Rangeland, Grazing Land and Grassland Protection Act of 2002
In September of 2002, Chapter 984, Statutes of 2002, enacted the Rangeland,
Grazing Land and Grassland Protection Act of 2002. The Act designated
the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) as the lead agency for carrying
out the California Rangeland, Grazing Land and Grassland Protection
Program. The purpose of the program is to protect California's rangeland,
grazing land and grassland through the use of conservation easements.
Almost all funding available for this program has been allocated. Before completing an application please contact John Walsh at (916) 322-9461.
Purpose and Authority
Pursuant to the provisions of Section 10332, the purpose of the program
is to accomplish the following:
- To prevent the conversion of rangeland, grazing land and grassland
to nonagricultural uses.
- To protect the long-term sustainability of livestock grazing.
- To ensure continued wildlife, water quality, watershed and open-space
benefits to the State of California from livestock grazing.
To achieve the objectives of the California Rangeland, Grazing Land
and Grassland Protection Program, the following terms have the following
"Agricultural Intensification" a collective term
for converting rangeland, grazing land or grassland for more intensive
"Board" means the Wildlife Conservation Board.
"Compatible Uses" means the following:
- Compatible uses will not displace or compromise the rangeland,
grazing land, grassland, wildlife, water quality, watershed or open
space benefits that occur from livestock grazing. Compatible uses
sustain and do not convert or displace land to other uses.
- Compatible uses contribute toward the long-term economic viability
of the property. Further, the activity will not conflict with or
impair agricultural uses on adjacent land.
- Compatible uses reflect activities that integrate and complement
the rangeland, grassland and grazing use of the land and enhance
the financial operation of the property. For example, such activities
could include a bed and breakfast or dude ranch promoting the scenic,
historical and cultural attributes of grazing operations. While such
uses promote the value and beauty of the open space and surrounding
natural resource conditions of the property, the activity should
not compromise the carrying capacity for owner-operated grazing as
the primary land use.
- Other compatible uses could include forage production, recreational
or commercial hunting/fishing operations, wildlife viewing or
other non-consumptive uses of the resource.
- Innovative compatible use activities address the external and
internal components of sustainability.
- Compatible uses will not diminish, devalue or result in the removal
of adjacent land from agricultural production. Agricultural intensification
such as orchards or vineyards, shall not exceed 5 percent of the
easement area. For the purposes of the Act, existing lands used for
haying and livestock fodder production shall be considered grazing
lands and not agricultural intensification. All grazing, haying,
livestock fodder production and agricultural intensification shall
be conducted in a sustainable manner.
- Areas available for agricultural intensification shall be specifically
identified in the conservation easement. Agricultural intensification
shall generally be limited to those areas that have been previously
farmed, will not significantly impair the conservation values and
will not significantly displace livestock carrying capacity.
"Conservation Easement" means a conservation easement,
as defined by Section 815.1 of the Civil Code that is perpetual.
"Environmental Conditions" means a hazardous substance
or other condition that would create hazards and/or liabilities for
the landowner, such as, but not limited to, asbestos, formaldehyde,
radon gas, lead-based paint, mold, fuel or chemical storage tanks,
contaminated soil or water.
"Grassland" means land on which the vegetation is
dominated by grasses, grass like plants and/or forbs.
"Grazing Land" (1) a collective term for rangeland,
pastureland, grazing forest land, native and naturalized pasture, hayland,
and grazed cropland. Although grazing is generally a predominate use,
the term is used independent of any use. (2) Land is used primarily
for production of forage plants maintained or manipulated primarily
through grazing management. Includes all land having plants harvestable
by grazing without reference to land tenure, other land uses or management
"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.
"Nonprofit organization" means any nonprofit public
benefit corporation formed pursuant to the Nonprofit Corporation Law
(Division 2 (commencing with Section 5000) of Title 1 of the Corporations
Code), qualified to do business in California, and qualified under
Section 501 (c) (3) of Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Code as a tax-exempt
corporation that has as a principle purpose the conservation of land
and water resources.
"Productivity" means quantitative measure/acreassessment.
Average annual forage production/acre as expressed in weight.
"Property" means any real property and any perpetual
interest therein, including land, conservation easements, and land
containing water rights.
"Qualified property" means property that is rangeland,
grazing land or grassland, and is used or is suitable for grazing;
is zoned for agriculture, or open-space use; and is used or suitable
for habitat for aquatic or terrestrial wildlife species or native plants.
"Rangeland" means land on which the historic climax
plant community is predominantly grasses, grass like plants, forbs,
or shrubs. Includes land re-vegetated naturally or artificially when
routine management of that vegetation is accomplished mainly through
manipulation of grazing. Rangeland includes native or naturalized grasslands,
savanna, shrub lands, most deserts, alpine communities, coastal marshes
and wet meadows.
"State Agency" means any public entity created by
statue within the California State Resources Agency.
"Sustainability" means the ability to keep and maintain
the rangelands, grazing operation and grasslands in production.
Minimum Program Requirements
Projects must protect the integrity of the rangeland, grazing lands
and grasslands. Applicants interested in obtaining an easement on more
intensified agricultural areas are encouraged to contact the Department
of Conservation (DOC), California Farmland Conservancy Program.
The WCB will assist applicants interested in obtaining funding information
from the different agricultural protection programs.
Innovative compatible use activities address the external and internal
components of sustainability.
The WCB encourages projects to be developed with partners attempting
to address regional landscape issues. A partnership approach brings
to the project a diversity of skills, expertise, ideas and sometimes-even
money that may not otherwise be available to complete a desired project.
Project proposals that contain funding partners may receive a higher
priority than those applicants requesting 100 percent of the necessary
funds to acquire the conservation easement.
The terms and conditions of the conservation easement must comply
with the "Principles of Compatible Use".
Landowner must disclose any known or suspected environmental conditions
associated with the property.
Landowner must certify the conservation easement was not, and is
not, required to satisfy a condition imposed upon the landowner by
any lease, permit, license, certificate, or other entitlement for use
issued by one or more public agencies, including, but not limited to,
the mitigation of significant effects on the environment of a project
pursuant to an approved environmental impact report or mitigated negative
Landowners must certify the proposed use is consistent with local
land use plans and zoning requirements.
Holders of mineral rights will be notified of the intent to purchase
a conservation easement.
Eligible Applicants and Partners
Eligible applicants and partners include a willing landowner, a local
public agency, special district, resource conservation district, joint
powers authority, nonprofit organization or state agency.
Applications will be accepted on a year-round basis. To qualify for
funding, applications must be submitted at least four months in advance
of the scheduled Board meeting. Upon receipt of a proposed project
and application, WCB will review the application for compliance with
program requirements. If the proposed project meets the program requirements,
is consistent with and compliments 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.
Grazing Land and Grassland Protection Act of 2002 - Application
Prior to completing an Application please contact John Walsh at (916) 322-9461, to check on availability of program funds.
All applications should be mailed to:
Executive Director, Wildlife Conservation Board
Post Office Box 944209
Sacramento, California 94244-2090