Animals

Monday, February 24, 2020

Caution Urged After Mountain Lion Spotted at CR

Posted By on Mon, Feb 24, 2020 at 10:59 AM

College of the Redwoods is alerting staff and students about a mountain lion sighting. - CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE/FILE
  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife/File
  • College of the Redwoods is alerting staff and students about a mountain lion sighting.
College of the Redwoods is cautioning students and staff to “take care” near the Creative Arts Building and Botanical Gardens after a “large mountain lion” was spotted around 9:10 a.m. today, according to a Facebook post.

In an alert sent out, those on campus were asked to be “observant and cautious while in the area” and to report any further sightings to the CR Police Department at (707) 476-4111.

The school also provided a link to the California Department Fish and Wildlife website about mountain lions and living in the animal’s territory, which notes that attacks on humans are rare. 
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Friday, December 27, 2019

Buzzkill on Roadkill: New Law Doesn't Allow for Collecting Killed Game, Yet

Posted By on Fri, Dec 27, 2019 at 12:50 PM

Remember all the buzz about Senate Bill 395 giving folks the chance to take home a side of roadkill and whip up a dinner? Well, that’s not quite how it works, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In a recent release, the department notes that while the law was “enacted with the intent to eventually make available for utilization the roadkill meat of deer, elk, pronghorn antelope or wild pig,” there are still some more steps to bring that to fruition and it is “still illegal to collect or possess roadkill animals and violators could face citation, even after Jan. 1, 2020.”

Blacktail deer. Photo courtesy of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wilflife.
  • Blacktail deer. Photo courtesy of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wilflife.
What the law did was authorize the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission to adopt regulations for a program that would allow for the utilization of game animals found on a road or highway. That would take place “in consultation” with the California Department of Transportation, California Highway Patrol and the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

"Many Californians think it will be legal to possess and utilize roadkill on Jan. 1, which is the technical effective date of the Wildlife Traffic Safety Act, but that's not the case," said David Bess, CDFW deputy director and chief of the Law Enforcement Division. "There is no collection or utilization program in place. We are trying to avoid any confusion by misinformed citizens who think it is lawful to collect roadkill animals."

Read the full CDWF release below:


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Friday, December 20, 2019

Crab Season to Start Dec. 31

Posted By on Fri, Dec 20, 2019 at 12:25 PM

It's finally happening. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • It's finally happening.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today the news so many have been waiting to hear: The commercial crab season for Humboldt County will start Dec. 31.

After being delayed twice while waiting for the crab to fatten up a bit, fishermen can now begin setting gear in local waters on Dec. 28.

“Dungeness crab quality test results from Dec. 17, 2019 met the minimum guidelines established by the Tri-State Dungeness Crab Committee,” the release states. “Director Charlton H. Bonham had announced a delay to Dec. 31 based on the last round of tests conducted on Dec. 3, 2019, but with these new results no additional delay is warranted.”

Read the full CDFW release below:


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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

No Local Crab Before the New Year

Posted By on Tue, Dec 10, 2019 at 4:52 PM

Another crab season, another delay. - C. JUHASZ/CDFW WEBSITE
  • C. Juhasz/CDFW website
  • Another crab season, another delay.
The commercial Dungeness crab season off of Humboldt, Mendocino and Del Norte counties has been delayed again at least until Dec. 31 due quality tests that “continue to show crab are below the minimum testing guidelines.”

According to a California Department of Fish and Wildlife release, another round of testing will take place around Dec. 20 to determine whether the New Year’s Eve opening is a go or another delay until Jan. 15 is in order.

“No vessel may take or land crab in an area closed for a meat quality delay (i.e., Fish and Game districts 6, 7, 8 and 9),” the release states. “In addition, any vessel that takes, possesses onboard or lands crab from ocean waters outside of a delayed area is prohibited from participating in the crab fishery in the delayed area for 30 days following the opening of that area.”

In other news, CDFW reports a warning on sports caught crab in the Shelter Cove to Point Arena zone was lifted after new tests show the level of domoic acid at low to undetectable levels in the area.

“Although there are currently no areas under an active health advisory for Dungeness crab in the state, CDPH recommends consumers follow best practices to avoid any inadvertent exposure to domoic acid that might be sporadically found in the crab viscera,” the release states.

The Sonoma County and south commercial fishery, which had been delayed due to concerns about marine life entanglements, will open Dec. 15.

