Natural Resources and Science

Natural Resources and Science

News articles ranging from water and energy issues, and restoration projects to science and technology are found here.

According to a press release from the Cailfornia Department of Fish and Wildlife, dated Feb., 21, 2013:
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is announcing several changes to recreational groundfish regulations that apply to state waters, zero to three miles from shore. The new recreational regulations were adopted by the Fish and Game Commission and will take effect on March 1, 2013. “Department staff worked closely with the public for more than four years to implement this change,” said Marci Yaremko, State/Federal Fisheries Program Manager. “Allowing retention of shelf rockfish inside the CCAs when the groundfish season is open will reduce discarding without impacting cowcod. It also simplifies regulations by allowing shelf rockfish take and retention both inside and outside the CCAs.” Additionally, anglers will now have the ability to retain shelf rockfish while fishing inside the Cowcod Conservation Areas (CCAs) in waters shallower than 20 fathoms. Take and possession of bronzespotted rockfish, canary rockfish, cowcod and yelloweye rockfish will remain prohibited statewide.

Other changes to regulations pertain to bocaccio rockfish and include:

  • An increase in the sub-bag limit to three fish within the 10-fish Rockfish, Cabezon, Greenling (RCG) complex bag limit.
  • Removal of the minimum size limit and fillet length limit.  

The open season dates and allowable fishing depths for the recreational Groundfish Management Areas are as follows:

  • Northern – open May 15 through Oct. 31, in 20 fathoms (120 feet) or less.
  • Mendocino - open May 15 through Labor Day, in 20 fathoms (120 feet) or less.
  • San Francisco - open June 1 through Dec. 31, in 30 fathoms (180 feet) or less.
  • Central- open May 1 through Dec. 31, in 40 fathoms (240 feet) or less.
  • Southern – open March 1 through Dec. 31, in 50 fathoms (300 feet) or less.

For more information about recreational groundfish regulations and to stay informed of inseason changes, please call the Recreational Groundfish Hotline at (831) 649-2801 or check the CDFW Marine Region website at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine.

Additional Resources:

Friday, February 15, 2013

Criticism at Green Diamond public meeting

Written by

KMUD News has been following the recent flurry of criticism surrounding Green Diamond Resource Company's logging practices, including their timber harvest plan for the Strawberry Rock area near Trinidad, California. Recently Green Diamond hosted a public meeting to discuss their current  plans, and KMUD covered the event.

Use the player below to hear more on this story, including a report from KMUD News Correspondent Eric Black. This audio includes coverage of the meeting held by Green Diamond on Wed., Feb. 13, at the Bayside Grange, updating the public on Green Diamond's current plans. This story was aired by KMUD News Cordinator, Christina Aanestad, on the KMUD Local News, Feb., 14, 2013.

Click here for a map showing the location of Strawberry Rock.

Underwater sounds generated from U.S. Naval testing and training activities off the coasts of California and Hawaii, and on the high seas of the Pacific Ocean, may have negative consequences for marine mammals. The degree to which this acoustic impact is harmful is a subject of controversy involving the Navy, NOAA-Fisheries Service, and environmental groups.

Public comments on the issue will be accepted by NOAA Fisheries through March 11, 2013. Comments should be addressed to:
P. Michael Payne, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division
Office of Protected Resources
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring MD 20910-3225

Electronic comments can be sent via the Federal eRulemaking Portal:http://www.regulations.gov, using the identifier 0648-BC52.

Use the player below to hear more on this issue, including an interview with a representatives from NOAA Fisheries and The Center for Biological Diversity. This story was aired by KMUD News Coordinator, Terri Klemetson, on the Wed., Feb. 6, 2013 edition of the KMUD Local News.

Additional resources:

According to a recent press release from NOAA:
NOAA’s Fisheries Service is seeking comments for a proposed rule requiring the United States Navy to implement protective measures during training and testing activities off the coasts of California and Hawaii and on the high seas of the Pacific Ocean to reduce the chances of harming marine mammals.

The Navy has requested an authorization under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, because the mid-frequency sound generated by active sonar, the sound and pressure generated by detonating explosives, and other associated activities may affect the behavior of some marine mammals, cause a temporary loss of their hearing sensitivity or other injury.

NOAA’s Fisheries Service recently made a preliminary determination that these effects would have a negligible effect on the species or stocks involved.  Based on that preliminary determination, it does not necessarily expect the exercises to result in serious injury or death to marine mammals, and proposes that the Navy use mitigation measures to avoid injury or death.

However, exposure to sonar in certain circumstances has been associated with the stranding of some marine mammals, and some injury or death may occur despite the best efforts of the Navy. Therefore, the proposed authorization allows for a small number of incidental mortalities to marine mammals from sonar, as well as vessel strikes and explosions.

Under the authorization, the Navy would have to follow mitigation measures to minimize effects on marine mammals, including:

  • establishing marine mammal mitigation zones around each vessel using sonar;
  • using Navy observers to shut down sonar operations if marine mammals are seen within designated mitigation zones;
  • using mitigation zones to ensure that explosives are not detonated when animals are detected within a certain distance;
  • implementing a stranding response plan that includes a training shutdown provision in certain circumstances, and allows for the Navy to contribute in-kind services to NOAA’s Fisheries Service if the agency has to conduct a stranding response and investigation; and,
  • designating a Humpback Whale Cautionary Area to protect high concentrations of humpback whales around Hawaii during winter months.

These measures should minimize the potential for injury or death and significantly reduce the number of marine mammals exposed to levels of sound likely to cause temporary loss of hearing. Additionally, the proposed rule includes an adaptive management component that requires that the Navy and NOAA’s Fisheries Service meet yearly to discuss new science, Navy research and development, and Navy monitoring results to determine if modifications to mitigation or monitoring measures are appropriate.  

NOAA’s Fisheries Service and the Navy have worked to develop a robust monitoring plan to use independent, experienced vessel-based marine mammal observers (as well as Navy observers), and passive acoustic monitoring to help better understand how marine mammals respond to various levels of sound and to assess the effectiveness of mitigation  measures. Additionally, an Integrated Comprehensive Monitoring Plan being developed by the Navy (with input from NOAA’s Fisheries Service) will better prioritize monitoring goals and standardize data collection methods across all U.S. range complexes.  

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels at http://www.noaa.gov/socialmedia.

Late in January KMUD Community Journalist, Bob Froehlich, obtained permission from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to accompany Fisheries Technician, Ryan Spencer, on a Coho Salmon survey in the lower part of Little Sprowel Creek. Spencer works for Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, an agency established by Congress in 1947 to help resource agencies and the fishing industry sustainably manage Pacific Ocean resources. This agency contracts with DFW to assist with their current South Fork Eel River Coho Population Estimate Project. Little Sprowel Creek is a tributary of Sprowel Creek which itself flows into the South Fork of the Eel River. The mouth of Little Sprowel Creek is located about four miles southwest of Garberville.

An edited version (7 min.) of the field interview was aired on KMUD Local News on February 5, 2013.

Use the player below to hear the extended (25 min.) interview.

Fisheries Technician, Ryan Spencer, along Little Sprowel Creek


Vortex of water flowing under log obstruction (left) and potential likely redd building area in Little Spowel Creek (right)






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