Permits for State-listed Plant Species

small yellow flower
Lasthenia burkei CDFW Photo by Patrick Moeszinger

The killing or possession of California rare, threatened, endangered, and candidate plant species (PDF)(opens in new tab) is prohibited by California law, however CDFW may issue permits authorizing the "take"(opens in new tab) or possession of these state-listed species under certain circumstances, such as for scientific, educational or management purposes or if the take is incidental to otherwise lawful activities and certain conditions are met. CDFW issues many of these permits to individuals to identify, document and voucher state-listed plant species (PDF)(opens in new tab), typically during botanical surveys, and may also issue permits to individuals or organizations for other scientific, educational or management purposes, most typically research or recovery actions for state-listed plant species. CDFW also partners with several botanic gardens and other institutions for ex-situ or “off-site” conservation of rare, threatened, and endangered plant species, and several California herbaria have collections of rare, threatened, and endangered plant specimens. See a list of facilities that have active agreements with CDFW. CDFW also issues permits under the Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act which was enacted in 2023.

Voucher Collection Permit

A voucher collection permit is required to collect state-listed plant species (PDF)(opens in new tab) for identification purposes during field surveys, or to collect voucher specimens to document a newly-discovered or previously unvouchered occurrence of a state-listed plant. There is no charge to apply for a voucher collection permit. Anyone who collects scientific plant specimens of state-listed species, or who may encounter a state-listed species that needs to be identified during field surveys should have a plant voucher collection permit.

Scientific, Educational, or Management Permit

Other scientific, educational or management activities on state-listed plant species may be authorized with a scientific, educational or management permit. These permits are required for scientific, educational or management activities that will result in “take”, possession, import or export of state-listed plant species such as research, seed banking, reintroduction efforts, habitat restoration and other activities. Applicants should submit a proposal to CDFW that contains the information identified in the document below. There is no charge to apply for a scientific, educational, or management permit.

Incidental Take Permit

In addition to the permits discussed above, CDFW may also authorize the incidental take or possession of certain state-listed species in conjunction with otherwise lawful activities via Incidental Take Permits, Natural Community Conservation Plans or other mechanisms. Contact the Habitat Conservation Planning Branch at (916) 376-8660 or your CDFW Regional Office for additional information.

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