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Federal & State Conservation Programs
Regardless of whether you live in the city, along the river, or in the country, there may be a conservation assistance program that is right for you and your property. We'll help connect you to the professionals nearby that can assist in achieving your conservation goals.

The federal land conservation funding and technical assistance programs are national in scope and the majority are offered by the Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Department of Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service.

The state of California has a number of land conservation assistance programs designed to help you with either financial or technical assistance. Take a look through the programs to see if one fits your conservation goals. The following federal and state assistance programs are designed to promote habitat protection or restoration as well as other conservation activities on your land through grants, cost-share, technical assistance, or tax incentives.

Education Programs Education Programs
Adopt-A-Wetland Program
American Hiking Society
Anza-Borrego Foundation
Audubon California
Audubon Center at Debs Park
Batiquitos Lagoon Nature Center
California Agricultural Water Stewardship Initiative
California Invasive Plant Council
California Land Stewardship Institute
California Noxious Weed Information Program
California Oak Foundation
California Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) Program
Celebrate Urban Birds
Civil War Trust
Coalition of Prescribed Fire Councils Inc.
Community Water Center
Conservation Finance Network
Desert Discovery Center
Earth Force, Inc.
Ecology Center
EElinked Networks
Environmental Nature Center
Equine Land Conservation Resource
Fire Science Online
Firewise Communities
Fish Friendly Farming Environmental Certification Program
Food Tank
Forestry Education and Careers
Grazing Management Course
Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge
Holistic Management International
Institute of Domestic Technology
Jughandle Creek Nature Center Native Plant Nursery
Marin Organic
McCall Outdoor Science School
Mississippi Wildlife Federation
National Interagency Prescribed Fire Training Center
National NEMO Network
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
North American Association for Environmental Education
Organic Farming Research Foundation
Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council
Pinchot Institute for Conservation
Pollinator Partnership
Project Learning Tree - National
Project WILD
Protect U.S. Community Invasive Species Network
Ranching For Profit School
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
Ready, Set, Go!
Rural Women's Project
Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) Program
Sutter Buttes Regional Land Trust
Tamarisk Coalition
Texas Brigades
The Dunes Center
The National Agricultural Law Center
The Rabbit Haven
The Water Conservation Garden
U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities, Inc.
Urban Ecology Center
Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation
Water Education for Teachers in the City
Water Education Foundation
Watershed Information Center and Conservancy of Napa County
Western Aquatic Plant Management Society
Wild Ones
Wild Ones
Women Owning Woodlands
Women, Food & Agriculture Network

State Funding / Technical Resources State Funding / Technical Resources
Biological Control Program
CalFire Resource Management
California Certified Farmers Market Program
California Department of Conservation
California Farmland Conservation Program (Williamson Act)
California Forest Improvement Program
California Forest Legacy Program
California Invasive Species Program
California Land Acquisition Program
California Landowner Incentive Program
California Noxious Weed Information Program
California Public Access Program
California Rangeland, Grazing Land and Grassland Protection Program
California Riparian Habitat Conservation Program
California State Water Resources Control Board
California Waterfowl Habitat Program
California Watershed Program
Center for Invasive Species Management
Center for Invasive Species Research
Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) Habitat Restoration Program (HRP)
Coho Salmon Habitat Enhancement Leading to Preservation Act (Coho HELP Act)
Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC)
Curly Top Virus Control Program - CDFA
Division of Marketing Services
Ecosystem Restoration on Agricultural Lands
Ecosystem Restoration Program
Farm and Ranch Solid Waste Cleanup and Abatement Grant
Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program
Fisheries Restoration Grant Program
Forest Conservation Program
Habitat Enhancement and Restoration Program (General)
Hydrilla Program - CDFA
Inland Wetland Conservation Program
Keep Me Wild
Oak Woodlands Conservation Program
Partners For Fish and Wildlife Program Pacific SW Region
Permanent Wetland Easement Program
Prairie Grouse Partners
Private Lands Wildlife Habitat Enhancement and Management Program (PLM)
Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Program
The Environmental Enhancement And Mitigation Program
Timberland Conservation Program
Tree Farm Certification

Conservation Districts
California Resource Conservation District Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs), once known as Soil Conservation Districts, are "special districts" of the state of California, set up under California law to be locally governed agencies with their own locally appointed, independent boards of directors. Although RCDs are established locally by the rules of a county's Local Agency Formation Committee (LAFCO), and they often have close ties to county government, they are not county government entities.

There are numerous types of special districts throughout the state set up to administer needs of local people for pest control, fire fighting, water distribution, and a host of other services. Some special districts are "enterprise" districts and deliver services or products, such as water, to local customers on a fee basis. Other districts, "non-enterprise" districts, deliver services, such as fire or police protection, to all local residents. These are usually supported on a taxation basis. RCDs have characteristics of both enterprise and non-enterprise districts.

Under Division 9 of the California Public Resources Code, RCDs are permitted to function to a certain degree as enterprise districts because they are empowered to charge reasonable fees for services rendered to individuals. At the same time, certain rules permit RCDs to draw on local taxes for revenues, though the passage of Proposition 13 in 1977 has made it much more difficult for RCDs to function in this way.

