Wildlife Conservation Board funds environmental improvement and acquisition projects

lush, green riparian habitat on a far northern California creek

Strawberry Creek in Humboldt County. WCB photo

dry-looking pebble plain habitat with green forest in background

Sawmill Pebble Plain in San Bernardino County. WCB photo

large northern California cree with both grassy and rocky shoreline surrounded by trees and brush

Cow Creek Conservation Area near Redding. WCB photo

Marshy wetland with yellow wildflowers near Richmond

Wetland habitat in Breuner Marsh, at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline. WCB photo

Dry, rolling hill with few trees behind flat land with mostly dry grass.

Blue Oak Ranch Reserve in Santa Clara County. WCB photo

Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, WCB Executive Director, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

At its Feb. 20 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $14 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 16 funded projects will provide benefits to fish and wildlife – including some endangered species – while others will provide the public with access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, land owners and the local community. The funds for all these projects come from bond initiatives approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Some of the funded projects include:

  • A $253,000 grant to the Pacific Coast Fish, Wildlife and Wetlands Association for a cooperative project with Redwood National Park and the Fisheries Restoration Grant Program to restore approximately 1,600 linear feet of riparian habitat for Coho salmon and steelhead trout on Strawberry Creek, approximately 1.5 miles west of Orick in Humboldt County.
  • A $650,000 grant to the Shasta Land Trust (SLT) to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 600 acres of land to protect rangeland, riparian, floodplain and riverine habitat and provide habitat connectivity with the adjoining protected lands referred to as the Cow Creek Conservation Area, north of State Highway 44, about 10 miles east of the City of Redding in Shasta County.
  • A $1 million grant to the East Bay Regional Park District for a cooperative project with the State Coastal Conservancy and others to restore approximately 164 acres of wetland habitat in Breuner Marsh, at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, five miles north of the city of Richmond in Contra Costa County.
  • A $4.2 million grant to the Regents of the University of California to construct new staff housing and storage facilities, enhance a campground, improve existing structures for visiting researchers and upgrade roads and other infrastructure at the Blue Oak Ranch Reserve, approximately 9 miles east of the City of San Jose in Santa Clara County.
  • A $2 million grant to the San Bernardino Mountains Land Trust to acquire approximately  166 acres of very rare and endangered pebble plain habitat that supports a wide variety of endemic plant species, just south of Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains, in San Bernardino County.

For more information about the WCB please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

California Receives Federal Grants to Support Land Acquisition and Conservation Planning for Endangered Species

Media Contacts:
Monica Parisi, Habitat Conservation Planning Branch, (916) 653-9767
Dale Steele, Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-0803
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

California has been awarded $12.7 million in federal grants to support conservation planning and acquisition of habitat for threatened and endangered fish, wildlife and plants.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awards annual competitive grants from the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund to states. The grants are authorized by Section 6 of the federal Endangered Species Act. Nearly $33 million was granted to 21 states in 2012. These funds are administered under three grant programs: Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) Planning Assistance, HCP Land Acquisition and Recovery Land Acquisition.

California received $4.2 million in HCP Planning Assistance Grants, which support the development of HCPs and, in California, Natural Community Conservation Plans (NCCPs). HCPs and NCCPs are large-scale, ecosystem-based plans designed to protect plants, animals and their habitats while allowing compatible and appropriate economic activity. Grants fund baseline surveys and inventories, document preparation, public outreach and similar planning activities. Seven plans were awarded grants: including HCPs and NCCPs in the Bay-Delta, Northeast San Luis Obispo County, Kern Valley Floor, Butte Regional, Bakersfield Regional, Town of Apple Valley  and the city of Colton.

A total of $7 million was awarded to the state for HCP Land Acquisition Grants, which fund the purchase of land to meet the conservation objectives of approved HCPs and NCCPs. Three plans received awards: the East Contra Costa County NCCP/HCP, the Western Riverside County NCCP/HCP, and the Northwest San Diego County Multiple Habitat Conservation Plan NCCP/HCP.

California received $1.5 million in Recovery Land Acquisition Grants to acquire habitat for threatened and endangered species associated with approved recovery plans. Funded projects include:

  • Kelsey Ranch Conservation Easement, Merced County, which includes habitat for vernal pool fairy shrimp, California tiger salamander and vernal pool rare plants.
  • Arrastre Canyon, Los Angeles County, for unarmored three-spine stickleback, Southwestern willow flycatcher, California red-legged frog and arroyo toad habitat.
  • Shay Meadows Conservation Area Expansion, San Bernardino County, for habitat for unarmored three-spine stickleback and five federally-listed plants
  • Riverside County habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep, desert tortoise, desert slender salamander and triple-ribbed milk-vetch

For more information on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grants for threatened and endangered species, including links to the complete list of awards nationwide, visit www.fws.gov/endangered/grants. More information on conservation planning in California can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/habcon/nccp.

State Offers Grants to Benefit Coastal Habitat

Media Contacts:
Alexia Retallack, OSPR Information Officer, (916) 592-3317
Bruce Joab, OSPR Grant Coordinator, (916) 322-7561

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is offering grants for projects to enhance California’s marine habitat. Coastal communities, non-profit groups and environmental agencies are encouraged to apply.

DFG’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR), the California Coastal Conservancy and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation together review and select recipients for Environmental Enhancement Fund (EEF) grants.

The funds come from oil spill violation penalties in accordance with California’s Lempert-Keene-Seastr and Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act, and up to $300,000 is available per year for qualifying projects. Multi-year projects are acceptable as long as there is no more than the annual spending authority requested per year. Eligible organizations include nonprofits, cities, counties, districts, and state and federal agencies.

To qualify, an environmental enhancement project must acquire habitat for preservation or improve habitat quality and ecosystem function. In addition, it must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Be located within or immediately adjacent to California marine waters.
  • Have measurable outcomes within a predetermined timeframe.
  • Be designed to acquire, restore or improve habitat or restore ecosystem function, or both, to benefit fish and wildlife.

 The Environmental Enhancement Committee, which consists of the OSPR Administrator, Executive Director of the California Coastal Conservancy and an officer from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, will determine the projects to be funded.

Disbursement of the grants is contingent on the availability of funds in the EEF.

Grant applications must be received by 5 p.m.on Aug. 28, 2012. To contact the grant coordinator, e-mail eefgrant@ospr.dfg.ca.gov. For more information, visit www.dfg.ca.gov/ospr/Science/eep.aspx.

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