At its May 22 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $15 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 21 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 bond measures approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources.
Among the funded projects were:
A $400,000 grant to Pacific Forest Trust for a cooperative project with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mitsubishi Foundation, New Belgium Brewing Company, Flora L. Thornton Foundation, and Mary A. Crocker Trust to plan for climate resilience in key Sacramento River watersheds spanning eight northern California counties.
A $197,000 grant to the California Audubon Society for a cooperative project with Point Blue Conservation Science and the Grassland Water District to develop regional water budget models that display future Central Valley wetland water needs under climate change scenarios in Butte, Merced, Tulare and Kern counties.
A $176,000 grant to the Sacramento Valley Conservancy for a cooperative project with the Sacramento County Department of Water Resources and Recreational Equipment, Inc. to expand public access, improve a parking lot, install educational signs and implement water-efficient landscaping on 11 acres of the State Lands Commission’s Camp Pollock property on the American River.
A $430,100 grant to Trout Unlimited for a cooperative project with the U.S. Forest Service and University of California, Merced for planning and environmental compliance to restore nine montane meadows totaling approximately 75 acres of the Sierra National Forest in Madera and Fresno counties.
A $1 million grant to the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts for a cooperative project with the California Department of Conservation, California Department of Water Resources, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Point Blue Conservation Science, the Smith River Alliance and 10 Resource Conservation Districts. The project will provide technical assistance creating conservation carbon farm plans and developing conservation practice designs that will provide wildlife-enhancing, climate-beneficial management options for producers on working landscapes in nine California counties.
A $1.4 million grant to Ducks Unlimited, Inc. for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to restore wetland fields along the auto tour route within CDFW’s Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in Butte County.
A $4 million grant for the acquisition of approximately 1,781 acres of land by CDFW for a cooperative project with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, American River Conservancy, and California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) for the protection and preservation of riparian and oak woodland habitat, and deer and mountain lion habitat, and to provide for potential future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities in El Dorado County.
A $3.2 million grant to the Escondido Creek Conservancy for a cooperative project with CNRA to acquire approximately 282 acres of land for the protection of oak woodlands, grasslands, plants and chaparral that support a variety of wildlife including deer and mountain lion. This purchase will also increase the protection of regional wildlife habitat corridors and provide potential future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities in an unincorporated area in north San Diego County.
For more information about the WCB, visit www.wcb.ca.gov.