On November 7, 2006, the people of California enacted the Safe Drinking
Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection
Bond Act of 2006, commonly referred to as Proposition 84. As part of
the people's initiative, the Act designated the Wildlife Conservation
Board (WCB) as the lead agency for carrying out a grant program for
forest conservation and protection projects.
Purpose and Authority
Pursuant to the provisions of Pubic Resources Code Section 75055 (a),
the goal of the grant program is to promote the ecological integrity
and economic stability of California's diverse native forests
for all their public benefits through forest conservation, preservation
and restoration of productive managed forest lands, forest reserve
areas, redwood forests and other forest types, including the conservation
of water resources and natural habitat for native fish and wildlife
and plants found on these lands.
Guiding Principles are designed to facilitate the solicitation of
applications that will achieve forest conservation efforts in a manner
that promotes ecological integrity and economic stability. Applicants
are encouraged to use the principles as benchmarks in completing the
project application as they will be used as part of the evaluation
and ranking process.
- Working forests/productive managed forestlands shall be the primary
emphasis of the Forest Conservation Program.
- Forest reserve areas are an important component of California's
diverse native forests and shall be part of the Forest Conservation
- Each project must promote the restoration and/or the maintenance
of the ecological integrity and economic stability of the property
in the context of the surrounding landscape and regional economy.
- The project application must articulate in sufficient detail how
the proposed project relates to an existing regional, state or local
public or private planning process if applicable, and address the
local priority and ecological need.
- Restoration efforts shall contribute toward the ecological integrity
and economic stability of the native forest. Restoration projects
must demonstrate the long-term protection of the restoration effort
and be tied to the forest structure and sustainability. A long-term
agreement to manage the restoration effort must coincide with the
useful life of the improvements and restoration practices.
- Projects will be evaluated based on a process that ranks and prioritizes
applications based on their ability to sufficiently describe how
the project contributes toward the program goal, guidelines and selection
- Future management activities and or restoration investment should
be from committed or clearly identified and articulated funding sources
to be considered part of the project.
- Overall accomplishment of the program goal can best be achieved
through projects that provide the greatest economic efficiency by
using the best available tool. Applicants must clearly state the
objectives of the project and describe how the project will achieve
the stated objectives.
To achieve the purpose and objectives of the Forest Conservation Program,
the following terms have the following meaning:
“Acquisition” means the purchase or donation of
a fee interest or any lesser interest in real property including easements
and development rights.
“Board” means the Wildlife Conservation Board.
“Conservation Easement” means a legal agreement
between a landowner and an eligible organization that restricts future
activities on the land to protect the conservation values and is defined
by Section 815.1 of the Civil Code that is perpetual.
"Compatible Use" is any use which does not significantly
detract from the use of the property for, or inhibit, growing and harvesting
timber, and shall include, but not be limited to, any of the following:
- Management for watershed health and sustainability.
- Management for fish and wildlife habitat or hunting and fishing.
- A use integrally related to the growing, harvesting and processing
of forest products, including but not limited to roads, log landings,
and log storage areas.
- The erection, construction, alteration, or maintenance of gas,
electric, water, or communication transmission facilities, that compliments
the economic stability while maintaining the ecological integrity.
“Economic Efficiency” means achieving the greatest
scope and scale of the possible ecological, economic, and social benefits,
at the lowest possible economic cost.
“Ecological Integrity” means the capability of
the forest to maintain:
- Productive ecological capacity of the land, including the ability
of the forest to fix carbon, cycle water, and retain nutrients.
- Composition, structure and characteristics of the native forest
- Ability of the ecosystem to recover from stress and disturbance.
“Economic Stability” means the project contributes
to the resilience of the regional forest related economies as reflected
in forest-based employment and outputs, and costs of goods and services.
Regional economic stability is best achieved through investment in
forest conservation projects that apply the principles of sustainable
forestry, maximize available economic efficiencies, and are self-sustaining
in the long term.
“Eligible Entity” means any public or private
organization qualified to hold interests in real property, qualifies
as a tax-exempt entity under IRC Section 501 (c)(3) and has as their
primary mission the preservation and conservation of land.
“Forestland” means that at least 50 percent of
the land or project area is stocked with native forests.
“Forest Reserve” means a forest area that is set
aside for the protection of certain fauna, flora, other ecosystem services
or some combination thereof. Reserves are managed primarily to safeguard
these features or functions while providing for other compatible uses.
“Forest Restoration” is the process of assisting
the recovery of forest species composition, stand structure and patterns
of natural disturbance and ecological processes, to more closely approximate
reference conditions. The primary focus of such restoration actions
is to recover ecological integrity in order to minimize the need for
future intervention. Restoration projects shall include the planning,
monitoring and reporting necessary to ensure successful implementation.
“Local Public Agency” means any city, county,
city and county, resource conservation district, special district,
joint powers authority made up of two or more local public agencies
and one or more state agencies.
“Long-Term Agreement” means a binding contractual
agreement between a landowner, an eligible applicant (as defined),
and the Wildlife Conservation Board, whereby the landowner agrees to
manage and maintain forest improvements or restoration efforts for
a designated period of time. Restoration grants are not awarded directly
to a private landowner. Restoration projects must be coordinated with
an eligible applicant who will receive the grant funds necessary to
coordinate and implement the restoration effort.
“NativeForest” means a forest classified in the
1988 edition, or its approved successor equivalent, of “A Guide
to Wildlife Habitats of California”, published by the California
Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and forests that are composed
of the forests types within those classifications, and contains at
least 10% canopy cover under natural (non-irrigated) conditions.
