California Riparian Habitat Conservation Program

Dense green vegetation lining sides of river


Riparian areas are transitional zones between terrestrial and aquatic systems that exhibit characteristics of both systems. They are typically vegetated with lush growths of grasses, forbs, shrubs, and trees that are tolerant of periodic flooding and have sediments that are rich in nutrients and organic matter. Riparian systems look and function differently across the state but possess some common ecological and hydrological characteristics such as fish and wildlife habitat, water storage, flood control, nutrient cycling, water quality protection, and recreational and economic benefits.

The California Riparian Habitat Conservation Program (CRHCP) was created within the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) by legislation in 1991. The Program's basic mission is to develop coordinated conservation efforts aimed at protecting and restoring California's riparian ecosystems. CRHCP is generally funded through the State's Habitat Conservation Fund.

The goal of the CRHCP is to protect, preserve, and restore riparian habitats throughout California. Typical riparian projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Restoration of riparian vegetation and re-establishing floodplain connectivity.
  • Active or passive restoration that may include an element of invasive plant removal and control.
  • Installation of fencing along the riparian corridor to manage livestock or wildlife and reduce impacts to streams or riparian vegetation.
  • Reconfigure degraded, incised, or undefined streams to restore natural hydrology and encourage reestablishment of native riparian habitat.

Project Criteria

Grantee or landowner will maintain protected and restored habitat in perpetuity for conservation easements, and typically for 25 years for other implementation projects. A long-term management plan is a requirement of any funded project.

Grantee will complete environmental review for their project as required by state and federal laws and obtain all required environmental permits.

A contribution of either cash or in-kind services is recommended for all projects; partnerships are strongly encouraged.


Cara Allen
(916) 926-9584

How to Apply

WCB accepts proposals on a continuous basis for the CRHCP and is authorized to award grants to nonprofit organizations (501(c)(3)), local governmental agencies, State departments, California Native American tribes, and federal agencies.

Prospective applicants should first complete the Pre-application Form (Word) and then submit it to the WCB program manager for review and discussion. WCB staff may request the applicant to complete a full application - standard Restoration Funding Application (Word) for further review and evaluation.

If a proposed project is accepted, a grant agreement will be prepared, and the proposal will be scheduled for consideration at a future WCB meeting. Prior to being formally placed on a WCB agenda, the applicant must provide a letter of support from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s regional office. This letter must be addressed to WCB’s executive director.

The Board of WCB meets four times a year. Please allow a minimum of six months from submittal of full application to project approval.

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