DFG Completes First Safe Harbor Agreement

Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8908

Private Landowners Play Pivotal Role in Long Term Conservation

The Department Fish and Game (DFG) has issued its first safe harbor agreement with the Agriculture and Land Based Training Association (ALBA).

This agreement covers the management actions on ALBA’s Triple M Ranch in northern Monterey County, where wetland restoration activities will improve water quality and breeding habitat for the state’s threatened California tiger salamander.

“We are truly excited to be issuing the state’s first safe harbor agreement and look forward to working with other land owners to promote conservation throughout California,” said Charlton H. Bonham, Director of DFG. “The support of private citizens, tribes, municipalities and others will help us reverse the decline of species large and small for future generations to enjoy.”

Promoting conservation of state-listed species and habitats on private lands, a safe harbor agreement (SHA) assures landowners who voluntarily take conservation actions that no future regulatory restrictions will be imposed as a result of their efforts.

“The California Safe Harbor Program is aligned with our project goal to demonstrate the compatibility between natural areas and organic production,” said Ed Moncrief, ALBA Board Chair. “As an organization that provides farmers the education, space, and support to develop economically and ecologically sustainable farming businesses, we are proud to also be the first landowner issued a safe harbor agreement by DFG.”

Overall, the goal of the program is to increase the populations of state-listed species through the creation of new habitats or enhancing existing ones. Although the increase can be temporary or long term, a SHA must result in a “net conservation benefit” to the covered species. It cannot result in a reduction of existing populations of species present at the time the baseline is established. An approved monitoring program must be established for the duration of the agreement to evaluate its effectiveness.

The California Safe Harbor Program is comparable to the federal Safe Harbor Program, which allows for the development of joint state/federal SHAs to cover both state and federally listed species occurring on the same property.