California’s Wildlife Conservation Board has approved about $21.4 million that will fund 22 projects designed to restore and preserve fish and wildlife habitats across the state.
The funds for all of the projects will come from the recent bond initiatives approved by voters to help preserve the state’s numerous natural resources, according to the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG).
Three of the most notable projects will involve land preservation agreements (technically called conservation easements) with the Conway Ranch in Yolo County, the Barboni Ranch in Marin County, the Kern River Corridor Endowment in Central Valley.
As part of the projects, the DFG has provided a grant of $7.8 million for a preservation agreement for about 6,224 acres of Conway Ranch land to protect habitats including wetlands, floodplains, and riverbanks. Preservation of these habitats has been designated as part of efforts to protect endangered species including: the Swainson’s hawk, tri-colored black bird, and giant garter snake.
As part of the Conway project, about 4,000 acres of land will have use restrictions placed on them, providing protections for aquatic and migratory birds, and allowing only “wildlife-friendly agricultural practices,” said the DFG, adding that all of the agreements will “allow for the continuation of agricultural uses, as long as those uses maintain the resource values” of the lands.
The financing of the Conway projects also includes $4 million from Proposition 84.
In the Barboni project, a $610,000 grant has been given to the Marin Agricultural Land Trust for a cooperative effort with the State Coastal Conservancy to acquire a land preservation agreement for about 447 acres on the Barboni Ranch complex.
The Barboni land located in the northern area of Marin County, eight miles southeast of Petaluma, will provide protection for native woodland oak habitats that include: coast live oaks, canyon live oaks, blue oaks, and valley oaks.
On a wider project, a $900,000 grant has been given to the Kern River Corridor Endowment to work with the Central Valley Project Improvement Act program, and the following federal agencies – the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – to preserve about 159 acres of riverbanks and saltbush scrub habitats that will benefit rare species including the: Bakersfield cactus, San Joaquin kit fox, blunt-nosed leopard lizard, and the yellow-billed cuckoo.
The DFG said that all of the projects will work to integrate economic, social, and ecological needs that will benefit the environment, landowners, and local communities.
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