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Private Lands Incentive Programs

Comprehensive Wetland Habitat Program


California Waterfowl Habitat Program

(aka Presley Program)

The California Waterfowl Habitat Program has been assisting private landowners with the management of wetland habitat since 1993. Recognizing the need to help landowners manage habitat for waterfowl on private lands, CDFW started the program with an original enrollment of 6,500 acres in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. Since that time, the Program has steadily grown to include over 29,000 acres of habitat for wintering and breeding waterfowl in the Tulare Basin, Grasslands, Suisun Marsh, and Sacramento Valley.

Also known as the Presley Program, the California Waterfowl Habitat Program is one of the few incentive based programs that provide private landowners with technical assistance and financial incentives to manage wetland habitat. Private lands play an important role in providing habitat for the millions of waterfowl that winter and breed in the Central Valley. Over two-thirds of the wetlands in the Central Valley are under private ownership and many landowners are not trained in the science of wetland habitat management.

The program pays private landowners $20/acre ($30/acre in the Tulare Basin) annually for a 10-year duration to implement habitat practices in accordance with a detailed management plan written by CDFW biologists. Management plans require landowners to implement "moist-soil management" practices such as spring and summer irrigation to produce natural waterfowl food plants, weed abatement to control the spread of invasive plants, and the management of uplands and summer wetlands for breeding ducks.

Currently, CDFW does not have adequate funding to enroll new properties. However, a waitlist has been established should additional funding be made available. For more information on the Program, or to be placed on the waitlist, contact Brian Olson.

Permanent Wetland Easement Program

CWHP, in cooperation with the Wildlife Conservation Board's Inland Wetland Conservation Program, administers this program which pays willing landowners approximately 50-70% of their property's fair market value to purchase the farming and development rights in perpetuity. The landowner retains many rights including: trespass rights, the right to hunt and/or operate a hunting club, and the ability to pursue other types of undeveloped recreation (i.e. fishing, hiking, etc.). Easement landowners are required to follow a cooperatively developed wetland management plan and meet bi-annually with CWHP biologists to discuss habitat conditions and management. For further information contact Brian Olson or contact Peter Perrine at the Wildlife Conservation Board at (916) 445-1109.


Landowner Incentive Program

The California Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) is an effort to reverse the decline of at-risk species in the Central Valley of California through enhancement and management of private lands. A CDFW program funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Federal Aid Office, LIP focuses on the Central Valley's three predominant historical habitat types: wetlands, native grasslands, and riparian habitat. LIP assists landowners with enhancing these three habitat types by providing annual incentive payments in return for implementing habitat management plans that benefit special status species. For additional information on LIP practices, eligibility and incentives, visit the LIP website or contact Brian Olson

NEW! California Winter Rice Habitat Incentive Program

In response to the recent decline of winter-flooded rice fields in the Central Valley and the ecological importance of this habitat base, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 2348 in September of 2018. AB 2348 established the California Winter Rice Habitat Incentive Program (Section 3469, Fish and Game Code), which is designed to continue, and further encourage the winter-flooding of harvested rice fields in the Central Valley of California. Approximately 75% of the energetic needs of dabbling ducks, and a significant portion of the energetic needs of migrating shorebirds utilizing the Sacramento Valley are provided by winter-flooded rice fields.

The California Winter Rice Habitat Incentive Program (CWRHIP) provides economic incentives to landowners who agree to manage their properties in accordance with a management plan developed cooperatively by biologists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Comprehensive Wetland Habitat Program and the landowner. Management plans require landowners to flood harvested rice fields for a minimum of 70 continuous days during the winter months (October-March).

The program pays landowners an annual incentive of $10/acre for the winter-flooding of harvested rice fields that were planted at least two of the last three years.

For directions on submitting an application for the program, please review the link opens in new windowProposal Solicitation Notice (PDF). Applicants shall use this Application Form (Word) when applying.

For more information on the Program, contact Brian Olson or Helen Swagerty.


WLB 2/2015


Wildlife Branch - Lands Program
1812 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 445-0411


green foliage along San Joaquin River

Land enrolled in the Landowner Incentive Program along the San Joaquin River


Contact Information

Brian Olson
Comprehensive Wetland Habitat Program 
1812 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 445-3486
FAX: (916) 445-4058
Brian.Olson@wildlife.ca.gov