Managing restored habitats for at-risk species
The Central Valley is extremely important to a host of federally threatened or endangered species, including the giant garter snake, valley elderberry longhorn beetle, San Joaquin kit fox, and willow flycatcher. Additional State-listed species that depend heavily upon wetland, upland and riparian habitats include the greater sandhill crane, Swainson's hawk and yellow-billed cuckoo.
Three predominant historic habitat types in the Central Valley are riparian, wetlands, and native grasslands. These habitats comprised nearly the entire region in 1850, but the Central Valley has since lost 95% of its wetlands, 99% of its riparian forests, and virtually all of its native grasslands. Today there are 42 at-risk species that require these habitats in the Central Valley. Given these conditions, it is extremely important that incentive-based programs are available to restore and manage private lands.
Phase One is a voluntary, incentive-based program, designed to promote management of California's newly restored wetland, riparian and native grassland habitats on private land.
The program assists with enhancing riparian, wetland, and native grassland habitats by providing participating landowners with annual incentive payments in return for implementing habitat management plans that benefit at-risk species.
These efforts focus on 4 geographic regions:
- Tulare Basin
- San Joaquin Basin
- Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta/Suisun Marsh
- Sacramento Valley
Individual projects are selected through a competitive ranking process developed and implemented cooperatively by the LIP Ranking Committee, consisting of the LIP Coordinator (Coordinator) and representatives of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The Coordinator will meet annually on the property with the landowner to assess habitat conditions and prescribe specific habitat management actions within the framework of an established management plan. Examples of management activities that could be required under LIP agreements include wetland flooding, weed control (both mechanical and herbicidal), supplemental vegetation planting, and summer irrigation. This meeting and the resulting "Annual Work Plan" provide an opportunity for the Coordinator and the landowner to discuss management objectives and to adaptively plan management activities for the current year. The LIP Standard Agreement is a contract that must be signed by all program participants. Each final contract will include a detailed, site-specific management plan developed cooperatively by the Coordinator and the landowner.