Habitat Conservation Program

Inland Deserts Region

California's fish and wildlife resources, including their habitats, are held in trust for the people of the State by CDFW (Fish and Game Code § 711.7). CDFW has jurisdiction over the conservation, protection, and management of fish, wildlife, native plants, and the habitats necessary for biologically sustainable populations of those species (Fish and Game Code § 1802). CDFW's fish and wildlife management functions are implemented through its administration and enforcement of Fish and Game Code (Fish and Game Code § 702).

Lake and Streambed Alteration Program (LSA)

The Lake and Streambed Alteration Program determines whether an agreement is needed for an activity that will substantially modify a river, steam or lake. If CDFW determines that the activity may substantially adversely affect fish and wildlife resources, a Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement will be prepared. The Agreement includes reasonable conditions necessary to protect those resources and must comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Review

The Inland Deserts Region reviews CEQA documents for proposed projects in Mono, Inyo, San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial Counties and provides comment as the State agency which has statutory and common law responsibilities for fish and wildlife resources and habitats. CDFW is a trustee agency for fish and wildlife under the CEQA (see CEQA Guidelines, 14 Cal. Code Regs. § 15386(a)).

California Endangered Species Act (CESA) Permitting

CESA was enacted to conserve, protect, enhance, and restore state-listed threatened or endangered species and their habitats. If a CEQA project has the potential to result in take of species of plants or animals listed under CESA, either during construction or over the life of the project, CDFW works with project proponents to create project modification and mitigation measures in order to obtain a CESA Permit. CESA allows CDFW to authorize project proponents to take state-listed threatened, endangered, or candidate species if certain conditions are met.

Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP) Act

NCCP was added to CESA in 1991 (Fish & Game Code § 2800-2840). These provisions provide for voluntary cooperation among CDFW, landowners, and other interested parties to develop natural community conservation plans which provide for early coordination of efforts to protect listed species or species that are not yet listed. The primary purpose of an NCCP is to preserve species and their habitats, while allowing reasonable and appropriate development to occur on affected lands. NCCPs are grounded in a number of basic principles that frame the outcome of the planning process for future conservation, land use and governance.

Owens Lake Master Plan

The Owens Lake Master Plan is a collaborative planning effort that promotes dust control efforts that balance the needs of wildlife habitat, water conservation, and other lake resources. The majority of Owens Lake is held in the public trust by the California State Lands Commission with dust control implemented by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The lakes' value to wildlife has been greatly enhanced by flooding much of the lake surface. The lake and the wildlife it supports are of statewide importance. The Audubon Society has identified the Owens Lake as a nationally significant Important Bird Area. Abundant wildlife populations at Owens Lake benefit public uses and wildlife values central to the mission of CDFW.

Desert chuckawalla
Desert chuckawalla - one of the desert species whose habitat CDFW protects (CDFW photo)

Mohave Ground Squirrel
Mohave Ground Squirrel - part of a survey to understand how permitting affects habitat (CDFW photo)

Avocets using a portion of Owens Lake
The goal of the Owens Lake Master Plan is to maintain habitat for wildlife such as the avocets shown here. (photo by Mike Prather)

High Mountain Lakes - Sierra Nevada
High Mountain Lakes - Sierra Nevada (CDFW photo)