At its June meeting the California Fish and Game Commission acted on several issues affecting California’s natural resources. The following are just a few items of interest from the recent meeting held in Los Angeles, Saint Helena and Trinidad, with an option for the public to join via Zoom.
Regarding whether to list western Joshua tree as threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), after extensive deliberation — including two motions that did not pass due to 2-2 votes — the Commission continued the agenda item to its October meeting. In the meantime, the Commission reopened the public record for the specific purpose of further tribal consultation. The Commission also requested the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) bring to the October meeting a proposed framework for a western Joshua tree range-wide conservation plan and a report on any related legislation. Importantly, the western Joshua tree will remain protected by CESA during this period.
The Commission determined that listing Temblor legless lizard as threatened or endangered under the CESA may be warranted. This action commences a one-year status review to be completed by CDFW, during which Temblor legless lizard is protected as a candidate species.
The Commission voted unanimously to change the status of Milo Baker’s lupine from threatened to endangered under CESA.
The Commission adopted a 90-day extension of emergency regulations for low flow inland sport fishing restrictions due to drought conditions.
The Commission honored its most immediate past president, Peter Silva, for his years of service on the Commission and decades of public service under California governors, and for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama on water and natural resources issues, and wished him well in retirement spending time with his children and grandchildren. Commissioner Silva stepped down from the Commission on Feb. 18, 2022.
At the meeting in Los Angeles, Commission President Samantha Murray and Vice President Erika Zavaleta were present. Commissioner Jacque Hostler-Carmesin attended from a public location in Trinidad and Commissioner Eric Sklar attended from a public location in Saint Helena. There is one vacant position on the Commission.
The agenda for this meeting along with supporting information is available on the Commission website. The next meeting of the full Commission is scheduled for Aug. 17 and 18, 2022. Visit the Commission website for details.
The California Fish and Game Commission was one of the first wildlife conservation agencies in the United States, predating even the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries. There is often confusion about the distinction between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Commission. In the most basic terms, CDFW implements and enforces the regulations set by the Commission, as well as provides biological data and expertise to inform the Commission’s decision-making process.