducting additional sampling in adjacent waterbodies including Englebright Reservoir, New Bullards Bar Reservoir and in upstream reaches of the Yuba River in order to better define the geographic range of this new population. Target sampling areas will include high traffic areas, boat launches, access points and side channels.

To date, New Zealand mudsnails have not been identified in Englebright Reservoir or at locations of the Yuba River upstream of Englebright Reservoir.

In the coming weeks, CDFW will implement public outreach and education efforts, including information cards, brochures and signage posted at parks, campgrounds, marinas (Englebright and New Bullards Bar), bait shops and boat launches along the Yuba River and at various access points and wildlife areas.

New Stormwater Monitoring Coalition 5-Year Fact Sheet

From the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program:

swamplogoboxSWAMP and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP) are pleased to announce the release of a fact sheet summarizing the results of the first five years (2009 to 2013) of the Southern California Perennial Stream Survey, conducted as a partnership between SWAMP and the Stormwater Monitoring Coalition (SMC). Leading stormwater and regulatory agencies in the region (including the Regional Water Boards of Los Angeles, Santa Ana, and San Diego) put together a survey that is unparalleled in terms of its breadth and intensity of sampling, and did so in a highly cost-effective way.

For regulated participants, the survey offered an efficient way to assess permit compliance, and for regulatory partners, the survey provides the clearest and most comprehensive picture of the health of the region’s streams to date. For SWAMP, the survey serves as the regional component of the statewide Perennial Streams Assessment. By assessing four key biological indicators (benthic macroinvertebrates, diatoms, soft algae, and riparian wetlands), the SMC provides answers to three questions that are essential for stream management: 1) What is the biological condition of streams in the region? 2) What stressors are associated with poor condition? and 3) Are conditions changing over time?

Answers to these questions are fully described in final report, and summarized in a fact sheet. Because of the success of the survey, the SMC has committed to continuing sampling for another five years (2015 to 2019), expanding the survey to include nonperennial streams, and to improve trend detection through site revisits. For more information about the SMC, please visit www.SoCalSMC.org or contact Raphael Mazor (raphaelm@sccwrp.org).

The fact sheet is posted on the Reports and Publications page of the SWAMP Bioassessment website. The PDF can also be accessed directly by clicking here.

Weekly Water and Climate Update: Warm temperatures and rainfall reduce snowpack across the West this week

From the USDA:

water reportThe Natural Resources Conservation Service produces this weekly report using data and products from the National Water and Climate Center and other agencies. The report focuses on seasonal snowpack, precipitation, temperature, and drought conditions in the U.S.

The current snow water equivalent percent of median map shows a reduction in percent of median at many stations in the West from a week ago. Many stations in the northern part of the West are near or below median. The highest percent of median continues to be across southeast Oregon, northern California, Nevada, southern Utah, and Colorado.

Click here to read the report.

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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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