2020 News Releases
2020 News Releases
State Parks Provides Safety Tips to Help Californians Responsibly Visit Waterways Amid Pandemic
National Safe Boating Week is May 16 – 22, 2020
California State Parks and the Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) remind water enthusiasts during National Safe Boating Week (May 16-22) how to responsibly recreate in California’s waterways this year during COVID-19. As State Parks and other park operators begin to increase access at parks and waterways in compliance with state and local public health ordinances, it is important for everyone to know how and where they can recreate, who they can go boating with, and how the use of life jackets continues to be life-saving.
“During COVID-19, it’s critical for water enthusiasts to limit the unnecessary risk not only to themselves, but to other Californians, law enforcement and first responders,” said Ramona Fernandez, DBW Acting Deputy Director. “For National Safe Boating Week this year, we’re highlighting ways Californians can prepare themselves to enjoy waterways close to home and maintain the important physical distance from others.”
Below are some COVID-19 and safety tips for this year’s boating and water season:
- Plan Ahead: Visit the webpage of your local waterway before leaving home to find out if it is open, if parking is available or if any new visitor guidelines are in place. Take a boating safety course to learn the “rules of the road” for boating.
- Stay Local: Stay close to home. Do not take road trips to California’s waterways or neighboring states. We all have the responsibility to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
- Boat Only with Your Household: Your party should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings, picnics or parties.
- Conduct a Vessel Check: Make sure you have the right safety equipment on board your boat such as life jackets, flares, navigation lights, a horn or whistle, and a first aid kit. Click here to download the virtual safety check form or to schedule a vessel safety check.
- Stay Clean: Be prepared, not all restrooms at parks or boating facilities are open. Bring soap/sanitizer, especially for use after touching a marina gate or fuel pump. And always pack out your trash.
- File a Float Plan: Email/text a float plan to a loved one or friend with details of your trip in the event of an emergency.
- Wear a Life Jacket: Everyone should wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when in or near the water. You never know when an accident may happen, and a life jacket can help save you until search and rescue help can arrive. In swift water, even the strongest swimmers may be easily overwhelmed. By the time a person is struggling in the water, a rescue is extremely unlikely and places the rescuer at risk. Learn More
- Stay Safe at Six Feet: Maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
- Avoid Alcohol: Do not drink and boat.
- Actively Supervise Children: Actively supervise children in and around open bodies of water, giving them your undivided attention. Do not assume that someone is watching them. Appoint a designated “water watcher,” taking turns with other adults. Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool: they need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather.
- Be Cautious in Rivers: Even though this year’s snowpack is below average (37 percent of the May average), rivers will continue to rise as snow melts and will be dangerously cold. Avoid these waterways. If you do fall into a river without a life jacket on, watch this video to help increase your chances of survival.
For more water safety information, including boating laws and a boating facility locator on over 1,450 marinas and waterbody managers, please visit dbw.parks.ca.gov/BoatingSafety.
State Parks has developed a one-stop COVID-19 resource center – parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve -- to find park safety and closure information. Please check this webpage regularly, as it will be updated with new information as it becomes available.
Division of Boating and Waterways Begins Control Efforts in the Delta for Aquatic Invasive Species
The Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) today announced its plans to control aquatic invasive species (AIS) in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its southern tributaries. Beginning on April 20, DBW will start herbicide treatments on floating aquatic vegetation (FAV) such as water hyacinth and alligatorweed, and submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV) such as Egeria densa and curlyleaf pondweed. Treatment start dates may change depending on weather conditions and plant growth/ movement.
These AIS have no known natural controls in the West Coast’s largest estuary, the Delta. They negatively affect the Delta’s ecosystem as they displace native plants. Continued warm temperatures help the plants proliferate at high rates. AIS such as water hyacinth are also known to form dense mats of vegetation creating safety hazards for boaters and obstructing navigation channels, marinas and irrigation systems. Due to the ability of AIS to rapidly spread to new areas, it is likely that the plants will never be eradicated from Delta waters. Therefore, DBW operates an Aquatic Invasive Plant Control Program (AIPCP) as opposed to an “eradication” program.