Read the CDFW update below:


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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Lone Swan Graces Benbow

Posted By on Wed, Dec 4, 2019 at 11:03 AM

The swan at Benbow. - TALIA ROSE
  • Talia Rose
  • The swan at Benbow.
A lone swan is swimming on the Eel River at Benbow.
Though swans are not unknown in the area, it is somewhat rare to see one in Southern Humboldt. The swans breed and raise their young in Arctic areas at the tip of the North American continent. Then they migrate south to winter on estuaries found along the coast of California and on the rice fields and wild wetlands in the Central Valley.
TALIA ROSE
  • Talia Rose
This single bird though has drifted down to float like a solitary snowflake on the
Eel River near the Benbow Inn. Local wildlife photographer Talia Rose was also able to capture some shots of the graceful bird, saying on her Facebook page County Line Wild that the swan had been at the location for a few days.

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Monday, November 18, 2019

Crab Quality Delays Commercial Season Opening

Posted By on Mon, Nov 18, 2019 at 12:46 PM

Another crab season, another delay. - C. JUHASZ/CDFW WEBSITE
  • C. Juhasz/CDFW website
  • Another crab season, another delay.
The commercial crab season for Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties is being delayed due to “poor crab meat quality tests,” according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

But there’s still hope for crab by New Year's,  if not Christmas.

In a Nov. 15 memo, CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham wrote that “quality tests conducted on Nov. 3, 2019, indicate the crabs will not be ready for harvest on Dec. 1, 2019.”

For now, the season is pushed back to Dec. 16. Another round of testing will take to place around Dec. 1 to determine if the crabs have fattened up enough, otherwise the start date could be delayed again until Dec. 31.

“The season can be delayed no later than Jan. 15, which is what happened in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons,” the CDFW release notes.


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Friday, November 15, 2019

Briceland Road Closure May Not Be Needed

Posted By on Fri, Nov 15, 2019 at 1:17 PM

A culvert area in Whitmore Grove west of Redway is failing and undercutting the asphalt. - PHOTO PROVIDED BY SUPERVISOR ESTELLE FENNELL
  • Photo provided by Supervisor Estelle Fennell
  • A culvert area in Whitmore Grove west of Redway is failing and undercutting the asphalt.
Steve Finch, the county of Humboldt’ road division manager, hopes the Briceland road closure might not have to happen.

The culprit, a failing culvert on Briceland Thorn Road just west of Redway, had State Parks and the county for ways to make the repairs, which originally included making upgrades on the only available detour — Old Briceland Road — then closing Briceland Thorn Road for an estimated two weeks of work.

While one of the most traveled rural roads in Humboldt County was closed for repairs, traffic would be diverted to Old Briceland Road, where improvements are currently underway.

Finch said that the county has a new proposal for the collapsing culvert that could keep Briceland Thorn Road open while it is being worked on, allowing one lane traffic to pass through the area during construction.

Finch believes that after repairing the culvert bed with concrete, a PVC liner can be used to repair the pipe.

New traffic signals for one lane traffic control were scheduled to be put in place today. Then, on Saturday, workers will begin digging on the failed culvert, removing a section.

After filling the voids in the damaged culvert, about two days of work, crews will then pull a flat liner made of PVC-type material through the culvert.
“They heat it up with steam until it is like a noodle,” Finch said.

The liner is then expanded to fill the existing pipe area. Afterward, cold air is pumped through the “noodle,” which fixes the liner into the new shape. This will take another day, he said.

“One lane, with this plan, will always stay open,” Finch said, adding it will cut the previous up to one-hour delays down to just minutes.

“If this option goes as planned, we will only have to keep one lane closed in [Whittemore Grove],” states a press release issued by the County. This means traffic will not have to be rerouted over Old Briceland Road.

“If this does not work, we will have to go to Plan B, which is a full road closure for approximately 10 days,” the press release notes.

Finch is very hopeful though. “I believe it will work,” he said.
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Thursday, November 14, 2019

CHP, Sheriff's Office Upping the Enforcement Ante on Driving Around Livestock

Posted By on Thu, Nov 14, 2019 at 10:04 AM

Cattle on Old Briceland Road will have to share their grazing ground with impatient travelers later this month. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MARIANNE ODISIO
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF MARIANNE ODISIO
  • Cattle on Old Briceland Road will have to share their grazing ground with impatient travelers later this month.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and CHP are jointly “beefing up” (their words, not ours) enforcement around and awareness of driving on county roads with livestock crossings.

