Natural Heritage Preservation Tax Credit Program

three photos - two mountain lions in a wooded area, snowy mountain and rolling hills in the background with river and waterfowl in foreground, valley with trees and rolling hills in the background.


California's population increases have long been a topic of discussion. Of paramount concern is the question of how the population growth will affect California's rich farmlands, rangelands, open space, wildlife, plant resources, and available parklands. The business of protecting and conserving California's natural resources is a complex endeavor; however, a common theme emerges when individuals, planners and elected officials convene to discuss land use policies and growth. Specifically, innovation and partnerships are critical.

Capitalizing on the opportunities and benefits that arise from integrating divergent interests and forming public/private partnerships, unique and innovative approaches to the protection and conservation of California's farm and ranch lands, natural resources and local economies have emerged. One such innovative solution is the Natural Heritage Preservation Tax Credit Act of 2000 (Public Resources Code Section 37000 et seq).

The purpose of the Natural Heritage Preservation Tax Credit Program (Tax Credit Program) is to protect wildlife habitat, parks and open space, archaeological resources, agricultural land and water by providing state tax credits for donations of qualified land (fee title or conservation easement) and water rights. The Tax Credit Program objectives include the fostering of public/private partnerships to resolve land use and water disputes; assisting habitat stewardship; and demonstrating the state's commitment to protect natural resources by rewarding landowners who perceive habitat as an asset rather than a liability. Initially implemented in 2001, the Tax Credit Program is a successful effort that to date has resulted in the approval of $54.5 million in tax credits, and the donation and transfer of ownership of more than 9,407 acres of critical parkland, open space, agricultural conservation easements, wildlife corridors and archaeological resources.


John Walsh
(916) 322-9461

How to Apply

Applications are accepted on a year-round basis. Applications that comply with the program requirements and eligibility criteria for qualified donations can be scheduled for Board consideration only after completion of the required local public hearing and approval of the appraisal by the Department of General Services as required by the Natural Heritage Preservation Tax Credit Act and necessary real estate due diligence.

Please call John Walsh with any questions prior to completing the application package.

Mail applications to:
Executive Director, Wildlife Conservation Board
Post Office Box 944209
Sacramento, California 94244-2090

Wildlife Conservation Board
Physical Address: 1700 9th Street, 4th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95811
Mailing Address: Wildlife Conservation Board c/o CDFW, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
(916) 445-8448 | Contact WCB