“Controlling these aquatic invasive plants in the Delta continues to be a challenge,” said DBW Acting Deputy Director Ramona Fernandez. “The good news is that the Division of Boating and Waterways has seen a dramatic improvement in its control efforts due to the collaboration and cooperation with public and local, state and federal partners.”
Below is a list of proposed control actions for the 2020 treatment season:
Floating Aquatic Vegetation Control Program (Public Notice)
Water hyacinth, South American spongeplant, Uruguay water primrose and alligatorweed.
- Proposed Treatment Period
- Select Area 1 Sites and Areas 2-4: Apr. 20, 2020 – Nov. 30, 2020
- All Area 1 Sites: June 1, 2020 – Nov. 30, 2020 (north of Hwy 12)
- Type of Herbicides: Glyphosate, 2,4-D, Imazamox or Penoxsulam.
- Potential Treatment Areas: Initially in and/ or around, but not limited to the following areas: San Joaquin River, Old River, Middle River, Fourteenmile Slough and Piper Slough. Map for treatment areas.
Mechanical Harvesting (If deemed necessary)
- Harvesting Dates: July 2020 – December 2020
- Mechanical Harvesting Sites: Select areas of the Delta with high infestations or coverage of water hyacinth. Map for potential mechanical harvesting control areas.
Submersed Aquatic Vegetation Control Program (Public Notice)
Egeria densa, curlyleaf pondweed, Eurasian watermilfoil, coontail/hornwort and fanwort.
Herbicide Control (Map)
- Treatment Period: Starting April 20, 2020 through November 30, 2020, treatment period based upon DBW field survey data, water temperatures and fish surveys.
- Type of Herbicide: Fluridone or Diquat.
- Potential Treatment Areas: In and/ or around the following areas (individual areas will be noticed prior to treatment application):
- Anchorages, boat ramps and marinas: B & W Resort, Delta Marina Rio Vista, Hidden Harbor Resort, Korthen Pirates Lair, New Hope Landing/Wimpyte Marina, Owl Harbor, Oxbow Marina, Rivers End, Spindrift Marina, St. Francis Yacht Club, Tiki Lagoon, Turner Cut Resort, Vieira’s Resort, Village West Marina and Willow Berm.
- Near Old River: Cruiser Haven, Delta Coves, Diablo Ski Club, Discovery Bay, Hammer Island, Piper Slough, Quin’s Island, Sandmound Slough, Taylor Slough, Italian Slough and Kings Island.
- Sacramento Area: French Island, Long Island Slough, Prospect Island, Snug Harbor, The Meadows and Washington Lake.
- Stockton Area: Atherton Cove, Calaveras River, Fourteenmile Slough, Mosher Slough and Windmill Cove.
- Antioch Area: Winter Island and Emerson Slough
This type of control method is not used for SAV. These plants spread by fragmentation. Cutting the plants back exacerbates the problem, as shreds of the plants float away and re-propagate.
A media call will be held tomorrow, April 17, to allow reporters to ask questions about the treatment plan.
WHAT: 2020 Aquatic Invasive Plant Control Program
WHEN: Friday, April 17 at 10 a.m.
WHO: Division of Boating and Waterways staff and partners.
CALL: (888) 989-3381 I Code: 9591296
DBW works with local, state and federal entities to better understand the plants and implement new integrated control strategies to increase efficacy.
All herbicides used in DBW’s AIPCP are registered for aquatic use with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Treated areas will be monitored to ensure herbicide levels do not exceed allowable limits and follow EPA-registered label guidelines. Notices were made available to the public on April 3, 2020. They may be viewed online on DBW's website.
Last year, DBW treated 3,885 acres of FAV and 2,406 acres of SAV. Mechanical harvesting efforts totaled approximately 6.49 acres. A combination of herbicide, biological and mechanical control methods were used to help control the AIS in the Delta. Infestation of FAV over the last three years has lessened due to treatment. Currently, the Delta waterways are still clear and open from FAV and SAV infestations.
The plants now are just starting to begin the early stages of growth as the weather continues to warm, which is the optimal time to begin treatment. For this year’s treatment season, it is imperative that treatment crews focus on the alligatorweed plant to control and attempt to eradicate this newest invader of the Delta. Alligatorweed breaks apart and spreads easily; each node, which is roughly the size of a Cheerio, can start a new plant.
