Sunday, January 29, 2012


The San Diego County Fish and Wildlife Commission (SDFWAC), has been voting for the last three years to direct funds to a consortium of hunting groups (San Diego Wildlife Federation-SDCWF).  Every application has been approved and funded, so that to date more than $23,000 has been funneled toward the Dog Training Facility at Honey Springs Ranch.  The site is part of the Hollenbeck Canyon Wildlife Area, and controlled by the California Dept of Fish and Game (CDFG).

Navigating through the alphabet soup of these grants has been a challenge.  No indication has ever been given that public funds were being used to create an artificial wetland environment on public land, for benefit of an exclusive and restricted group.  Most of the public is not welcome to join SDCWF because " No clubs, organizations or people whose goals are not in accordance with SDCWF's beliefs and/or which have an anti-hunting bias will be accepted for membership." 

During the last three years, Robert Smith, President of SDCWF, has requested a total of 6 grants.  The amount awarded is nearly HALF of all monies the Commission has to oversee-- monies collected from fines levied by CDFG.  According to the minutes of the Commission, SDCWF made its first request for fund in January of 2009... asking for $550 for "well restoration."  In fact, at the January meeting the Commission voted to "amend" the grant award to $7,325.  An increase of 1400% (if my math is correct).
In all the SDCWF went on to request and receive another five grants from the Commission, one for each of the funding periods from 2009 through July of 2011.

From the SDCFWAC website: "The ten-member advisory commission is appointed by the Board of Supervisors. ...The Commission disperses fine monies derived from violations of the State Fish and Game Code...

The Mission Statement of the Commission states: 
The San Diego County Fish and Wildlife Advisory Commission serves the public by providing advice, funding and participation on issues and projects relevant to the prudent use, protection, and perpetuation of San Diego's wildlife. 
Question:  Is creating artificial wetland with millions of gallons of precious groundwater in a dry chaparral environment considered an "improvement" of habitat?

Throughout the last three years of rubber-stamp-funding of SDCWF, only once has a Commissioner (Suzanne Hall - Dist. 3) questioned the appropriateness of any of these awards (see minutes of July 2011). All other appointees have supported each award without exception. 

The following information is available online as of this posting:

1) Article by SDCWF President, Robert Smith:  "Finding a Place to Train..." 

2) The Dog Pond Proposal as envisioned by SDCWF in March of 2009. 

3) A Summary of (6) grants awarded to SDCWF by SDFWAC over the past 3 years showing dates, amounts, and project.

1 comment:

  1. Silly question - but how come they aren't using the dog ponds down at Dailey's ranch off of 94 where the DFG is located? At one time there were 2 ponds used for training hunting dogs that are now dried up. Why dig 2 new ones at Honey Springs Ranch and endanger the water table for the residents?