Snow-covered Mount Shasta rises behind brown hills and a blue lake

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Feb. 23 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $10 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California, including the Salton Sea. Some of the 16 funded projects will benefit fish and wildlife – including some endangered species – while others will provide public 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, landowners and the local community. The state funds for all these projects come from bond measures approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Funded projects include:

  • A $900,000 grant to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to construct a boat launch facility on Trout Lake, renovate the entrance road and replace a bridge over the Little Shasta River on CDFW’s Shasta Valley Wildlife Area, approximately eight miles east of the City of Yreka in Siskiyou County.
  • A $1.4 million grant to the County of Yolo to re-construct the boat launch facility on the CDFW Knights Landing Public Access property, in Knights Landing in Yolo County.
  • A $2.4 million grant to the California Rangeland Trust for a cooperative project with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to acquire conservation easements over approximately 12,710 acres of land to protect open space and a natural landscape consisting of native oak woodlands, chaparral, annual grasslands and watersheds that are beneficial to Tule elk and other wildlife, and promote the preservation of habitat linkages and corridors between existing protected lands near the community of Pozo, in San Luis Obispo County.
  • A $1 million grant to the City of Santa Clarita to acquire fee title to approximately 200 acres of land to protect upland coastal scrub, oak woodland, coastal watersheds and important habitat linkages, south of Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County.
  • A $426,000 grant to Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy for a cooperative project with Department of Water Resources to restore approximately 97 acres of riparian habitat for threatened and endangered species. The property is on Endangered Habitats Conservancy property along the San Diego River in the El Monte Valley, two miles east of Lakeside in San Diego County.

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

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

foothills covered in dry, golden grasses

Wildlife Conservation Board Director Honored for His Work

John Donnelly, executive director of the California Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB), recently received the Rangeland Conservation Impact Award from the California Rangeland Trust. The WCB authorizes and allocates voter-approved funds for the purchase of land and waters suitable for recreation purposes and the preservation, protection and restoration of wildlife habitat.

“The California Rangeland Trust is proud to honor John Donnelly with our first Rangeland Conservation Impact Award,” said California Rangeland Trust CEO Nita Vail. “John works diligently on behalf of the state to successfully protect our rangeland, air and water quality, wildlife habitat and local food supplies through his leadership at the Wildlife Conservation Board.”

The Rangeland Conservation Impact Award is a new honor presented by the California Rangeland Trust, a nonprofit organization working to protect and enhance the environmental and economic benefits working landscapes provide. The award is given to conservation professionals that exemplify true dedication to advancing rangeland conservation and preserving the viability of California’s ranching industry and Western legacy, while protecting the valuable habitat and ecosystems provided by working ranches.

“Rangelands play a significant role in providing plants and animals refuge from urban development. Their importance in the mosaic of lands in California cannot be over stated,” Donnelly said. “It is an honor to receive this award from the California Rangeland Trust.”

Donnelly started work at the WCB in 1996 as a land agent. In 2003, he was promoted to assistant executive director and then became executive director in 2006. While at the WCB, he has overseen 530 projects that protect more than 466,000 acres of conservation easement and fee title lands, statewide, and restored and/or enhanced more than 92,000 acres of wildlife habitat.

Having grown up in Sierra Valley, which is predominantly a ranching and farming area, Donnelly worked on ranches before he began his wildlife career. He studied and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at California State University, Sacramento, then worked for the California Department of Fish and Game (now Wildlife) from 1988 to 1996.

John Donnelly was honored Sept. 26 at “A Western Affair,” the California Rangeland Trust’s annual family event in Woodside.

green and gray, grassy rangeland and tree-covered foothills
California rangeland in Sierra County. WCB photo

Media Contacts:
John Donnelly, Wildlife Conservation Board, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

At its June 4 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $21.8 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 19 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 $1.4 million grant to the Bear Yuba Land Trust to acquire approximately 652 acres of land along the Bear River in Nevada County, for the purpose of wildlife habitat protection including riparian, riverine and oak woodland habitat communities.
  • A $3 million grant to Truckee Donner Land Trust for a cooperative project with Placer County, Northern Sierra Partnership, the Trust For Public Land and private donors to acquire two parcels totaling approximately 2,520 acres of land in Nevada and Placer counties, in order to protect alpine forests and meadows, wildlife corridors and habitat links, and provide future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities.
  • A $5 million grant to Sonoma Land Trust (Trust) for a cooperative project with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Federal Highway Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Department of Water Resources and State Coastal Conservancy to restore 955 acres of tidal marsh on the Trust’s Sears Point Property in Sonoma County, five miles east of the city of Novato.
  • A $660,000 grant to Big Sur Land Trust to assist with the acquisition of a conservation easement over approximately 964 acres of land to preserve and protect native oak woodland, grassland, riparian and wildlife habitat, and sustain working landscapes in Monterey County, 6 miles northeast of the city of Salinas.
  • A $570,000 grant to the California Rangeland Trust to assist with the acquisition of a conservation easement over approximately 575 acres of land approximately 12 miles south of Lake Isabella in Kern County to preserve, protect and sustain the rangeland, grazing land, grassland, working landscapes, wildlife habitat, and watersheds.
  • Acceptance of settlement funds from the U.S. Department of the Interior Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Fund (a.k.a. ARCO funds), and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Land Acquisition grant and the approval to sub-grant the ARCO funds and $260,000 grant funds to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to acquire approximately 286 acres of land just south of community of Acton in Los Angeles County to protect habitat for threatened and endangered species, and maintain habitat connectivity within the upper Santa Clara River floodplain and watershed in Arrastre Canyon, a tributary to the Santa Clara River.

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