During these trying times of COVID-19, DBW’s AIS control efforts in the Delta have been deemed essential. All staff have been trained on how to carry out their duties while following health and safety protocols. As the State of California continues to issue guidance on preparing and protecting all Californians from the pandemic disease, the California Department of Parks and Recreation is monitoring the situation closely and is following guidance provided by the Governor’s Office via the California Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
Funding for DBW’s AIPCP comes from the Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund, which receives revenues from boaters’ registration fees and gasoline taxes.
In 1982, California state legislation designated the former Department of Boating and Waterways as the lead state agency to cooperate with other state, local and federal agencies in controlling water hyacinth in the Delta, its tributaries, and the Suisun Marsh. The Egeria Densa Control Program was authorized by law in 1997 and treatment began in 2001. In 2012, spongeplant was authorized for control upon completion of the biological assessment. In 2013, the Division of Boating and Waterways was able to expand its jurisdiction to include other AIS. Uruguay water primrose, Eurasian watermilfoil, Carolina fanwort, coontail/hornwort and alligatorweed have been added to the AIPCP.
California State Parks Encourages Everyone to Help ‘Flatten the Curve at Parks’ with New Social Media Campaign
SACRAMENTO, Calif.— California State Parks today announced the launch of a new social media campaign titled “Flatten the COVID-19 Curve at Parks” to remind the public to practice social distancing when visiting state parks or any outdoor area. The website www.parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve includes important social media messages in English and Spanish that highlight safe ways to enjoy parks, such as not congregating in groups, maintaining a social distance of 6 ft. or more when recreating in the outdoors, and staying home if you are sick.
Now more than ever, State Parks understands the public’s need to enjoy the benefits of nature during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic situation. Spending time in the outdoors can lead to a number of overall health and wellness benefits like lessening anxiety, boosting creativity and getting vitamin D. This is why Governor Gavin Newsom’s “Stay at Home” order allows Californians to walk, hike and bike in the outdoors provided that people practice social distancing. If visitors cannot maintain social distancing of 6 ft. or more when recreating in the outdoors, they need to leave the park. During these difficult times, protecting park staff, volunteers, partners and visitors from the exposure to coronavirus is critical.
The department is monitoring the coronavirus situation closely and is following guidance provided by the Governor’s Office via the California Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
In response, State Parks has proactively taken the following measures:
- High public use indoor facilities -- including museums, visitor centers and cafes -- have been closed until further notice.
- Campgrounds across the state have been closed until further notice. All current reservation holders affected by the temporary closures have received a notification from ReserveCalifornia of their cancellation and refunds will be provided. State Parks appreciates the patience of the public as it moves along this process.
- State Park staff are reminding the public about the importance of social distancing.
- Cancellations of all events in the state park system until further notice.
- No new event applications or requests to postpone already-approved events will be accepted until further notice.
- Public facing facilities, such as restrooms, are being cleaned more frequently per recommended protocols. Additionally, employee offices and facilities are being disinfected before and after work for use by essential employees.
As of today, non-campground outdoor areas of parks, including trails and beaches, remain open. Day-use restrooms also remain open, and visitors are advised to bring soap for handwashing and to use alcohol-based sanitizers when water is not available.
One of the messages being shared in English and Spanish on State Parks' new social media campaign titled "Flatten the COVID-19 Curve at Parks." To see the full list, visit www.parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.
State Offers Free Workshops on How to Prevent the Further Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species
SACRAMENTO, Calif.— The Division of Boating and Waterways along with its partners invite the public to learn how to prevent the further spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) into California’s waterways. Free educational workshops will be offered between March and May at three Northern and Central California locations. Advance registration is required.
California has one of the highest levels of recreational activity in the nation. With 1,100 miles of coast, hundreds of navigable rivers, lakes, and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, there are ample recreational opportunities for the state’s approximately four million boaters. With this popularity, it is critical that the public learn the negative impacts that AIS can have on California’s water delivery systems, hydroelectric facilities, agriculture, boating, fishing and the environment. AIS such as quagga and zebra mussels multiply quickly, encrust watercraft and infrastructure, alter water quality and the aquatic food web and ultimately affect native and sport fish communities.
