DFG Authorizes Voluntary Local Program in Alameda County

Marcia Grefsrud, DFG Environmental Scientist, (707) 644-2812
Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8908

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has approved a Voluntary Local Program (VLP) in Alameda County, the first VLP in California.

The purpose of a VLP is to encourage farmers and ranchers engaged in agricultural activities to establish locally designed programs to voluntarily enhance and maintain habitat for endangered and threatened species.

“This VLP represents an important collaboration between DFG, the Alameda Resource Conservation District (ACRCD) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), local farmers and ranchers and others interested in agricultural land stewardship,” said Scott Wilson, Acting Regional Manager, DFG Bay-Delta Region.

The program was authorized by Senate Bill 231 (Costa 1997) which required DFG, in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), to adopt regulations to create locally designed voluntary programs for routine and ongoing agricultural activities on farms or ranches that will encourage habitat conservation and minimize take of threatened, endangered, and candidate species, and wildlife in general.

In return, farmers and ranchers who follow the wildlife-friendly agricultural practices prescribed by a VLP receive an exemption from California Endangered Species Act’s (CESA) prohibition against take of certain state endangered or threatened species.

The Alameda County VLP will provide take authorization, under CESA, to participating farmers and ranchers while following the management practices for two species listed as threatened in California, the California tiger salamander and the Alameda whipsnake.

The Alameda County VLP will assist participants who wish to restore and enhance the condition of the natural resources on their property by providing technical assistance to these landowners. This VLP will also help achieve important water quality and habitat conservation goals in Alameda County. Many of these projects will focus on erosion control and habitat restoration, such as stock pond repair and stream restoration.

The ACRCD wrote the plan for the VLP, in coordination with DFG, and in cooperation with CDFA, and will also act as the program administrator.

The regulations authorizing DFG to develop and approve VLPs took effect in 2002 and are found in sections 786.0-786.8 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations. They implement Fish and Game Code Section 2086-2089.

For other questions regarding the proposed program, please contact DFG Bay Delta Region at (707) 944-5500 or the ACRCD at (925) 371-0154.