Connectivity and Planning
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) mission is to manage California’s diverse fish, wildlife, and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend, for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public. As development pressure grows in California and climate conditions continue to change, fish, wildlife, and natural communities may not be able to move freely to meet all their habitat needs for breeding, feeding, and shelter. CDFW is involved in both furthering the science and research on habitat connectivity and implementing various landscape level programs to combat habitat connectivity impacts.
Landscape Conservation Planning Program: Connectivity
CDFW’s Landscape Conservation Planning Program (LCPP) programs help ensure that vital habitats are large enough and connected enough to meet the needs of all species that use them. The program includes the Regional Conservation Investment Strategies (RCIS) Program, the Conservation and Mitigation Banking Program, and the Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP) Program all have components that promote habitat connectivity. By protecting habitats and restoring habitat connections, wildlife and other living species are provided greater opportunities for movement, migration, and changes in distribution.
Landscape planning and evaluation of regional resources includes identifying intact, high quality habitats and essential connectivity linkages. The LCPP programs create pathways for individuals and entities to establish plans for effective mitigation and valuable conservation at several landscape scales in advance of human disturbance and development. This proactive planning and coordination create unique opportunities for efficient project permitting, minimizing impacts, and identifying and establishing quality, permanent conservation across California.
To further LCCP’s work on connectivity, Senate Bill 790, “Wildlife connectivity actions: compensatory mitigation credits,” was recently passed by the California Legislator and signed by the Governor. The bill summarized the need for habitat connectivity and wildlife corridors to mitigate climate change impacts as well as reduce human impacts to species. Beginning January 1, 2022, SB 790 allows CDFW’s RCIS Program and Conservation and Mitigation Banking Program to create guidelines and issue mitigation credits for wildlife connectivity actions. These actions measurably improve aquatic or terrestrial habitat connectivity, or wildlife migration, recolonization, and breeding opportunities inhibited by built infrastructure or habitat fragmentation. Guidelines for the selling, use, and transfer of credits for connectivity projects are currently under development.
The tabs below detail each programs unique approach to promoting connectivity and enabling valuable landscape conservation.