Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Feb. 22 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $17.9 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 15 approved 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.

Funding for these projects comes from a combination of sources including the Habitat Conservation Fund and the Wildlife Restoration Fund. Bond measures approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources.

Funded projects include:

  • A $350,000 grant to the National Forest Foundation for a cooperative project with U.S. Forest Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board to thin approximately 140 acres of forest in the Tahoe National Forest, 10 miles northeast of Truckee in Nevada County.
  • A $3,030,000 grant to the Northcoast Regional Land Trust to acquire a conservation easement on approximately 15,586 acres of mixed conifer working forest lands that include oak woodland habitat with multiple oak species, for conservation of the natural resources, preservation of wildlife habitat linkages and habitat areas for numerous wildlife species and to help sustain water quality. The project is located near the communities of Maple Creek and Bridgeville in Humboldt County.
  • A $1,500,000 grant to the California Waterfowl Association for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to develop water conveyance infrastructure and enhance wetlands on CDFW’s Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, located approximately 7.5 miles southwest of the town of Gridley in Butte County.
  • A $1,270,000 grant to the Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT), the acceptance of a USFWS Land Acquisition grant, and approval to sub-grant these federal funds to the MDLT to acquire approximately 1,640 acres of land for the protection and preservation of desert riparian and desert tortoise habitats and to protect other listed or protected species that may be present. The project is located near the community of Helendale in San Bernardino County.
  • $1,865,000 for the acquisition of approximately 328 acres of land by CDFW for a cooperative project with USFWS to protect open space and promote the restoration of critical habitat that supports threatened and endangered species adjacent to the Colorado River and the preservation of a wildlife linkage and corridor from the Colorado River to the Colorado Desert. The project is located north of the city of Blythe in Riverside County and will provide future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities.
  • A $278,000 grant to the Elkhorn Slough Foundation, for a cooperative project with CDFW to redesign and repair the existing outdoor amphitheater at CDFW’s Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve, located eight miles south of the City of Watsonville in Monterey 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 Communications, (916) 322-2420

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.