Rangeland, Grazing Land and Grassland Protection Program

View of Briones Valley

Briones Valley, courtesy of East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy

Rangeland, Grazing Land and Grassland Protection Act of 2002

In September of 2002, Chapter 984, Statutes of 2002, enacted the Rangeland, Grazing Land and Grassland Protection Act of 2002. The Act designated the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) as the lead agency for carrying out the California Rangeland, Grazing Land and Grassland Protection Program. The purpose of the program is to protect California's rangeland, grazing land and grassland through the use of conservation easements.

Purpose and Authority

Pursuant to the provisions of Section 10332, the purpose of the program is to accomplish the following:

  1. To prevent the conversion of rangeland, grazing land and grassland to nonagricultural uses.
  2. To protect the long-term sustainability of livestock grazing.
  3. To ensure continued wildlife, water quality, watershed and open-space benefits to the State of California from livestock grazing.

Minimum Program Requirements

Projects must protect the integrity of the rangeland, grazing lands and grasslands. Applicants interested in obtaining an easement on more intensified agricultural areas are encouraged to contact the Department of Conservation (DOC), Grant Programs(opens in new tab). The WCB will assist applicants interested in obtaining funding information from the different agricultural protection programs.

Innovative compatible use activities address the external and internal components of sustainability.

The WCB encourages projects to be developed with partners attempting to address regional landscape issues. A partnership approach brings to the project a diversity of skills, expertise, ideas and sometimes-even money that may not otherwise be available to complete a desired project. Project proposals that contain funding partners may receive a higher priority than those applicants requesting 100 percent of the necessary funds to acquire the conservation easement.

The terms and conditions of the conservation easement must comply with the "Principles of Compatible Use".

Landowner must disclose any known or suspected environmental conditions associated with the property.

Landowner must certify the conservation easement was not, and is not, required to satisfy a condition imposed upon the landowner by any lease, permit, license, certificate, or other entitlement for use issued by one or more public agencies, including, but not limited to, the mitigation of significant effects on the environment of a project pursuant to an approved environmental impact report or mitigated negative declaration.

Landowners must certify the proposed use is consistent with local land use plans and zoning requirements.

Holders of mineral rights will be notified of the intent to purchase a conservation easement.

Eligible Applicants and Partners

Eligible applicants and partners include a willing landowner, a local public agency, special district, resource conservation district, joint powers authority, nonprofit organization or state agency.

Submitting Applications

Applications will be accepted on a year-round basis. Upon receipt of a pre-proposal application WCB will review the proposal and based on its merits, and funding available will request a full proposal or deny the pre-proposal.  If the full proposal meets the guidelines, and is deemed appropriate for the funding source the project may be scheduled for Board consideration. Applicants will be notified as to when the project will be considered by the Board once the real estate due diligence is completed. 

Wildlife Conservation Board
Physical Address: 715 P Street, 17th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814
Mailing Address: Wildlife Conservation Board c/o CDFW, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
(916) 445-8448 | Contact WCB