John Donnelly, Wildlife Conservation Board, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420
At its August 30 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved $24.1 million to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. The 22 funded projects will provide benefits to fish and wildlife species, including some endangered species, and others will provide public access opportunities 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, the landowner and the local community. The funds for all of these projects come from recent bond initiatives approved by the voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources.
Some of the funded projects include:
- A $7.8 million grant for the acquisition of four conservation easements totaling approximately 6,224 acres of Conaway Ranch land in Yolo County by the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) for the protection of threatened and endangered species and wetland, floodplain and riparian habitat areas. In addition, the Department of Fish and Game contributed $4 million from Proposition 84 funds to complete purchase of the easements. Three of the easements are designated for the protection and recovery of specific species, including Swainson’s hawk, giant garter snake and tri-colored black bird. The fourth conservation easement encumbers 4,000 acres and protects existing aquatic and migratory bird habitat by restricting land uses to current wildlife-friendly agricultural practices on the property. All the easements allow for continuation of agricultural uses, as long as those uses maintain the resource values as described under the conservation easements.
- A $610,000 grant to the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) for a cooperative project with the State Coastal Conservancy to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 447 acres of land on the Barboni Ranch complex. This easement, located eight miles southwest of Petaluma in the northern area of rural Marin County, is for the protection of native oak woodland habitat that includes coast live oak, Canyon live oak, blue oak and valley oak and for the protection and preservation of sensitive biological resources.
- A $900,000 grant to Kern River Corridor Endowment and Holding Company, Inc., for a cooperative project with the Central Valley Project Improvement Act program (CVPIA), the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to restore approximately 159 acres of riparian and associated saltbush scrub habitat for the benefit of rare species, including the Bakersfield cactus, San Joaquin kit fox, blunt-nosed leopard lizard and yellow billed cuckoo, and to provide potential future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities on the Lower Kern River Panorama Vista Preserve (Preserve) located near the City of Bakersfield in Kern County.
For more information about the WCB, please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.