The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications from landowners for the California Waterfowl Habitat Program (CWHP). The CWHP provides technical guidance and economic incentives to private landowners who agree to manage their properties in accordance with a wetland management plan developed cooperatively by CDFW biologists and participating landowners.
In response to the loss of wetland habitat in California, the Legislature passed the California Waterfowl Habitat Preservation Act in 1987. This Act established the CWHP, a multi-faceted wetland incentive program designed to improve habitat conditions for waterfowl on private lands. Consistent with its primary waterfowl habitat objectives, the program also endeavors to enhance habitat for shorebirds, wading birds and other wetland-dependent species. The program has remained very popular with existing enrollees, but lack of adequate funding has limited CDFW’s ability to enroll new properties since the mid-2000s. The passing of Proposition 68 in 2018 approved $10 million in new funding for the program.
The program is designed to contribute to large-scale conservation objectives by helping private landowners overcome many of the challenges associated with wetland management in California. Approximately two-thirds of the managed wetlands in the Central Valley are privately owned, and many of these landowners are not trained in the science, policy or regulation of wetland management. In addition to guidance offered by CDFW biologists, landowners also receive an incentive payment following the successful implementation of work plans. The program offers $30 per acre for the management of seasonal wetlands ($60/acre in the Tulare basin) and $60 per acre for the management of semi-permanent wetlands statewide.
“Partnerships with private landowners, such as those developed through the California Waterfowl Habitat Program, are critical to ensuring our waterfowl and other wetland dependent species habitat objectives are met,” said CDFW’s Comprehensive Wetland Habitat Program Coordinator, Brian Olson. “We truly value the relationships developed with private landowners, and appreciate their efforts in helping provide for the needs of California’s fish and wildlife.”
Landowners have until Aug. 30 to apply. For more information on the program, or to submit an application, please visitwww.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/cwhp/private-lands-programs/waterfowl-habitat.