Though not governed directly by the state, special districts, among them RCDs, are subject to state law concerning elections, responsibilities, legal meetings, and much more. RCDs, however, are given their primary authority to implement local conservation measures by Division 9.

"The Nation that destroys its soil destroys itself" was the warning issued in 1937 by President Roosevelt when he signed legislation authorizing the creation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. At that time, the nation was facing a monumental task of protecting our soil and water from the ravages of improper use that resulted in the "Dust Bowl" era. The Federal Government realized it could only solve the problem through strong local involvement and participation. Local people had to be a major part of the solution, which is why Soil and Water Conservation Districts were formed.

Today, our nation is facing another monumental task: Controlling "polluted runoff", otherwise known as Non-Point Source Pollution. As it was in the 1930’s, the solution is local involvement. Districts are subdivisions of state government run by locally elected and appointed volunteers who work to solve local natural resource problems. It is community involvement and the voluntary approach that makes Soil and Water Conservation Districts so effective. Working in a unique cooperative partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, which provides strong technical expertise, and state and local partners, Soil and Water Conservation Districts reach out to all local stakeholders in the community to determine priorities and set a course of action to solve natural resource problems. Districts provide local conservation leadership, teach the value of natural resources, encourage conservation efforts and help plan and implement voluntary programs. Each District program is different and unique to the area that it serves, because the programs are developed by local people to solve local problems.

Benefits of District Programs

  • Help solve statewide problems by providing local solutions to many local natural resource problems (one size does not fit all)
  • Develop local leadership
  • Provide local hands-on training on natural resource issues
  • Teach the value of natural resources directly to local people
  • Provide voluntary technical assistance to landusers
  • Technical assistance and education help prevent and reduce polluted runoff (non-point source pollution)
  • Technical assistance helps protect drinking water supplies
  • Technical assistance helps landowners to better manage their forests
  • Programs bring in outside money (federal) that is spent locally
  • Technical assistance and education helps keep the rural character of Maine (maintain farm and open space)
California Cooperative Extension
UC Cooperative ExtensionUniversity of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), ANR’s outreach arm, has farm, 4-H, and nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisors based in more than 50 county offices. In addition, Cooperative Extension specialists are headquartered at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UC Riverside, where they conduct research. These specialists provide statewide leadership to teams of advisors and AES faculty, and carry out outreach programs statewide and at the local level. As a land-grant institution, the Cooperative Extension mandate is tied to the welfare, development, and protection of California agriculture, natural resources, and people.

County farm advisors’ work is aimed at enhancing California agricultural productivity and competitiveness. Together with farmers, pest control advisors, and industry representatives, they identify current and emerging agricultural opportunities and problems. The advisors collaborate with campus-based Cooperative Extension specialists and AES scientists to research, adapt, and field-test agricultural improvements or solutions and promote the use of research findings.

The 4-H youth development program, with staff in each county office, provides meaningful, learn-by-doing educational activities to children in 4-H clubs and to children participating in school enrichment and after-school programs. The 4-H program includes traditional offerings – such as cooking, animal husbandry, and sewing – and an array of exciting new programs for today’s youth – including rocketry, computer science, and leadership.

The nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisors focus on nutrition, food safety, food preparation, food preservation, and finance management. Collaborative partnerships with government and private agencies extend the reach of UC advisors. Workshops, public meetings, newsletters, the mass media, and other communications tools bring information to the community.

Three regional offices administer UC Cooperative Extension: the North Coast and Mountain Region, the Central Valley Region, and the Central Coast and South Region. See the county office page for regional office and UCCE county locations and contact information.

Project Updates / News Project Updates / News
Updates and news from Private Landowner Network

USDA Implements 2014 Farm Bill Provision to Limit Payments to Non-Farmers

Department proposes changes to "Actively Engaged" rule.

Family Farms are the Focus of New Agriculture Census Data

97 percent of all U.S. farms are family-owned, USDA reports.

An Ag Outlook Audience Learns How Voluntary Conservation can Help At-Risk Wildlife and Reduce the Need for Regulation

By Justin Fritscher, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Washington.

USDA Announces More Than $160 Million Available in Funding for Food and Agriculture Research, Education, and Extension

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2015 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced the availability of more than $160 million in funding for research, education, and extension projects that address key challenges affecting U.S. agriculture production.

USDA Invests $68 Million in 540 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects Nationwide

Funding includes loan guarantees and grants for solar energy to create jobs, promote energy independence and advance the use of renewable fuels.

Do you have your AD-1026 certification form on hand?

For farmers to be eligible for premium support on their federal crop insurance, a completed and signed AD-1026 form must be on file with the FSA.

Secretary Jewell Releases Landscape-Scale Mitigation Strategy to Encourage Dual Objectives of Smart Development and Conservation

Strategy seeks to provide clarity and consistency to more effectively avoid, minimize and compensate for impacts on public lands.

The USDA Released Agricultural Projections to 2022

The USDA has provided longrun projections for the farm sector for the next 10 years.

Leading Environmental Restoration and Mitigation Banking Firm Expands Into Conservation Banking: Lesser Prairie Chicken to Benefit

The partnership between Restoration Systems LLC and Common Ground Capital will provide the capital and strategic resources needed to enable CGC to complete execution of landscape-scale species conservation banks. These banks will compensate for the destruction of the Lesser Prairie Chicken habitat.

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