The California Department of Fish and Wildlife distributes federal funds for threatened and endangered species conservation and recovery actions through the Endangered Species Conservation and Recovery Grant Program. Funds for threatened and endangered species conservation actions are provided to states and territories from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through their Traditional Conservation Grants Program (Section 6 Grant Program). CDFW is responsible for managing native fish, wildlife, and plant species in California, and directs the solicitation and implementation of Traditional Section 6 Grant funded projects to promote species conservation and recovery in coordination with the USFWS through a Section 6 Cooperative Agreement. Authority for the CDFW to administer the Section 6 grant program is granted through §1501.5 of the Fish and Game Code.
The primary objective of endangered species conservation and recovery grants is to support the development and implementation of state programs to conserve and recover federally threatened and endangered inland fish and wildlife species. Grant funds to support the conservation of certain marine species and anadromous fish species are administered under separate programs. Project proposals must be developed in close coordination with CDFW and USFWS biologists and identify a CDFW employee who will sponsor the project by administering the grant. Eligible projects are those which target species that are federally listed as threatened, endangered, species for which a positive federal 90-day finding has been made, species that are the subject of a proposed federal listing rule, species for which the USFWS has initiated a status review and has announced the review in the Federal Register, and species de-listed by the USFWS within the last five years. Applicants must provide a minimum of 25% of the total project cost in non-federal matching funds or in-kind services. Projects must focus on one or more of the following areas:
- Introduction of species into suitable habitats within their historic range
- Enhancement or restoration of habitat
- Surveys and inventories of habitats
- Species status surveys
- Propagation of animals and plants
- Research such as genetic analysis to determine genetic health and population structure
- Monitoring of candidate, at-risk and recently recovered species
- Public education and outreach tools such as website development or coordination workshops with local landowners to address a specific threat to a species
Funding priority is given to projects that have a direct impact on the recovery of listed species, prevent extinction of a listed species or prevent the need to list a species through implementation of tasks identified in a final or draft recovery plan, recovery outline, or similar conservation or management strategy. Proposals that involve only research, must produce information that can be directly used to prevent listing, recover, manage, or improve current management strategies for a species.
The CDFW will annually solicit project proposals for funding under the Endangered Species Conservation and Recovery Grant Program based on approved needs, topics, and/or themes which address the goals and objective of the program through its Proposal Solicitation Notice (PSN) process. Each year the PSN will contain all pertinent information needed for the submission of proposals, including, but not limited to following:
- Types of projects or themes that will be accepted;
- Current proposal and budget templates;
- Information on the proposal scoring process;
- Other specific CDFW requirements;
- Other information as applicable.
Project proposals are evaluated and scored by an internal committee comprised of staff from the Wildlife, Fisheries, and Habitat Conservation Planning Branches and from CDFW Regions. From the evaluation process a list of recommended projects is submitted to the Director of CDFW for approval. The final list of CDFW recommendations is then submitted to USFWS for consideration. Proposals selected by the USFWS for funding then receive federal technical input, environmental review, and final project approval. Once a project is approved, CDFW will prepare sub-grants to convey funding to project applicants. The number of projects funded each year is dependent on the amount of funding available. Traditional Section 6 Recovery Grants have historically been awarded in amounts ranging from $20,000 to $400,000.
Grant funds for this program are made available to CDFW through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (Section 6) Grant Program.