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2022-2024 News Releases

Grant Awarded to Conserve Over 27,000 Acres in San Luis Obispo County, Protect Threatened and Endangered Species
  • February 16, 2024
An aerial overview of the Camatta Ranch grasslands in San Luis Obispo County.

Wildlife Conservation Board Awards Nearly $100 Million in Grants to 31 Habitat Conservation and Restoration Projects

The Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) provided a $10.3 million grant to The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County (LCSLO) to protect approximately 27,500 acres of grassland, blue oak savannah, shrubland and riparian corridors. The work will protect habitat for 299 animal species and 250 native plant species, including Camatta Canyon amole plant, San Joaquin kit fox, Bell’s vireo and blunt-nosed leopard lizard among others. The Camatta Ranch project - YouTube (Video) will also provide connectivity to protected land, open space and wildlife corridors extending from Carrizo Plain National Monument to the south and Big Sur to the north.

"In the heart of California's Central Coast, the beautiful and diverse Camatta Ranch stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of a family and the power of partnerships to ensure its protection,” said Kaila Dettman, executive director for The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County. “By conserving this working cattle ranch, composed of rolling grasslands, majestic oaks, and habitat for myriad wildlife species, we won’t just protect a 27,512-acre piece of land, but a critical wildlife corridor and refuge for those who visit. This project would not be possible without the support of the Wildlife Conservation Board and its commitment to protecting our wild places and working lands; we are deeply grateful to WCB and the people of California.”

WCB approved approximately $100 million in grants to 31 projects at its Feb. 15, 2024, quarterly meeting that will help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. The grants will support Governor Newsom’s goal of conserving 30% of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030, an initiative known as 30x30. The initiative seeks to protect biodiversity, expand access to nature for all Californians and address climate change.

Other funded projects include:

  • A $5 million grant to The California Council of Land Trusts (CCLT) for a collaboration with the Land Trust Alliance. This proposal is for a collaborative block grant to initiate the California Onward Capacity Building and Grant Program for land trusts and their partners. This program will engage, train and equip California land trusts and their partners, with a focus on disadvantaged communities and California Native American Communities, to accelerate the pace, scale, diversity and durability of real property conservation throughout California.

“CCLT is elated and grateful to receive this funding from WCB to launch the California Onward Capacity Building and Grant Program,” said Bridget Fithian, board chair for the CCLT. “Land trusts in California work diligently to conserve and restore land throughout the state but need additional resources to help realize the ambitious goals as set forth in the Governor’s 30x30 initiative. The land trust community is poised to conserve another 3.5 million acres of forests, chaparral, wetlands, grasslands, deserts, coastal habitats, and working lands by 2030. With the State partnership represented by this grant, we are much closer to making this goal a reality.”

  • $16 million in grants to the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency (SCVHA) for the acquisition of two properties in Santa Clara County for the protection and preservation of nearly 3,000 combined acres. SCVHA will acquire The Conservation Fund’s interest in the 1,073-acre O’Connell Ranch which includes extensive annual grassland, blue oak woodland, mixed oak woodland, northern mixed chaparral and Central California sycamore alluvial woodland areas which support elk, mountain lion, San Joaquin kit fox and California red-legged frog near Gilroy.

SCVHA will also acquire 1,902 acres of land at Lakeside Ranch for the protection and preservation of existing regional wildlife linkages and special status species occurrences, as well as rare serpentine plant communities, grasslands, oak woodlands, pond and riparian habitat areas within the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Community Conservation Plan, located west of Morgan Hill.

“Without WCB funding, there isn’t the certainty our NGO [non-governmental organization] partners need to proceed with the O’Connell and Lakeside Ranch acquisitions,” said Edmund Sullivan, executive officer for the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency. “WCB is a critical, I would argue invaluable, funding partner ensuring the successful implementation of the Santa Clara Valley NCCP.”

  • A $5.5 million grant to the Ore-Cal Resource Conservation and Development Council to identify suitable locations for wildlife crossing features and develop Caltrans documentation, environmental review and designs for up to two wildlife crossing structures for mule deer, mountain lions and wolves across Interstate 5 near Hornbrook in Siskiyou County. According to the UC Davis Road Ecology Center, this stretch of I-5 ranks among the most problematic highways in California for wildlife mortality.
  • A $5.8 million grant to the City of Los Angeles for a cooperative project with Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to complete the first step in restoring Southern California steelhead passage in the channelized portion of the Los Angeles River by installing a roughened and meandering channel, water velocity reduction features, resting pockets for migrating fish and vegetative habitat in a quarter mile stretch of the river in downtown Los Angeles.

“This project will help lay the groundwork for future modifications to the current lined and channelized LA River to determine how it can provide habitat and safe migratory conditions for steelhead trout and other fish and wildlife species while also meeting the strict flood control requirements of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and preserving the same level of flood risk,” said Evann Gonzales, civil engineering associate for the City of Los Angeles. “The WCB plays the cornerstone role in funding this urban steelhead river restoration project.”

  • A $4.26 million grant to the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy for a cooperative project, known as One Tam Forest Conservation, with the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the National Parks Service and Marin Municipal Water District for forest health treatments on approximately 1,100 acres to increase forest health and biodiversity while decreasing vulnerability to wildfire and climate change on several properties in Marin County.”

“In 2023, the One Tam partners released the Marin Regional Forest Health Strategy, a plan that brings together community engagement, environmental justice, anticipated climate change impacts and best available science to offer insight in how to protect and improve forest health and resilience in Marin County over the next decade,” said Danny Franco, Senior Project Manager, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. “Support from the Wildlife Conservation Board Forest Conservation Program will help One Tam put the Marin Regional Forest Health Strategy into action, and the resources provided by WCB will enable the Parks Conservancy to work with our One Tam partners to implement significant forest and woodland stewardship actions in key areas throughout the County.”

For more information about the WCB, please visit

Photo of the Camatta Ranch grassland valleys courtesy of The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County.


Media Contacts:
Mark Topping, Wildlife Conservation Board, (916) 539-4673
Jennifer Norris, Wildlife Conservation Board, (916) 213-3023

Categories: Rare Species, WCB, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Board

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