California Waterfowl Habitat Program
(aka Presley Program)
The California Waterfowl Habitat Program has been assisting private landowners with the management of wetland habitat since 1993. Recognizing the need to help landowners manage habitat for waterfowl on private lands, CDFW started the program with an original enrollment of 6,500 acres in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. Since that time, the Program has steadily grown to include over 29,000 acres of habitat for wintering and breeding waterfowl in the Tulare Basin, Grasslands, Suisun Marsh, and Sacramento Valley.
Also known as the Presley Program, the California Waterfowl Habitat Program is one of the few incentive based programs that provide private landowners with technical assistance and financial incentives to manage wetland habitat. Private lands play an important role in providing habitat for the millions of waterfowl that winter and breed in the Central Valley. Over two-thirds of the wetlands in the Central Valley are under private ownership and many landowners are not trained in the science of wetland habitat management.
The program pays landowners an incentive of $30/acre ($60/acre in the Tulare Basin) annually for the management of traditional (fall and winter-flooded) seasonal wetlands and uplands, and $60/acre for the management of semi-permanent and reverse-cycle (spring and summer-flooded) wetlands. CDFW compensates landowners to implement habitat management practices in accordance with a detailed management plan written by CDFW biologists. Management plans require landowners to implement "moist-soil management" practices such as spring and summer irrigations to enhance productivity of naturally occurring waterfowl food plants, weed abatement to control the spread of invasive plants, and the management of uplands and summer wetlands for breeding waterfowl and other wetland dependent species.
Permanent Wetland Easement Program
CWHP, in cooperation with the Wildlife Conservation Board's Inland Wetland Conservation Program, administers this program which pays willing landowners approximately 50-70% of their property's fair market value to purchase the farming and development rights in perpetuity. The landowner retains many rights including: trespass rights, the right to hunt and/or operate a hunting club, and the ability to pursue other types of undeveloped recreation (i.e. fishing, hiking, etc.). Easement landowners are required to follow a cooperatively developed wetland management plan and meet bi-annually with CWHP biologists to discuss habitat conditions and management. For further information email Brian.Olson@wildlife.ca.gov (CDFW) or James.Croft@wildlife.ca.gov (WCB)