Conservation Almanac




California Profile of State Programs and Policy Framework

Highlighted Local Programs


Highlighted State Programs


State Policy Framework



To avoid double counting acres where multiple programs contributed to the acquisition of a single parcel, the acreage is only aggregated under the program that provided the majority of funding. For example, if the table below displays a dollar amount greater than $0 for a given year but shows 0 acres, the program was not the primary contributor for any parcels in that year. As a result, a prolific program may show very low acreage figures on this page. To see customized program information please visit the map viewer tab or contact the Conservation Almanac Team.

Highlighted Local Programs

Local Conservation Programs Include:

    Los Angeles County, CA

    Marin County Open Space District, CA

    Oakland, CA

    San Diego County, CA

    San Francisco, CA

    Sonoma County, CA

Visit for detailed information on these programs.

Highlighted State Programs

California State Bonds

The state of California has passed a series of bond measures to fund land conservation initiatives dating back to 1964. Conservation activity represented here includes projects using funds from the following bond measures -

Parklands Fund (1984)
Proposition 70 (1988)
Proposition 117 (1990)
Proposition 204 (1996)
Proposition 12 (2000)
Proposition 13 (2000)
Proposition 40 (2002)
Proposition 50 (2002)
Proposition 84 (2006)
State Water Project
Wildlife Conservation Board

Revenue from these funds are used in the following ways

California Resources Agency -
The Resources Agency oversees a wide variety of departments, boards, and commissions and is the lead agency for Propositions 12, 40 and 50 programs. Individual departments manage most of the programs, and the Resources Agency manages a few-namely, the acquisition, restoration, protection and development of river parkways and the provision of grants to local public agencies and nonprofit entities for the acquisition of land and water resources to protect water quality in the Sierra Nevada-Cascade Mountain Region. The Resources Agency received funding from Propositions 12 ($45.9M), 13 ($36.5M), 40 ($75M) and 50 ($130M) for these purposes. The resources agency funds projects completed through the San Diego River Conservancy, which is the first in the San Diego River area to manage the public lands along the river. It was created in 2002 and has received $12 million from Propositions 13 and 40. The Department of Water Resources, CalFire, and the Water Resources Control Board are all funded through the Resources Agency.

California State Conservancies -
In order to acquire and conserve undeveloped lands through outright purchase and via conservation easement, The California Legislature has created a number of conservancies that function as independent state agencies. The conservancies receive substantial funding from Proposition 12, with additional funding from Propositions 13 and 40. Many of these agencies work in partnership with nonprofit organizations and local governments to promote the conservation of land and water resources in specific regions of the state, and several of these conservancies are regional in scope such that they are better able to coordinate local interests.

o Baldwin Hills Conservancy acquires land through local assistance grants upon the condition a grantee assumes fee title and management responsibility in a manner consistent with the conservancy’s mission to provide recreation, restoration and protection of wildlife habitat within for the public's enjoyment and educational experience. The Baldwin Hills Conservancy focuses on areas located to the southwest of downtown Los Angeles. The conservancy was created in 2000 and was allocated $40 million from Proposition 40.

o California Tahoe Conservancy jurisdiction extends only to the California side of the Lake Tahoe Basin and was created in 1984. It received funding from Propositions 12 ($50M), 40 ($40M), and 50 ($40M).

o California Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy protects the mountains surrounding the Coachella Valley and natural community conservation lands within the valley, from Palm Springs to the Salton Sea. The conservancy was created in 1990 and received funding from Propositions 12 ($5M) and 40 ($20M).

o San Gabriel & Lower Los Angeles Rivers & Mountains Conservancy seeks to preserve urban open space and habitat in eastern Los Angeles County and western Orange County. It was created in 1999 and received funding from Propositions 40 ($40M) and 50 ($20M). The Conservancy disburses grants from Proposition 40 to qualified projects that conform to the conservancy's watershed and open space plan.

o Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy conserves acres of parkland in both wilderness and urban settings, with the ultimate goal of forming a system of urban, rural and river parks, open space, trails, and wildlife habitats accessible to the public in the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. It was created in 1980 and received funding from Propositions 12 ($35M), 13 ($5M), 40 ($40M) and 50 ($40).

o Sierra Nevada Conservancy is comprised of 25 million acres that encompass 22 counties, 20 incorporated cities, 40 special districts, and 212 communities. It was created in 2004 and is administered by the State Resources Agency. Funding is provided through legislative appropriations. No acquisitions have been made to date.

o State Coastal Conservancy was created in 1976 and works in partnership with local governments, other public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private landowners. It also distributes grants to government agencies and nonprofit organizations for projects that meet the natural resource and recreation goals of the San Francisco Bay area. The conservancy is funded primarily by state general obligation bonds (and received funding from Propositions 12 ($250.4M), 13 ($21.5M), 40 ($240M), 50 ($140M) and from the state's general fund.

