The Voluntary Local Program (VLP) is designed to encourage farmers and ranchers engaged in agricultural activities to voluntarily enhance, restore, and maintain habitat for sensitive, candidate, threatened and endangered species that benefit from habitat maintenance and agricultural activities.
The program was authorized by Senate Bill 231 (Costa 1997) which required CDFW, in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), to adopt regulations to create locally designed voluntary programs for routine and ongoing agricultural activities on farms or ranches that will encourage habitat conservation and minimize take of threatened, endangered, and candidate species, and wildlife in general.
Farmers and ranchers who follow the wildlife-friendly agricultural practices prescribed by a VLP receive an exemption from California Endangered Species Act’s (CESA) prohibition against take of certain state endangered or threatened species.
CDFW collaborated with the Alameda County Resource Conservation District (ACRCD) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to design the Alameda County VLP specifically for participants who wish to restore and enhance the condition of the natural resources on their property.
The Alameda County VLP will provide take authorization, under CESA, to participating farmers and ranchers while following the management practices for two species listed as threatened in California, the California tiger salamander and the Alameda whipsnake.
In addition, the Alameda County VLP will assist by providing technical assistance to these landowners. This program will also help achieve important water quality and habitat conservation goals in Alameda County. Many of these projects will focus on erosion control and habitat restoration, such as stock pond repair and stream restoration.
For other questions regarding the program, please contact CDFW Bay Delta Region at (707) 482-2002 or the ACRCD at (925) 371-0154.