“Nonprofit Organization” means any nonprofit corporation
qualified to do business in California, and qualified under Section
501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
“Permanent Protection” means the land is dedicated
to the goals of the Forest Conservation Program in perpetuity through
control of fee interests or other interest in the real property including
but not limited to easements, development rights, water rights and/or
“Productive Managed Forestland” means the native
forest is managed for forest based products, services and other compatible
“Timberland” means privately owned land, or land
acquired for state forest purposes, which is devoted to and used for
growing and harvesting timber, or for growing and harvesting timber
and compatible uses, and which is capable of growing an average annual
volume of wood fiber of at least 15 cubic feet per acre.
"Timberland Production Zone" or "TPZ" means
an area which has been zoned pursuant to Government Code Section 51112
or 51113 and is devoted to and used for growing and harvesting timber,
or for growing and harvesting timber and compatible uses.
Eligible applicants include a willing landowner, a local governmental
entity, special district, resource conservation district, joint powers
authority, nonprofit organization (501(c)(3), or state agency. The
WCB strongly encourages applicants to develop partnerships that share
an interest in the project necessary to leverage technical and management
skills, as well as fiscal resources.
To be eligible for funding consideration from the Forest Conservation
Program, all proposed projects must meet the following eligibility
- Acquisition of any interest in real property (fee title or conservation
easement) must be from a willing seller supported by an appraisal
that utilizes private market based assumptions consistent with State
and if applicable, Federal appraisal standards. The interest must
be held by an eligible entity. Special attention shall be paid to
the assumptions of development value of un-entitled raw land.
- The project must meet the goals of the Forest Conservation Program
and comply with the Purpose and Guiding Principles of the Program.
- The project must protect and/or restore native forests on the property.
- Restoration efforts must demonstrate a long-term commitment and
agreement to manage and protect the ecological integrity of the forest
consistent with the goals and Guiding Principles of the program.
Landowners will be required to sign a long-term agreement to manage
the restoration project for the useful life of the restoration effort.
Applications will be accepted on a continuous basis. All proposals
will be evaluated by WCB staff and an independent team of Resource
Agency professionals (with biological and forestry expertise).
Project proposals will be reviewed for compliance with program requirements
and then ranked and prioritized against defined program guidelines
and selection criteria. If the project merits further Board consideration,
applicants will be notified as appropriate. Prior to submitting an
application, applicants are encouraged to meet with staff from the
WCB to discuss the proposed project.
If the proposed project demonstrates consistency with the program
requirements, meets the program guidelines and selection criteria,
and sufficient money exists to fund the request, the project may be
scheduled for Board consideration. Applicants will be notified as to
when the project will be considered by the Board. For questions regarding
the Forest Conservation Program, call (916) 445-8448
All applications should be mailed to:
Executive Director, Wildlife Conservation Board
Post Office Box 944209
Sacramento, California 94244-2090
Baseline Conditions Report
Prior to the close of escrow for an acquisition project, a Baseline
Conditions Report shall be prepared and delivered to the WCB office
for review and approval. The Baseline Conditions Report shall provide
detailed information on the condition of the property to be protected.
The documentation (Baseline Conditions Report) shall be tailored to
the purposes of the WCB Grant Agreement and the specific conservation
values to be protected by the acquisition of the real interest in the
property. Descriptions of the condition of the property and conservation
values should be sufficiently detailed to allow for meaningful future
The Baseline Conditions Report must be completed, signed and certified
by the landowner(s) and the recipient of the WCB grant funds prior
to the close of escrow. The certification must confirm that the Baseline
Conditions Report is a current and accurate description and representation
of the property, the health of its resources and conservation values,
as of the closing.
The Baseline Conditions Report shall provide a narrative that characterizes
the overall general condition of the conservation values protected
by the acquisition of real interests in the property.
For purposes of baseline documentation, the report must provide descriptions
that are clearly defined and sufficiently detailed to allow for meaningful
future comparisons and must (a) describe and document the features
and characteristics of the property in relation to the purposes, conservation
values, and terms of any grant awarded by the WCB; (b) describe and
document the conservation values and resources protected by the acquisition
of interests in the real property; (c) contain all information necessary
for the grantee to administer, monitor and enforce the conservation
easement or grant deed; and (d) include a copy of the recorded conservation
easement or grant deed.
Attachment I identifies the minimum requirements for the content
of a Baseline Conditions Report.
Compliance Monitoring: On an annual basis, all projects funded
in whole or in part by the WCB must be monitored for compliance with
the terms and conditions of the WCB Grant Agreement, the conservation
easement, the restoration grant agreement or any other instrument of
conveyance as appropriate. Compliance monitoring shall note any changes
to the property compared to the Baseline Conditions Report and the
prior monitoring report.
Not less than once, in any period of three calendar years, WCB shall
have access to the property to assess compliance with the terms, covenants
and conditions of the WCB Grant Agreement, conservation easement, or
other instrument of conveyance. To the extent possible, such visits
will be scheduled at the time of the annual monitoring visit.
Monitoring Report: The easement holder, the holder of fee
title or the grant recipient for restoration projects shall provide
an annual written report of its monitoring activities and the results
of such monitoring to the WCB in accordance with approved monitoring
protocols. The monitoring report shall document and describe the monitoring
activities in a manner that demonstrates the monitoring was conducted
in accordance with the approved monitoring protocol.
Monitoring Protocol: Prior to the close of escrow, or final
approval of the WCB Grant Agreement for restoration projects, the WCB
will review and approve monitoring protocols for the protected property
(in fee title or conservation easement) or restoration effort. Using
the Baseline Conditions Report as a benchmark, the monitoring protocol
should be adaptive and address the purposes, frequency, timing and
methods of monitoring the property. The protocol is the framework that
will guide the preparation for and implementation of the annual monitoring
of the protected or restored land and must be tailored to address the
purposes, terms and conditions of the WCB Grant Agreement.
Attachment II identifies the minimum content for monitoring