California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Private Lands Incentive Programs

California Waterfowl Habitat Program (a.k.a. Presley Program)

The California Waterfowl Habitat Program has been assisting private landowners with the management of wetland habitat since 1993. Recognizing the need to help landowners manage habitat for waterfowl on private lands, the Department started the program with an original enrollment of 6,500 acres in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. Since that time, the Program has steadily grown to include over 29,000 acres of habitat for wintering and breeding waterfowl in the Tulare Basin, Grasslands, Suisun Marsh, and Sacramento Valley.

Also known as the Presley Program, the CWHP is one of the few incentive based programs that provide private landowners with technical assistance and financial incentives to manage wetland habitat. Private lands play an important role in providing habitat for the millions of waterfowl that winter and breed in the Central Valley. Over two-thirds of the wetlands in the Central Valley are under private ownership and many landowners are not trained in the science of wetland habitat management.

The program pays private landowners $20/acre ($30/acre in the Tulare Basin) annually for a 10-year duration to implement habitat practices in accordance with a detailed management plan written by Department biologists. Management plans require landowners to implement "moist-soil management" practices such as spring and summer irrigation to produce natural waterfowl food plants, weed abatement to control the spread of invasive plants, and the management of uplands and summer wetlands for breeding ducks.

Currently, the Department does not have adequate funding to enroll new properties. However, a waitlist has been established should additional funding be made available. For more information on the Program, or to be placed on the waitlist, contact John Thomson or Heidi West.


Permanent Wetland Easement Program

The CWHP, in cooperation with the Wildlife Conservation Board's Inland Wetland Conservation Program, administers this program which pays willing landowners approximately 50-70% of their property's fair market value to purchase the farming and development rights in perpetuity. The landowner retains many rights including: trespass rights, the right to hunt and/or operate a hunting club, and the ability to pursue other types of undeveloped recreation (i.e. fishing, hiking, etc.). Easement landowners are required to follow a cooperatively developed wetland management plan and meet bi-annually with CWHP biologists to discuss habitat conditions and management. For further information contact John Thomson or Heidi West or contact Peter Perrine at the Wildlife Conservation Board at (916) 445-1109.


Landowner Incentive Program

The California Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) is an effort to reverse the decline of at-risk species in the Central Valley of California through enhancement and management of private lands. The California LIP is a California Department of Fish and Wildlife program funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Federal Aid Office. The program focuses on the Central Valley's three predominant historical habitat types: wetlands, native grasslands, and riparian habitat. The California LIP assists landowners with enhancing these three habitat types by providing annual incentive payments in return for implementing habitat management plans that benefit special status species. For additional information on the LIP practices, eligibility and incentives, visit the LIP website or contact John Thomson or Heidi West.

Land enrolled in the Landowner Incentive Program along the San Joaquin River

Land enrolled in the Landowner Incentive Program along the San Joaquin River.