The classification of fully protected was California's initial effort in the 1960s to identify and provide additional protection to those animals that were rare or faced possible extinction. Lists were created for fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Most fully protected species have also been listed as threatened or endangered species under the more recent California Endangered Species Act.
Fully protected species may not be taken or possessed except with authorization from CDFW and only under specific circumstances. CDFW may authorize take of fully protected species for necessary scientific research, including efforts to recovery fully protected or CESA-listed species, relocation of a fully protected bird species for the protection of livestock, or if the fully protected species is listed as a covered species whose conservation and management is provided for in a Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP).
CDFW may authorize take of fully protected species that is incidental to a project only for the five types of projects listed below. If you think CDFW may be able to authorize take of fully protected species for your project or activity, please reach out to your regional CDFW office to discuss your project before applying for take authorization.
- A maintenance, repair, or improvement project to the State Water Project, including existing infrastructure, undertaken by the Department of Water Resources.
- A maintenance, repair, or improvement project to critical regional or local water agency infrastructure.
- A transportation project, including any associated habitat connectivity and wildlife crossing project, undertaken by a state, regional, or local agency, that does not increase highway or street capacity for automobile or truck travel.
- A wind project and any appurtenant infrastructure improvement, and any associated electric transmission project carrying electric power from a facility that is located in the state to a point of junction with any California-based balancing authority.
- A solar photovoltaic project and any appurtenant infrastructure improvement, and any associated electric transmission project carrying electric power from a facility that is located in the state to a point of junction with any California-based balancing authority.
The following species are fully protected. Their common and scientific names listed are from Fish and Game Code Sections 3511, 4700, 5050, and 5515. However, some of these names are no longer consistent with current scientific nomenclature.
|Mohave tui chub
(formerly Mohave chub)
|Siphateles bicolor mohavenisis
|Lost River sucker
|Deltistes luxatus and Catostomus luxatus
(formerly humpback sucker)
(formerly Owens river pupfish)
|unarmored threespine stickleback
|Gasterosteus aculeatus williamsoni
|Santa Cruz long-toed salamander
|Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum
|Bufo boreas exsul
|blunt-nosed leopard lizard
|San Francisco garter snake
|Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia
|California black rail
|Laterallus jamaicensis coturniculus
|California Ridgway's rail
(formerly California clapper rail)
|Rallus longirostris obsoletus
|California least tern
|Sterna albifrons browni
|greater sandhill crane
|Grus candadensis tabida
|light-footed Ridgway's rail
(formerly light-footed clapper rail)
|Rallus longirostris levipes
|southern bald eagle
|Haliaeetus leucocephalus leucocephalus
|Yuma Ridgway's rail
(formerly Yuma clapper rail)
|Rallus longirostris yumanensis
|Morro Bay kangaroo rat
|Dipodomys heermanni morroensis
|Ovis canadensis - except Nelson bighorn sheep
(ssp. Ovis canadensis nelsoni) in the area described
in subdivision (b) of Section 4902 (Fish and Game Code)
|northern elephant seal
|Guadalupe fur seal
|Pacific right whale
|salt-marsh harvest mouse
|southern sea otter
|Enhydra lutris nereis