Posted on Categories Habitats, Water, WildlifeTags , , , , , ,

New multispecies plan provides roadmap to salmon and steelhead recovery

October 13, 2016, NOAA FISHERIES
NOAA Recovery Plan for Chinook and Steelhead
Millions of wild salmon and steelhead once returned to California’s north and central coastal watersheds. Development over the last 100 years and the conversion of forestlands to urban and agricultural use led to the decline of these populations. From 1997 to 2000, California Coastal Chinook salmon, Northern California steelhead, and Central California Coast steelhead were listed under the federal Endangered Species Act as species threatened with extinction.

Chinook salmon in the Eel River. Photo: Cathy Myers

Today, NOAA Fisheries released its final plan to recover these species by addressing the threats they face and restoring the ecosystem on which they depend. The recovery plan strategically targets restoration efforts to the needs of salmon and steelhead throughout each of their life stages, from their time as juveniles in freshwater habitat, through their maturation in the ocean, and their return to streams to spawn. Using this framework, the plan seeks to improve estuarine and riparian habitat conditions, restore floodplains and stream channels, enhance stream flows and improve fish passage across 8 million acres of California’s north and central coast.
With science at its foundation, the plan provides for the biological needs of fish. A technical team of scientists, led by NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, developed criteria that will ensure the species persists over the long-term. The criteria address such attributes as population size and reproductive success rates, as well as sufficient geographic distribution and genetic diversity. The idea is to target on-the-ground actions to the needs of fish throughout their life cycle to restore robust populations across the landscape.
Read more at: New multispecies plan provides roadmap to salmon and steelhead recovery :: NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region

Posted on Categories Habitats, WildlifeTags , , ,

How the Endangered Species Act sets species on paths to recovery

Plans set in motion decades ago to save US species are seeing results, with more delistings from the 1973 Endangered Species Act under the Obama administration than under all previous administrations since the act’s inauguration.
Species are going extinct about 1,000 times faster than if humans weren’t part of the equation, according to Stuart Pimm’s 2014 research published in the journal Science. As such, many scientists now proclaim that Earth is experiencing its sixth great extinction.
“I hate that we concentrate on all the gloom and despair,” says Dr. Pimm, a conservation ecologist at Duke University, bemoaning his own research. “I think the story is that we are now becoming very successful at finding solutions. We’re learning how to do this craft we call conservation.”
And the numbers suggest that he’s right.
Under the Obama administration, 28 endangered or threatened species have recovered sufficiently to be removed from the endangered species list – more than under all other administrations combined since the Endangered Species Act (ESA) became law in 1973, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Read more at: How the Endangered Species Act sets species on paths to recovery

Posted on Categories Land Use, WildlifeTags , , Leave a comment on U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service releases voluntary recovery plan for California Tiger Salamander and three vernal plant species

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service releases voluntary recovery plan for California Tiger Salamander and three vernal plant species

A 50-year recovery plan for endangered species in the Santa Rosa Plain, including the California tiger salamander, will require the purchase of thousands of acres of habitat from Cotati to Windsor and continued study at a cost of $436 million.
That’s according to officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which recently released a draft plan for recovery of the imperiled amphibian and three plants — Sonoma sunshine, Burke’s goldfields and Sebastopol meadowfoam.
The plan, part of a settlement agreement with the Arizona- based Center for Biological Diversity, is recommended to ensure survival of the species.
“The salamander is suffering so many threats pushing it to the brink of extinction,” Collette Adkins Giese, a senior attorney with the center, said Friday. “We need to do everything we can to make sure they don’t vanish.”
Fish and Wildlife officials are seeking comment on the 146-page document, both in writing and at a public hearing in mid-January, before finishing it in about 18 months. Comments will be accepted through Feb. 9, spokeswoman Sarah Swenty said.

The exact time and place for the hearing has not been set, she said.

Swenty said the actions suggested in the plan are voluntary and not regulatory in nature. She compared it to a recently adopted $1.24 billion tidal marsh recovery plan for Northern and Central California.

“Basically, we are describing what the species need,” said Josh Hull, a recovery division chief for Fish and Wildlife.

