Western Joshua Tree Conservation Permitting

This page will be updated frequently. Check back often for updates.

The Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act (WJTCA) prohibits the importation, export, take, possession, purchase, or sale of any western Joshua tree in California unless authorized by CDFW.

The WJTCA authorizes CDFW to issue several types of take permits under certain circumstances including:

  • WJTCA Hazard Management Permits, which provide authorization to remove dead trees or trim live or dead trees that pose a risk to structures or public health and safety. No permit fees or mitigation is required for these permits.
  • WJTCA Incidental Take Permits, which provide authorization for take in association with renewable energy, housing, public works, and other projects. The WJTCA incidental take permit is streamlined through the option for an individual or business to choose to pay a standard mitigation fee rather than complete mitigation actions.

Hazard Management Permits

These permits are free and issued to property owners for the purpose of removing dead western Joshua trees or trimming live or dead western Joshua trees, if each tree or limb to be removed meets at least one of the following conditions:

  • has fallen over and is within 30 feet of a structure
  • is leaning against an existing structure
  • creates an imminent threat to public health or safety

How to apply for a permit:

  1. Review the permit how-to guide
  2. Submit an Online Application(opens in new tab)
    Download a Western Joshua Tree Hazard Management Permit Application (PDF Form)(opens in new tab) , and submit your application, along with photos of the tree(s) and/or limb(s) proposed for trimming/removal, to WJTHazardPermit@wildlife.ca.gov.

CDFW will process your permit within 30 days of receipt for limbs and/or trees that have fallen and are within 30 feet of a structure or are leaning against an existing structure, and within 10 days of receipt for limbs and/or trees that create an imminent threat to public health and safety.

WJTCA Incidental Take Permits

The WJTCA authorizes CDFW to issue permits for the incidental take of one or more western Joshua trees if the permittee meets certain conditions. Permittees pay statutorily prescribed fees in lieu of conducting mitigation activities. To apply for a permit:

  1. Review the WJTCA ITP process guide
  2. Perform the WJT Census
  3. Fill out the application form (Word)
  4. Assemble and submit documents to your regional office

See the WJTCA Incidental Take Permits page for more information.

Under the act, all in-lieu fees collected will be deposited into the Western Joshua Tree Conservation Fund for the purposes of acquiring, conserving, and managing western Joshua tree conservation lands and completing other activities to conserve the western Joshua tree.

Local Agreements

Pursuant to the WJTCA, CDFW may enter into an agreement with any county or city to delegate limited authority to permit the taking of a western Joshua tree associated with developing single-family residences, multifamily residences, accessory structures, and public works projects. CDFW may similarly enter into an agreement with any county or city to delegate limited authority to permit the removal of dead western Joshua trees and the trimming of live or dead western Joshua trees.

Additional information will be added here as local agreements are established.

California Endangered Species Act (CESA) Permitting

CESA Incidental Take Permits continue to be available while western Joshua tree remains a candidate species under CESA. The WJTCA retains the option for any person or public agency to obtain a CESA Incidental Take Permit from CDFW for western Joshua tree under the terms of CESA. Importantly, the decision for type of permit is left to the choice of the individual or business.

For more information visit the CESA Permitting page.

Natural Community Conservation Plans

Under the Natural Community Conservation Planning Act and upon the approval of a Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP) that provides for the conservation of the western Joshua tree as a covered species, the NCCP will serve as the sole basis to authorize the take of western Joshua tree for any project or activity covered by the plan.

For more information visit the NCCP page.


For additional questions about western Joshua tree, contact WJT@wildlife.ca.gov or your regional office:

  • Region 4
    (serving Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Tuolumne counties)
    (559) 243-4005, reg4sec@wildlife.ca.gov
  • Region 5
    (serving Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties)
    (858) 467-4201, AskR5@wildlife.ca.gov
  • Region 6
    (serving Imperial, Inyo, Mono, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties)
    (909) 484-0167, AskRegion6@wildlife.ca.gov

Habitat Conservation Planning Branch
1010 Riverside Parkway, West Sacramento, CA 95605
Mailing: P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090