According to a release, both agencies “CHP have received numerous reports of livestock being struck by motorists” over the last year.

“As a rural county, several Humboldt County roads have easements granting the public passage through otherwise private lands; some of these lands being livestock pastures,” the release states.

“On county roads with easements, livestock have the right of way. While a fence is still needed to keep them on their property, it is not needed to keep them off the section of the road running through the property (often marked by cattle guards).
This does not apply to state highways, where a lawful fence is required, and livestock are not permitted to freely cross,” it continues.

One of the roads where this might occur is Old Briceland Road, which is receiving an upgrade to act as a detour for when the county starts repairs on Briceland Thorn Road, likely at the end of month.

As Marianne Odisio — who delivers mail in the area — says in this week’s JournalRough Road Ahead," Old Briceland Road runs through the working cattle ranch and this is calving season.
Calves from a previous year watching a vehicle pass along Old Briceland Road. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MARIANNE ODISIO
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF MARIANNE ODISIO
  • Calves from a previous year watching a vehicle pass along Old Briceland Road.
"For the first few days of a calf's life, they are pretty clueless about vehicles," she said, adding that she’s also worried about the safety of domestic animals and wildlife in the area. "Sometimes ... a newborn calf will be standing on its wobbly little newborn legs in the middle of the road and you will have to slow down or stop until they get safely out of your way."

The release also notes that a driver can face hit and run charges for leaving the scene after striking livestock.

Read the full HCSO and CHP release below:


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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Gray Whale Found Washed Up on Agate Beach

Posted By on Wed, Nov 6, 2019 at 3:20 PM

This photo of the gray whale washed up on Agate Beach was taken under permits NOAA 19091-01 and CA Parks 18-828-52 . - SUBMITTED BY DAWN GOLEY
  • Submitted by Dawn Goley
  • This photo of the gray whale washed up on Agate Beach was taken under permits NOAA 19091-01 and CA Parks 18-828-52 .
A gray whale was discovered washed up on Agate Beach yesterday amid an elevated number of strandings along the west coast of North America this year that has scientists working to uncover the reason for the anomaly.

The adult male’s beaching comes about two weeks after a humpback whale that was found entangled in fishing nets on Samoa beach, resulting in the animal being euthanized after a specialist determined the female would not be able to survive the trauma.

NOAA Fisheries recently declared what is known as an "Unusual Mortality Event," freeing up resources and triggering a multi-faceted scientific review to figure out why gray whales are dying at higher than normal rates.

Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 212 stranding were been reported along the coast from Mexico to Alaska, with 121 occurring in a U.S., including 34 in California, according to NOAA’s gray whale Unusual Mortality Event” page.

NOAA
  • NOAA
Dawn Goley, a zoology professor at Humboldt State University and director of the Marine Mammal Education and Research Program and the HSU Marine Mammal Stranding Program, says the parks service reported this most recent beaching.

A team has taken blubber samples and other measurements to be sent to NOAA to help determine the cause of death, although — in this particular case — the whale was already well into the decomposition stage, making it harder to pinpoint why the animal died.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Watch Out for Wandering Wildlife in the Roadways

Posted By on Wed, Sep 18, 2019 at 10:57 AM

A school bus traveling north toward Orick gives students a little extra study time as elk cross U.S. Highway 101 near Big Lagoon. - FILE
  • File
  • A school bus traveling north toward Orick gives students a little extra study time as elk cross U.S. Highway 101 near Big Lagoon.

Wildlife is on the move this time of year, which means drivers need to be even more cautious while traveling the region’s rural roads and highways.

According to a joint release from Caltrans and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, vehicle-wildlife collisions “typically peak” this time of year, when animals are migrating to their winter haunts or preparing for hibernation.

“It is vital that drivers be especially alert now through December to avoid collisions with wild animals,” the release states. “These crashes not only harm wildlife, but they can damage vehicles and cause injury and death to drivers and passengers.”

California Highway Patrol stats show 15 people died and 810 people were injured in 4,368 collisions with animals on state, county and local roadways throughout California between 2017 and 2018.

“From September through December, wildlife often exhibit natural behaviors that can increase their movements and activity nearer to humans and roadways,” CDFW Conflict Programs coordinator Vicky Monroe said in the release. “That makes large animals such as deer, bears and mountain lions more likely to be killed or injured by wildlife-vehicle collisions.”

This young deer was rescued after its mother was killed by a car. - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • This young deer was rescued after its mother was killed by a car.
Read the release from Caltrans and CDFW below:


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