DFW proposes closing, restricting uses on more of its ‘public’ lands


By JIM MATTHEWS

www.OutdoorNewsService.com

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has scheduled four public “outreach meetings” on an extensive laundry list of designation and use changes on lands owned by the agency, none of the meetings located conveniently for most Southern California residents. The information on the one meeting in the southern half of the state (San Diego) was only posted by the DFW the day of that meeting (June 18) this past week and the second a day later (June 19) in Oroville.

The remaining two meetings are tomorrow (Monday, June 24) in Los Banos and Tuesday, June 25 in Davis.

Most of the 25 proposals for state wildlife areas and ecological reserves involve restricting or eliminating public uses, especially hunting on these properties across the state. The DFW also gave up management authority on several properties, which will likely close them to all uses.

In summary list of lands affected, “changes” frequently listed are “allow special hunts.” While this might sound like an expansion of hunting opportunity, it is in all cases exactly the opposite. On existing wildlife areas hunting during the general seasons are allowed without a more restrictive management plan. Ecological Reserves are closed to hunting (and other public uses and access) unless written into the management.

Several DFW-owned properties, currently managed as “unstaffed” wildlife areas are open to public use and hunting under the general regulations. A new designation as an ecologic reserve closes the areas to hunting and other public access until a new management plan is written. Most will not have management plans written in the near future so become closed to the public.

The DFW does not clearly explain what the changes mean to the public in any of the documentation posted on its website.

Most of lands affected are in Kern, San Luis Obispo, Inyo, Mono, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties.

More information on the proposed changes is available in a June 18 press release on the DFW’s website at this address: at https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/. Questions and comments should be directed to Julie Horenstein, Senior Environmental Scientist (Supervisor), at julie.horenstein@wildlife.ca.gov or at (916) 324-3772.

Raahauge’s takes over popular youth

event, sets this year’s date for July 20

Safari Club’s annual Youth Safari Day held at Raahauge’s Shooting Enterprizes in Corona was cancelled for 2019, and just as quickly it was revived as Raahauge’s Youth Outdoor Adventure Day (RYOAD) and the historic date of the third Saturday in July (July 20) was set for this year’s event.

“It was just too important an event to let die,” said Pat Raahauge.

The RYOAD event continues all of the activities that made the Safari Club version so popular to families in the region, exposing youth to a wide range of traditional outdoor activities increasingly not available to them in today’s urban environment.

There are activities to appeal to a wide age range of youths, from a Duck Stamp coloring contest, fishing for catfish, and a petting zoo, to BB-gun, .22 rimfire, and paintball shooting. There will also be a rock climbing wall, archery and airsoft ranges, and kayaking on ponds. There will demonstrations features retrieving dogs, cowboy action shooters, and trick shotgun shooting, and kids can take a guided nature walk in Prado Basin. Those are just the highlights.

The entry price of $15 per person (in advance, $20 at the door) includes all activities, and the event runs from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch will be available at the event, or families can bring picnic lunches. Pre-registration is recommended and may be done on-line through the Raahauge Foundation (raahaugefoundation.org). All funds raised will go back to the Foundation to fund other shooting and outdoor youth activities.

Trump Administration funds $78 million in wetland

conservation projects nationwide, $7 million in California

A total of $78 million in funds from the North American Westlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) were approved this past week, including over $7 in projects in California’s Delta and San Joaquin Valley. The projects will be used with other matching funds to purchase and/or enhance wetlands across 10,400 acres in the state.

The funding was approved by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, chaired by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. Of the funds issued, $29.4 million was allocated for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to conserve or restore more than 205,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds in 22 states throughout the United States.

NAWCA is the only federal grant program dedicated to the conservation of wetland habitats for migratory birds. Since 1989, funding has advanced the conservation of wetland habitats and their wildlife in all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico while engaging more than 6,100 partners in over 2,900 projects. This year’s grants made through the NAWCA come during the 30th anniversary of the Act. The grants will be matched by more than $77 million in partner funds nationwide. NAWCA grants ensure waterfowl and other birds are protected throughout their lifecycles.

Many birds found in the United States spend part of their time in other countries, and NAWCA provides grants to Canada and Mexico to ensure waterfowl and other birds are protected throughout their lifecycles. The commission approved $33.6 million for 17 projects in those countries.

The commission also approved more than $15.1 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to conserve 4,886 acres at five national wildlife refuges. These funds were raised largely through the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as “Duck Stamps.”

Natural wetlands in just California’s Central Valley have declined by over 90 percent from an estimated 5 million acres historically to less than 450,000 acres at the present time, and both the NAWCA and duck stamp monies have been instrumental in protecting and growing the remaining wetland habitat in the state.

END

Jim Matthews is a syndicated Southern California-based outdoor reporter and columnist. He can be reached via e-mail at odwriter@verizon.net or by phone at 909-887-3444.

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