AIS workshop speakers include staff from California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways, California Coastal Commission, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
The public is invited to attend one of the following workshops:
Oakley - Thursday, March 19
Register by March 16
Time: 8:45 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Location: Big Break Regional Shoreline Park, 69 Big Break Rd, Oakley (94561)
Sacramento – Thursday, April 2
Register by March 20
Time: 8:45 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Location: Lake Washington Sailing Club, 2901 Industrial Blvd., West Sacramento (95691)
Santa Cruz - Thursday, May 14
Register by May 11
Time: 8:45 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Location: Santa Cruz Yacht Club, 244 4th Ave #3835, Santa Cruz (95062
To register, please contact Boating Clean and Green’s Program Manager Vivian Matuk via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (415) 904-6905. Free parking is available at the workshop sites. Lunch will not be provided.
The Boating Clean and Green Program is an education and outreach program that promotes environmentally sound boating practices to marine businesses and boaters in California. California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways and the California Coastal Commission conduct the program. For more information on the program, please visit www.BoatingCleanAndGreen.com.
Division of Boating and Waterways Offers $3.75 Million in Grants to Enhance Public Safety and Protect California’s Waterways
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is now accepting grant applications to help local public entities enhance safety on California’s waterways, and protect them from abandoned and unwanted vessels. The application period for the grant programs, Boating Safety and Enforcement Equipment (BSEE) and Surrendered and Abandoned Vessel Exchange (SAVE), is open from March 16 through April 16, 2020. Interested applicants are encouraged to review the grant guidelines and participate in an applicant workshop.
“With more than four million motorized and non-motorized recreational boaters on California’s waterways, it is important to support local public entities in enhancing public safety and protecting the environment,” said Ramona Fernandez, DBW’s Acting Deputy Director. “Together we can provide more positive experiences to the recreational boating community.”
In 2019, DBW awarded 16 BSEE grants totaling $1.1 million and 30 SAVE grants totaling $2.6 million. This year, a total of $3.75 million in grant funding is available to eligible applicants.
Below are descriptions of the grant programs and available funding:
BSEE Grant Program
Up to $1 million is available to local government agencies that can demonstrate a need for patrol boats, engines, personal watercraft, search and rescue equipment, and patrol and diving equipment. These competitive grants are to augment existing local resources and not to fully fund boating safety and enforcement patrol units. The U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Safety Program provides BSEE grant funding.
SAVE Grant Program
Up to $2.75 million is available to local public agencies statewide to receive surrendered vessels and to remove and dispose of derelict vessels on coastal and inland waterways. Grant funding comes from the Abandoned Watercraft Abatement Fund. DBW awards grants on a competitive basis to eligible public agencies based on demonstrated need.
Applications for both grant programs must be submitted to DBW through its Online Grant Application System (OLGA). Prior to applying, the division encourages new applicants to view a 45-minute webinar that provides detailed instructions on creating an account in OLGA as well as navigating the application system. Additionally, DBW is hosting a 2-hour workshop for each grant program to help applicants write competitive applications.
Below is detailed information on the workshops:
- Date: Thursday, April 2, 2020
- Time: 10 a.m. – noon
- Location: DBW Headquarters, One Capitol Mall, Suite 500, Sacramento (95814)
- RSVP: Johanna Naughton: Via email or (916) 327-1826
- Date: Thursday, April 2, 2020
- Time: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
- Location: DBW Headquarters, One Capitol Mall, Suite 500, Sacramento (95814)
- RSVP: Ron Kent: Via email or (916) 327-1825
The workshops can also be accessed via teleconference and will be recorded for those unable to participate in the live presentations. Please see contacts above for any questions.
Once grant applications have been reviewed and scored, DBW will send out notice of award letters via OLGA. DBW anticipates that awards will be announced by August 2020.
Detailed information, including previous grantee recipients, is available on DBW’s website.
SAVE grants assist local public agencies statewide to receive surrendered vessels and to remove and dispose of derelict vessels on coastal and inland waterways. BSEE grants augment local agency resources for patrol boats, engines and personal watercraft, search and rescue, patrol and diving equipment. Photos from Division of Boating and Waterways.
California Seeking Volunteers to Help Keep Waterways Clean
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s Boating Clean and Green Program is looking for individuals to become Dockwalkers and help keep the state’s waterways clean. Dockwalkers raise awareness among the recreational boating community about clean boating practices by distributing educational boater kits at marinas, boat launch ramps and boating events.
