Oak Woodlands Conservation Program

State of California Wildlife Conservation Board

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Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: California

Location of residency: California

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Overview:

Note: While applications are accepted on a year-round basis, the WCB generally meets four times a year. Typically, Board meetings are held in February, May, August and November. Almost all funding available for this program has been allocated. Before completing an application, please contact the WCB.

Overview

The Oak Woodlands Conservation Program offers landowners, conservation organizations, cities and counties, an opportunity to obtain funding for projects designed to conserve and restore California's oak woodlands. While the Program is statewide in nature, it provides opportunities to address oak woodland issues on a regional priority basis.

The Program is designed to help local efforts achieve oak woodland protection. More importantly, this Program provides a mechanism to bring ranchers and conservationists together in a manner that allows both to achieve that which is so valued - sustainable ranch and farming operations and healthy oak woodlands.

Eligible Easement Acquisition, Restoration or Long-Term Agreement Projects

Pursuant to the requirements of Section 1363, the Act requires that no less than 80 percent of the funds be used for the following type of projects:

Grants for the purchase of oak woodland easements.

The holder of the conservation easement shall ensure, on an annual basis that the conservation easement conditions have been met for that year. To facilitate this annual review, a Baseline Condition Report shall be prepared that identifies the biological resources that are present on the property and covered under the conservation easement. The Act requires that priority be given to projects designed to protect oak woodlands in perpetuity with conservation easements.

Grants for restoration or enhancement projects.

Project proposals must contain an appropriate management plan that describes the restoration effort and the management practices that will be used to ensure the restoration or enhancement effort achieves the goals of the landowner and the goals of the project.

Grant for long-term leases.

Projects are designed to protect oak woodlands for purposes of open space, viewshed, wildlife habitat or alternative grazing opportunities. Such leases must be managed according to a management plan prepared to meet the goals stated in the long-term lease or project agreement. 

Grants for cost-sharing incentive payments. 

Projects designed to achieve conservation objectives and the landowner is willing to enter into long-term agreements. Such agreements shall include management practices that benefit the goals of the landowner and the oak woodlands. The length of the long-term agreement will be dependent upon the nature of the project, the goals of the landowner and benefits to the oak woodlands. Typical long-term agreements could run 15, to 45-years. Cost-share incentive payments could include, but are not necessarily limited to the following:
  • Compensation for not cutting trees for firewood.
  • Long-term payment to keep the land in open space, managed according to a plan designed to benefit the landowner and the oak woodlands.
  • Reimbursement for conservation improvements such as fencing, solar panels, grazing cages to protect young oak saplings, alternative water sources, tree planting and tree maintenance.
  • Compensation for alternative grazing practices such as up-front payments to defer grazing on restoration areas.
    • Areas would be managed according to a plan designed to benefit the goals of the landowner and the restoration of the oak woodlands.
Applicants are encouraged to seek input from the local Fish and Game Biologist or other resource professionals when developing proposals that request funding for conservation easements, development of management plans or long-term agreements.

Eligible Public Education, Outreach and Technical Assistance Projects

Pursuant to the requirements of Section 1363, the Act allows for 20 percent of the funds to be used for the following type of projects:
  • Grants for public education and outreach by local governments, park and open space districts, resource conservation districts and nonprofit organizations.
  • Assistance to local government entities, park and open space districts, resource conservation districts and nonprofit organization for the development and implementation of oak conservation elements in local general plans.
  • Technical Assistance.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • The Oak Woodlands Conservation Program is designed to consider grant proposals from the following participants: private landowners, local government entities, park and open space districts, resource conservation districts and nonprofit organizations.  
  • In addition, pursuant to Section 1366 (f), the county or city shall certify that proposed grant requests are consistent with the Oak Woodlands Management Plan of the county or city.
    • As such, eligible participants must consult with the local county or city and obtain a certification that the proposal is consistent with local Oak Woodlands Management Plan.  
    • Further, Section 1366 (f) requires that if the land covered by the proposal is in the jurisdiction of more than one county or city, then each county or city shall certify that the proposal is consistent with the Oak Woodlands Management Plan of each county or city.
  • Criteria for Easement Acquisition, Restoration or Long-Term Agreement Projects:
    • To qualify for funding consideration for a restoration, enhancement, purchase of an oak conservation easement or long-term agreement, projects must meet one or more of the following criteria, must contain an appropriate management plan to assure project goals are maintained and the oak stand must have greater than 10 percent canopy: 
      • The project is of sufficient size to provide superior wildlife values.
      • The project area contains a diverse size-class structure of oak woodlands and/or a diversity of oak species that will promote the sustainability and perpetuation of oak woodlands.
      • The property is adjacent to other protected areas or will contribute toward ease of wildlife movement across ownerships.
      • The project contributes toward regional or community goals, provides scenic open-space, protects historic or archeological values, or contains unique geologic features.
      • The property is a working landscape. The landowners have implemented or agree to implement stewardship practices that recognize and incorporate the ecological requirements of oak woodlands and associated habitats, thus promoting the economic and resource sustainability of the farming and ranching operation
      • The property removes or reduces the threat of habitat conversion from oak woodlands to some other use. 
      • The project has the potential to serve as a stewardship model for other landowners.
  • Criteria for Education, Outreach and Technical Assistance Projects
    • To qualify for funding consideration for a public education, outreach proposal or technical assistance project, the project must meet the following criteria:
      • The project shall be designed to identify and communicate the social, economic, agricultural and biological benefits of conserving oak woodlands.
      • The project shall be designed and targeted to reach the maximum number of local landowners that could benefit from public education and outreach efforts.
      • The project shall be designed and implemented as a collective effort or partnership that, where appropriate, includes local entities such as; landowners, the Resource Conservation District, Fish and Game Biologist, UCCE Farm Advisor, representatives from farming or ranching organizations and the county or city planning department.
      • The project shall be designed to promote and encourage oak woodland conservation through voluntary approaches.
      • The project shall provide sources of available financial and/or technical information to assist landowners wishing to conserve their oak woodlands.
      • The project will identify measurable goals and objectives to evaluate the success of the project. For projects not completed within one year of approval, the design shall include specific interim deliverables or benchmarks and a timeline for completion.
      • If requested by the WCB, project sponsors must be willing to make education, outreach and technical assistance information available online so that other project proponents may benefit from the education and outreach effort. Such information should not include private or proprietary information about private landowners or their operations.

Preferences:

  • The WCB encourages projects to be developed with partners attempting to address regional landscape issues and oak preservation needs. 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.