Read more via 50-year plan recommends spending $463M to save species | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories Water, WildlifeTags , , , , Leave a comment on Feds call for study of marijuana industry’s effects on salmon

Feds call for study of marijuana industry’s effects on salmon

Following years of warnings from state Fish and Wildlife and forestry officials, the federal government this week called for further study of the effects of marijuana cultivation on threatened salmon populations in pot-rich areas like Northern California’s Emerald Triangle, which includes Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties.
The recommendations by federal fisheries officials were included in a document released Tuesday that lays out plans to rehabilitate 40 populations of threatened coho salmon in a wide geographic range that includes about 10,000 miles of streams and 13 million acres in southern Oregon and Northern California, including parts of Mendocino and Lake counties.
“We identified marijuana as one of the activities that contributes to the problems” fish face in some regions, said Julie Weeder, the recovery coordinator for the Northern California division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries division, commonly called the National Marine Fisheries Service, which published the report.
The comprehensive, estimated 2,200-page report proposes some 3,000 recovery actions. There are about a half-dozen “highest priority recovery actions” for each of the 40 coho populations addressed in the plan. The top of the action list for rehabilitating fish populations in the Eel River system in Lake, Mendocino and Humboldt counties includes studying the effects of the marijuana industry on the fish and taking unspecified action to minimize its effects if necessary. There are no specific mitigation plans listed for pot because its effects need further study, Weeder said.
Some marijuana mitigations are already included in other recommended actions, such as stopping unauthorized water diversions from streams and rivers, Weeder said. Many illegal pot growers buy, rent or trespass and illegally divert water from streams that feed the threatened watersheds.
Southern Oregon/Northern California Coho Salmon Recovery Plan
via Feds call for study of marijuana industry’s effects | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories Water, WildlifeTags , , , , Leave a comment on New plan lays framework for recovering threatened coho salmon

New plan lays framework for recovering threatened coho salmon

Fall 2014, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
Watersheds throughout southern Oregon and northern California once supported thriving runs of coho salmon. From Oregon’s Elk River to California’s Mattole River, thousands of coho returned to spawn in the Rogue, Klamath, and Trinity rivers and numerous coastal basins.
Over the course of several decades, land use practices drastically changed the landscape and altered the once healthy habitat coho relied on. Today, riparian forest and freshwater habitats are a fraction of their historical size, and what remains is significantly degraded. The effects of historical timber harvest and agriculture, together with migratory barriers, hatchery operations, fisheries, and mining practices, contributed to the decline of coho salmon. In 2005, NOAA Fisheries listed Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast (SONCC) coho salmon as a “threatened” species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
A concerted regional effort to recover coho culminated in NOAA Fisheries’ adoption of the ESA Recovery Plan for Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast Coho Salmon this month. This recovery plan is the product of a multi-year, collaborative process that included tribes, federal, state, and local governments, industry, environmental groups, and the public. The plan integrates recovery planning efforts in both California and Oregon, specifically the State of California’s 2005 strategy to recover coho salmon, and the 2010 report on threats facing the species prepared by an expert panel of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The federal plan serves as a framework to recover the species’ 40 populations across California and Oregon. It provides an informed, strategic, and voluntary approach that is based on the best available science and meets the standards of the ESA. Perhaps one of the plan’s greatest contributions is that it helps to organize on-the-ground action across a very broad geography – two states, 13 counties, and some 13 million acres of land.
So what must be done to recover coho salmon? The plan is based on the premise that ecological conditions must improve and human-induced threats reduced. The plan identifies strategies for each life stage of coho salmon – from their time as juveniles in freshwater habitat, through their maturation in marine waters, and their return to natal spawning beds.
The plan calls for restoring riparian forest conditions by improving land use practices; restoring floodplains and channel structure by increasing the amount of large wood in streams, re-establishing off-channel habitats, and reconfiguring dikes and levees; improving stream flows by changing the timing or volume of water releases and reducing diversions; restoring passage for coho by renovating dams, culverts, and other barriers; and restoring estuarine habitat, among a suite of additional actions.
Implementing these actions will provide substantial benefits to local communities. Habitat restoration, for example, creates jobs at a level comparable to traditional infrastructure investments, such as road and water projects. Restored habitat also improves water supplies, reduces property damage from flooding, and limits risks associated with high severity fire, among other recreational and cultural benefits. As we look to the future, restored coho runs opens the potential for fisheries we haven’t seen in decades. As coho returns improve, fisheries revenues will too.
Completing this plan is a strategic step in the recovery of coho salmon, but it is just the beginning. This plan provides a path forward, one that is based on sound science, and it is up to all of us – federal, state, tribal, and local partners – to implement the plan and fulfill its goals. NOAA Fisheries looks forward to working with current and new partners to recover coho and restore the benefits that healthy and abundant coho runs will provide to local communities throughout southern Oregon and northern California.
LEARN MORE about coho salmon recovery in southern Oregon and northern California
VIEW the recovery plan
via New plan lays framework for recovering threatened coho salmon :: NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region.