California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP)

view of coastline

CDFW's Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP) program is an unprecedented effort by the State of California, and numerous private and public partners, that takes a broad-based ecosystem approach to planning for the protection and perpetuation of biological diversity. An NCCP identifies and provides for the regional or areawide protection of plants, animals, and their habitats, while allowing compatible and appropriate economic activity.

The NCCP program is a cooperative effort to protect habitats and species. It began under the State's Natural Community Conservation Planning Act of 1991, legislation broader in its orientation and objectives than the California and Federal Endangered Species Acts. These laws are designed to identify and protect individual species that have already declined in number significantly. The NCCP Act of 1991 and the associated Southern California Coastal Sage Scrub NCCP Process Guidelines (1993), Southern California Coastal Sage Scrub NCCP Conservation Guidelines (1993), and NCCP General Process Guidelines (1998) have been superseded by the NCCP Act of 2003.

The primary objective of the NCCP program is to conserve natural communities at the ecosystem level while accommodating compatible land use. The program seeks to anticipate and prevent the controversies and gridlock caused by species' listings by focusing on the long-term stability of wildlife and plant communities and including key interests in the process.

Working with landowners, environmental organizations, and other interested parties, a local agency oversees the numerous activities that compose the development of a conservation plan. CDFW and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provide the necessary support, direction, and guidance to NCCP participants. The NCCP approach to conservation is available statewide and planning efforts are underway in Butte, Santa Clara, Placer, Yolo, Sutter, and Yuba Counties, as well as with the Mendocino Redwood Company. There are currently 23 active NCCPs covering more than 11 million acres.