NEWS WORTH NOTING: Wildlife Conservation Board funds environmental improvement and acquisition projects; Harmful algal bloom season beginning in California’s waterways; Weekly water and climate update: Western drought intensifies and expands

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

From the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

At its May 24 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $13 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 12 approved projects will benefit fish and wildlife—including some endangered species—while others will provide public access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, landowners and the local community.

Funding for these projects comes from a combination of sources including the Habitat Conservation Fund and bond measures approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources.

Funded projects include:

Click here to read list of funded projects
  • $186,250 in two grants to the Mojave Desert Land Trust to acquire approximately 367 acres of land from two separate owners for the protection of desert habitat corridors in the Morongo Basin, near the community of Joshua Tree in San Bernardino County.
  • A $600,000 grant to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) for a cooperative project with the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Food and Agriculture to implement a large scale Nutria eradication project in riparian corridors and associated wetland habitats located in various Central Valley counties of the San Joaquin Valley and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
  • A $610,000 grant to the Pacific Forest Trust for a cooperative project with the California Department of Transportation and CDFW to acquire a forest conservation easement over approximately 1,346 acres of land for protection of working forest lands, forest reserve areas, watersheds, fisheries and habitat linkages near the town of McCloud in Siskiyou County.
  • A $2,440,000 in-fee acquisition of approximately 5,849 acres of land by CDFW for the protection of critical cold water aquatic habitat for a variety of anadromous fish species, including the state and federally listed coho salmon, the protection of migration corridors vital to many plant, bird and mammal species, and to provide ongoing dryland grazing and future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities near Montague in Siskiyou County.
  • A $4.4 million grant to The Nature Conservancy for a cooperative project with CalFire, the State Coastal Conservancy and the California Natural Resources Agency to acquire a conservation easement on approximately 23,681 acres of native forest habitats, including redwood, Douglas fir and Grand fir in the upland zones, and mature red alder forests within the riparian zone along the Ten Mile River. The easement is needed to preserve wildlife area linkages, provide habitat to numerous wildlife species, and reduce soil erosion and sustain water quality near Fort Bragg in Mendocino County.
  • A $950,000 grant to the National Forest Foundation for a cooperative project with U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to thin approximately 230 acres of forest, five miles southwest of Tahoe City in Placer County.
  • A $511,000 grant to the California Waterfowl Association for a cooperative project with the City of Woodland and Explorit to enhance and restore approximately 20 acres of wetlands at the Woodland Regional Park, approximately five miles southeast of the City of Woodland.
  • A $1.6 million grant to the Trust for Public Land for a cooperative project with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to acquire approximately 51 acres of land for the protection of threatened and endangered species, riparian and floodplain habitat along the Santa Clara River and to provide the potential for wildlife-oriented public use opportunities near Acton in Los Angeles County.

For more information about the WCB please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

Harmful Algal Bloom Season Beginning in California’s Lakes, Rivers and Streams

From the State Water Board:

With the summer season nearing and recreational activities about to ramp up on the state’s lakes, rivers and streams, the State Water Board is reminding the public to be aware of harmful algal blooms (HABs).

Algae and cyanobacteria, the organisms that cause HABs, have existed for billions of years as essential components of freshwater ecosystems. But when certain conditions favor their growth – warm temperatures, stagnant water flows, excessive nutrient inputs – they can multiply very rapidly creating “blooms.” These blooms can produce toxins, and taste and odor compounds, that pose health risks to humans and animals. When blooms pose a risk, they are referred to as harmful algal blooms (HABs).

While visiting your local lake or river, be aware that toxins can be present even though a bloom is not visible. Heed all advisory signs posted near water bodies. To check if a bloom was reported, contact the water manager or visit the HAB Reports Map.

Dogs and children are most likely to be affected by HABs because of their smaller body size and tendency of playing in the water for longer periods. Dogs are especially susceptible because they swallow more water while swimming and during other activities like retrieving a ball from the water, and are less deterred by unsightly, smelly water that may contain harmful toxins.

It is important to distinguish cyanobacteria (often referred to as “blue-green algae”) from green algae and other non-toxic water plants that are not thought to pose potential hazards to health. HABs can be a variety of colors such as green, white, red or brown and may look like thick paint floating on the water. Cyanobacteria blooms have a grainy, sawdust-like appearance of individual colonies.

People can help prevent blooms in our waters by taking the following measures:

  • Be conservative with use of water, fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn, garden or small farm
  • Pick up pets’ waste
  • Plant or maintain native vegetation around the water’s edge

The California Water Boards recommend that people practice healthy water habits while enjoying the outdoors this summer at your local lake, river or stream:

  • Heed all instructions on posted advisories if present
  • Avoid algae and scum in the water and on the shore
  • Keep an eye on children and pets (dogs)
  • If you think a HAB is present, do not let pets and other animals go into or drink the water, or eat scum/algal accumulations on the shore
  • Don’t drink the water or use it for cooking
  • Wash yourself, your family and your pets with clean water after water play
  • If you catch fish, throw away guts and clean fillets with tap water or bottled water before cooking
  • Avoid eating shellfish if you think a HAB is present

For more information, including what to look for, please visit: California Harmful Algal Blooms Portal at http://www.mywaterquality.ca.gov/habs/

Weekly Water and Climate Update: Western drought intensifies and expands

From the NRCS:

The 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.

There is an ongoing intensification of the drought conditions in the southern Plains and Southwest. Conditions are especially severe in the Four Corners area, central Arizona, northern New Mexico, northern Texas, and western Oklahoma where these areas are designated as D4 in Exceptional Drought. The mountains in these regions received very little snow or precipitation, starting off the spring with very low streamflow.

Click here to open 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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