You went from being a staffer in Gov. Davis’ administration to working as a high-profile point person for the Fish and Game Commission. Have you always had an interest in the environment?
Yes. I have a degree in biology and a degree in psychology and focused on the behavior analysis of coastal bottle-nosed dolphins. I soon realized that being on a boat all day taking data was not super glamorous and a bit lonely, especially compared to my night job tending bar. My dad worked at the Capitol his entire career, and I always thought it was all so exciting. One day after I graduated college, I had my own little epiphany that I was a grown up and I could work there, too. I’ve worked harder than I could have ever imagined, but I’m fortunate enough to say that I love my job.
What type of regulatory oversight does the Fish and Game Commission have over Californians?
To quote our late Commissioner Bob Hattoy: “The F&G Commission regulates everything from feathers to fins to fur, and everything in between.”
In April, the commission voted to effectively launch the Marine Life Protection Act Program.
How does the state go about enforcing the program?
The historic actions taken by the F&G Commission in April establish in regulation the first network of marine-protected areas located along the Central Coast. The successful implementation of the Marine Life Protection Act is being replicated up and down the state coastline and will be monitored by the Department of Fish and Game and enforced by Game Wardens, given the necessary resources to support them, of course.
What’s your opinion on the California Department of Fish and Game’s decision to poison Lake Davis in an effort to kill off the pike fish?
Anyone who has seen a 20-pound, invasive, nonresident pike, and their many rows of trout eating teeth, would understand the threat they pose to our state’s fragile, native species.
How many Californians have hunting and fishing licenses?
Not enough to generate the revenue needed to support the Commission’s policy and regulatory functions, the department’s management and monitoring, and the Warden’s enforcement of the regulations and programs that balance the protection and sustainability of our extremely diverse wildlife and land with the increasing pressures of a growing population.
What can be done to address the problem of condors being exposed to lead?
In a perfect world, voluntary decisions to reduce overall exposures to toxic substances would have followed the removal of lead from paint, waterfowl shot, gasoline and children’s toys. I don’t know that there is only one thing that can be done to prevent condors from exposure to all sources of lead, but I do know the commissioners have demonstrated their commitment to vetting all possible solutions to the problem, under their authority to govern certain activities, which introduce lead into the environment.
Most importantly, does California have a state fish?
Yes … if the pike left any. Golden trout.