Since 2000, more than a thousand Dockwalkers have taught over 20,000 boaters about oil, fuel, sewage, trash and marine debris prevention. California has one of the highest levels of recreational boating activity in the nation. With approximately four million motorized and non-motorized boaters, even a small amount of pollution per vessel can cause serious harm to waterways and marine wildlife.
“We urge any water enthusiast who wants to make a difference in keeping our waterways clean to become a Dockwalker,” said Vivian Matuk, Boating Clean and Green Program Manager. “Educating the public on a one-on-one level can really make a difference for the health of our environment and boaters.”
Anyone who is interested in this effective educational program can view our online Dockwalker videos to learn what we do and see our success stories. Individuals 15 years of age and older can become Dockwalkers by simply taking a free, three-hour training class. Training opportunities are available throughout the state from March through May 2020. Pre-registration is required. Participation in the program, including the training sessions qualify as community service.
Dockwalker trainings for this year are:
- Brisbane (Wednesday, March 11)
- San Rafael (Saturday, April 4)
- Vallejo (Saturday, April 11)
- Sacramento (Saturday, May 2)
- Fairfield (Monday, May 11)
- San Pedro (Saturday, May 16)
- Newport Beach (Saturday, March 28)
- San Diego (Saturday, April 25)
- Oxnard (Friday, May 8)
- Marina Del Rey (Saturday, May 9)
Marinas and yacht clubs are also encouraged to participate. Participating facilities receive educational materials and tools to operate a clean boating facility and minimize water quality impacts. This program provides marinas with points towards the Clean Marina Designation. Participation in the Dockwalker Program counts towards the nomination of the Club of the Year under the community service category. In addition, yacht clubs and marinas are essential in spreading awareness directly to boaters.
Partnerships with The Bay Foundation, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadrons, Save Our Shores, Lake Berryessa Partnership and many more organizations are integral to this program’s success.
The Dockwalker Program is part of California’s Boating Green and Clean Program. The program is an education and outreach program conducted through California State Parks and the California Coastal Commission. For more information, please visit BoatingCleanAndGreen.com.
Photo by Dockwalker Civicorps
California Offers Free Oil Spill Response Communication Seminars to Marina and Yacht Club Operators
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California State Parks and partners invite marina and yacht club operators to learn how to properly respond to an oil spill by attending an oil response communication seminar. Seminars, being held between March and June of this year, will teach participants the proper response skills to avoid dangerous environmental and public health issues during an oil spill. Advance registration is required.
“Marina and yacht club operators have extensive local waterway and boating knowledge so we designed these seminars with these individuals in mind,” stated Boating Clean and Green Program Manager Vivian Matuk. “Expert presenters will provide current information about the tools and resources available during an oil spill inside or outside their facilities. For example, one of the seminar topics will provide steps to increase operator communication capabilities with the Office of Emergency Services during a spill.”
Key presenters will include staff from California’s Boating Clean and Green Program, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Office of Spill Prevention and Response, and the Governor's Office of Emergency Services.
Seminar topics include:
- California’s Oil Spill Response Structure
- Office of Spill Prevention and Response Equipment Grants
- Third-Party Claim Process
- Oil Spill Kits for Boating Facilities
- Marinas and Yacht Clubs Spill Response Communication Packet
Marina operators can choose from one of the following seminars:
Thursday, March 5 (register by March 2)
- Martinez Yacht Club, 11 Tarantino Drive, Martinez (94553)
- 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 9 (register by April 6)
- Stockton Yacht Club, 3235 River Drive, Stockton (95204)
- 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Friday, April 24 (register by April 21)
- Southwestern Yacht Club, 2702 Qualtrough Street, San Diego (92106)
- 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Friday, June 5 (register by June 1)
- California Yacht Club, 4469 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey (90292)
- 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
To register, please contact Boating Clean and Green Program Manager Vivian Matuk at email@example.com or (415) 904-6905. Free parking is available at the workshop sites.
The oil spill seminars are part of California’s Boating Green and Clean Program. The program is an education and outreach program conducted through California State Parks and the California Coastal Commission. For more information, please visit BoatingCleanAndGreen.com.