Legislative News

BLM Seeks Public Input to Develop Northwest California Integrated Resource Management Plan (updated 5/21/22)

The Plan will update management for approximately 382,000 acres of public land in Del Norte, Siskiyou, Shasta, Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity, Tehama, and Butte counties for the next 15 to 20 years. You are welcome to comment individually or share your thoughts with the CBH/SAA Legislative Team and we will draft a comment letter to the BLM, as needed. The deadline for comment to the BLM is June 28, 2022. Click Here for more information.

CDFW Accepting 2021 Big Game Tag Returns And Preference Point Reinstatements Through April 30 (updated 4/21/22)

Time to act is limited for hunters whose hunt was affected by wildfires/land closures. Click Here for more information.

F&G Commission REJECTS Petition to Ban Bear Hunting in California

F&G Commission REJECTS Petition to Ban Bear Hunting in California (updated 4/21/22)

After nearly three hours of testimony on all sides of the issue – the California Fish and Game Commission unanimously voted to reject a petition by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to ban bear hunting in California.

Submitted to the Commission by the HSUS in December 2021, Petition 2021-027 argued that the hunting season for black bears be closed until an empirical study is conducted of the state’s black bear populations; the effects of drought and recent wildfires on the state’s bear populations are adequately studied; and the state’s bear management plan is updated.

Well aware that the best available science clearly documents that California’s black bear populations are currently in excellent condition and quite possibly at historic highs – since January, Gaines & Associates has worked closely with a sweeping coalition of state and national conservation organizations, other interest groups and grassroots advocates in strong opposition to the HSUS petition, its numerous unsubstantiated and misleading claims, and any closure of bear season in California. Our extensive efforts included, but were certainly not limited to a conservation coalition letter of opposition signed by numerous conservation organizations and submitted to the Commission in February 2022, and a second conservation coalition letter submitted to DFWin late March 2022, and countless private individuals weighing in with their opposition to the Commission and DFW via other means.

Late last week, in a detailed eleven-page response submitted to the Commission, DFW recommended that Petition 2021-027 be denied and that the bear hunting season in California be maintained. In their response to the Commission, DFW stated that “our best available science, from multiple lines of evidence, points to an abundant and stable black bear population. Hunting affects only a small fraction of that population and serves as a management tool to provide key population monitoring data that cannot be easily obtained otherwise. The Department recognizes the challenges California’s wildlife faces with increasing frequency of wildfires and prolonged drought under a changing climate regime. The Department is investing unprecedented amounts of funding to monitor, respond, and reduce the effects of these climate-related impacts to the state’s wildlife, with significantly more funding identified in the Governor’s budget for Fiscal Year 2022-23.” DFW backed their memo to the Commission today with a comprehensive presentation to the Commission by DFW Quantitative Ecologist, Brett Furnas, Ph.D., on the Department’s current research on bears and how DFW is working to “modernize” their bear population model.

It is worth noting that Commission staff joined DFW in recommending that Petition 2021-027 be denied. In a six-page letter to the Commissioners, Commission staff concluded that “the petition raises many concerns regarding extant threats to California’s bear population, including climate change (and its attendant effects) and human-caused mortality. However, the petition fails to demonstrate that these threats are significant enough to be causing current bear population declines in California, particularly in light of the Department’s analyses showing no significant reduction in bear abundances. It must be acknowledged that, in fact, some of these dynamics may be in play in California’s bear population, but there is no evidence that their effects on bears are sufficiently systemic and widespread to cause bear numbers to be falling so low as to justify a moratorium on bear hunting; there is abundant evidence to the contrary.”

We appreciate the extensive efforts and support of both DFW and Commission staff to provide the science, and thank the California Fish and Game Commission for their decision to stand by that science in making today’s decision to ensure a strong future for bear hunting and wildlife conservation in California.

California Releases Final Pathways to 30x30: Accelerating Conservation of California’s Nature and Final Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy

California Releases Final Pathways to 30x30: Accelerating Conservation of California’s Nature and Final Natural and Working Lens Climate Smart Strategy (updated 4/22/22)

Today in conjunction with Earth Day, the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) released two documents:

  1. The final Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy to advance California’s commitment to building an equitable, resilient, and carbon-neutral future through climate-focused land management
  2. The final Pathways to 30x30: Accelerating Conservation of California’s Nature strategy to support the state’s pledge to conserve 30 percent of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030 (30x30) to protect biodiversity, advance equitable access to nature and address climate change.

These forward-thinking strategies respond to Governor Newsom’s October 2020, Nature-Based Solutions Executive Order N-82-20, advancing biodiversity conservation as an administration priority and elevating the role of nature in the fight against climate change. As part of this Executive Order, California committed to the goal of conserving 30 percent of our lands and coastal waters by 2030 (30x30).

The two strategies were shaped by months of public engagement. More than 4,100 Californians engaged with the state to provide input through more than a dozen public meetings, regionally based workshops, expert topical panels on key concepts, such as equity and science, and comments on draft strategies.

Join the California Natural Resources Agency this coming Tuesday, April 26 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. Pacific Time (PT) for a presentation on the state’s final Pathways to 30x30: Accelerating Conservation of California’s Nature and final Natural and Working Lands Smart Climate Strategy documents. We look forward to discussing highlights and next steps. Spanish interpretation will be provided (Se proporcionará interpretación al español).

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