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Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement And Acquisition Projects

At its May 25, 2023, quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $83.15 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California and, in some cases, provide new and improved public access, recreational and educational opportunities.

Among the 28 projects approved, the WCB provided a $24 million grant to The Wildlands Conservancy for a cooperative project with the State Coastal Conservancy to acquire approximately 11,691 acres of land in the Carmel Valley in Monterey County for the protection of upland and lowland habitats and the wildlife species they support.

The habitats consist of chaparral, oak woodlands and rolling grasslands along with seasonal creeks that provide riparian corridors supporting numerous species, including threatened and endangered California red-legged frogs and the California tiger salamanders. The property, which exceeds the total acreage of some state parks, will provide wildlife-oriented education and research along with compatible public and private uses.

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.

Other funded projects approved by the WCB on May 25 include:

  • A $2.42 million grant to the Mattole Restoration Council for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to restore coastal prairie habitat at the Table Bluff Ecological Reserve located 4.5 miles southeast of the city of Loleta in Humboldt County.
  • A $3.1 million grant to the Xerces Society for a cooperative project with the California Department of Parks and Recreation, resource conservation districts and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to administer a block grant to address the decline of monarch butterflies and other imperiled pollinators by creating high quality habitat across California, targeting both monarch overwintering sites and the monarch priority restoration zones as well as improving connectivity across the landscape in various counties.
  • A $4 million grant to the South Yuba River Citizen’s League for a cooperative project with the Yuba Water Agency to increase spawning habitat, create backwater habitat and reduce bank erosion on the Yuba River one mile north of Smartsville in Yuba County.
  • A $3.4 million grant to Ducks Unlimited for a cooperative project with USFWS, Sonoma Land Trust, Sonoma County Sanitation District, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and State Coastal Conservancy to develop shovel-ready plans and environmental compliance documentation for up to 6,000 acres of the Sonoma Creek Baylands portion of the San Pablo Baylands in Sonoma County.
  • A $4.2 million grant to The Wildlands Conservancy to acquire approximately 2,333 acres of land for wildlife habitat preservation, restoration and management, wildlife-oriented education and research, habitat connectivity and future wildlife-oriented, public-use opportunities near Bridgeport in Mono County.
  • A $3.34 million grant to Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC) for a cooperative project with Sierra Nevada Conservancy to acquire approximately 2,285 acres of land for the protection of threatened and endangered species, wildlife corridors, habitat linkages and watersheds, and to provide wildlife-oriented, public-use opportunities near the community of Weldon in Kern County. At close of escrow, WRC will direct the seller to convey the approximate 1,039 southwestern acres to the Kern River Valley Heritage Foundation and the approximate 1,246 northeastern acres to the Tübatulabal Tribe’s nonprofit organization for long-term stewardship.
  • A $3.19 million grant to the Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) for a seed bank expansion project to collect, process and store seed, conduct research and develop protocols, create an inventory of California desert seed, and develop and implement outreach and education materials on MDLT-owned lands in Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

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