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SECTION II:  POTENTIAL STRATEGIES
GROUP E: STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFUL PLANNING BY PROJECT PROPONENTS

Strategy E1: Project Planning
Strategy E1.2: Work with farmers and landowners
Strategy E1.2.1 Involve farmers and landowners in project planning

DESCRIPTION

This strategy encourages project proponents to consult with farmers and landowners on the role they wish to take, if any, in project planning and development.  Consultation could involve possible roles regarding participating in project activities, how project activities could affect them either directly or indirectly, or integration of project activities into other land use issues in the area.  Issues to consider include whether:

  • To the extent that a project includes maintaining farmland on project lands, consideration should be given to providing flexibility to the farmer and to developing working landscapes on project lands. Farmers of land affected by project facilities and activities could maintain or obtain full or partial ownership of the land on which project activities will be carried out or could be compensated to manage project lands. (See also Strategies E1.2.2 and E1.2.3).
  • Some or all of the ownership interests on any project land could remain in private hands where possible in order to keep the property in nongovernmental ownership and thereby on the County tax base.  Agriculture could take place within areas identified for habitat restoration under the project without undermining the achievement of the project goals and objectives.  (See also Strategies E2.3 and E2.5).
  • Opportunities exist to partner with landowners and others to maintain and enhance environmental quality on farmland.  Existing agricultural operations on lands could be modified, through such things as crop change, new integrated pest management strategies, altered water usage, or full or partial conversion to habitat uses, in a manner that renders such operations consistent with the goals and objectives of the project by enhancing environmental outcomes in a manner beneficial to species covered by the project. (See also Strategy B1).
  • Opportunities exist to manage land for purposes other than conventional crop production.   Subsidies, carbon payments or other market mechanisms could be used to encourage economically viable rice farming or managing wetlands or other habitat areas due to the environmental benefits of such rice farming such as the stabilization of subsiding areas or the creation of sinks for greenhouse gases and methylmercury.  (See also Strategies C1, C2, and C3). 
  • Opportunities exist to provide incentives to take part in market based conservation programs. (See also Strategy B2)

RELATED PROGRAMS AND POLICIES

See related discussions in Strategies B1, B2, C1, C2 and C3

ISSUES

Some of the measures described above, such as managing lands to maintain and enhance environmental quality, have been practiced by farmers, resource conservation districts, and others for many years.  Others, such as development of carbon credits and payments to "farm" the land in a way that reverses subsidence,  are newer or still in the process of development.   Although there are efforts to establish regional strategies for restoration projects in the Delta, there has not been active participation by local landowners up to this point.  It may be difficult to find funding for developing or implementing the measures.  To the extent that agricultural land is involved in project purposes, long term (often in perpetuity) conservation easements and funding assurances will have to be developed.  Strategies that seek to serve multiple benefits such as maintaining agricultural uses, meeting species-based regulatory requirements, and getting carbon credits, will still need to meet the standards of all of those things in order to be viable, and finding ways to do that will be challenging. 

PARTNERS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Farmers, Landowners and other entities listed in Strategies B1, B2, C1, C2 and C3.  They include:

  • Local government, SACOG and other councils of government
  • Federal and state resource and regulatory agencies, including the California Natural Resources Agency,  the California Department of Water Resources, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board , the California Department of Conservation, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and  the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
  • Organizations with a regional interest such as the Delta Conservancy, the Delta Protection Commission and the Delta Stewardship Council
  • Resource Conservation Districts
  • Local colleges and universities, including the Agricultural Extension Service
  • Local labor and farm worker organizations
  • Local economic development corporations
  • NGOs representing farmers
  • NGOs representing entities that promote habitat protection and restoration activities.

If you would like to provide feedback on this strategy, please click the following link: Agricultural Stewardship Strategy Feedback Form

ALS Workgroup: ALS Framework and Strategies: Section II:  Strategy E1.2.1 Involve Farmers and Landowners: 061014