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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 E1.2.2: Compensate farmers and landowners to manage agricultural land for project purposes

DESCRIPTION

Where agricultural production is consistent with or necessary for the conservation purpose of BDCP, farmers and ranchers could be paid to manage habitat lands, either as owners or lessees.  Examples of practices that have been carried out in the Delta or elsewhere are these:

  • cultivation of alfalfa and irrigated pasture as foraging habitat for Swainson’s hawks, tricolored blackbirds and sandhill cranes
  • cultivation of rice, wheat and feed corn for sandhill cranes
  • rangeland management that supports burrowing owls
  • rice cultivation that supports giant garter snakes 
  • seasonal flooding of agricultural land on floodplains and enhancement of channel margin habitat for fish

RELATED PROGRAMS AND POLICIES

Managers of several properties in the Delta area, including Cosumnes River Preserve, Staten Island, and Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, lease land to growers, who successfully integrate commercial crops and valuable habitat.  The Habitat Conservation Plan for the Natomas Basin in Sacramento and Sutter Counties includes a habitat reserve area, most of which is kept in commercial crops, leased to farmers, and managed to provide habitat for Swainson’s hawk.
Some commercial habitat mitigation banks are built around farm property and managed by farmer owners, e.g. Sacramento River Ranch in Yolo County, owned by Wildlands, Inc.

ISSUES

One important issue is the reluctance of growers to accept restrictions on their choice of crops or management practices.

OPPORTUNITIES AND POTENTIAL PARTNERS

The Delta Conservancy’s Strategic Plan aims to “evaluate options for public/private partnerships to develop restoration projects.”  The Delta Conservancy’s Strategic Plan recognizes the need to evaluate options for public/private partnerships to develop restoration projects and to give priority to management models that preserve economic uses of the land. The Conservancy has proposed establishment of a Delta Restoration Network of entities with knowledge about habitat restoration opportunities and concerns. 

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 E1.2.2 Farmers manage agricultural lands for project purposes: 102913