California Department of Parks and Recreation -
The Department of Parks and Recreation received funding from Propositions 12 ($1.364B), 13 ($1.5M), and 40 ($1.058B) for land conservation purposes.

Wildlife Conservation Board -
Created in 1974, the Wildlife Conservation Board acquires wildlife habitat, which are ultimately managed by the Department of Fish and Game. The Board received $1.5 billion from Propositions 12, 40 and 50 and $14 million from Proposition 13. Most of the allocated funds from Propositions 12 and 40 go toward the preservation of habitat for rare and endangered species, wetlands, redwoods, oak woodlands, and the Salton Sea. Proposition 50 monies received by the Wildlife Conservation Board fund the acquisition, protection, and restoration of coastal wetlands, protection of regional water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and improvement of regional water supply reliability. The Wildlife Conservation Board also funds projects completed through the San Joaquin River Conservancy, which acquires and conserves the lands around the San Joaquin River in Madera and Fresno counties. It was created in 1988. Finally, Proposition 13 funds will be disbursed as grants to local agencies and nonprofit organizations for wildlife land and easement acquisitions around rivers. The Wildlife Conservation Board runs several programs with land acquisition components, including:

  • Land Acquisition Program (through which land is acquired on behalf of the Department of Fish and Game and grants are distributed to governmental entities and nonprofit organizations);
  • The Public Access Program (which funds projects to provide access to wildlife including acquisitions);
  • The Habitat Enhancement and Restoration Program (which includes acquisition and public access projects);
  • The Inland Wetlands Conservation Program (which offer 50 percent matching grants to local and state governmental entities for the acquisition, restoration, or enhancement of wetland habitat);
  • The California Riparian Habitat Conservation Program (which preserves and restores riparian habitat);
  • The Oak Woodland Program (which purchases oak woodland conservation easements);
  • The Rangeland, Grazing Land and Grassland Protection (which protects California's rangeland, grazing land and grasslands through the use of conservation easements).

    California Farmland Conservancy Program -
    Run by the Department of Conservation, the California Farmland Conservancy Program (CFCP) acquires agricultural conservation easements on threatened farmland from willing sellers who may continue to farm without restriction of agricultural activity. The program was implemented through the Agricultural Land Stewardship Program Act of 1995 and provides grants to local governments and qualified nonprofit organizations, who must match at least five percent of the value of the easement or provide a donation of at least 10 percent of the easement value. Proposition 12 has been the major source of financial support for the program and allocated $25 million to it. Additional funding for the California Farmland Conservancy Program is provided through Proposition 40, donations, gifts, federal grants or loans, or other sources.*

    Park Development and Community Revitalization Act of 2008 -
    This grant program establishes a local assistance that targets grants to assist in the acquisition of parkland or the development of park and recreational opportunities to critically under-served communities for the acquisition or development, or both, of property for parks and recreation areas and facilities. Administered by the Department of Parks and Recreation, which may make competitive grants to cities, counties, regional park districts, districts, joint powers authority, and nonprofit organizations. $400 million from Proposition 84 will be used to fund the program

    The grants will target areas that have less than three acres of usable parkland per 1,000 residents and is a disadvantaged community, as defined by subdivision (g) of
    Section 75005, and can demonstrate to the department that the community has insufficient or no park space and recreation facilities. The critically under-served community will have a significant percent of persons living at or below the poverty level.


  • State Policy Framework

    Substantial State Investment

    Enable Local Financing

    State Incentive for Local Land Conservation

    Public-Private Partnerships

    Conservation Tax Credits

    Federal Partnerships

    Some data was not provided on a yearly basis, but rather as an aggregate figure. In this case we have distributed total acres acquired and/or dollars spent evenly by year.