California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Private Lands Management

Loss of habitat is the single most important challenge facing wildlife populations and wildlife managers today. In response to this problem, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife created the Private Lands Management (PLM) Program, which offers landowners incentives to manage their lands for the benefit of wildlife. This increases benefits to a landowner while preventing the conversion of private lands to land uses that are not compatible with wildlife, such as urban development, grazing and logging. Landowners who enroll in this "ranching for wildlife" program consult with biologists to make biologically sound habitat improvements that benefit wildlife, like providing water sources, planting native plants for food, and making brush piles for cover. In return for these habitat improvements, landowners can charge fees for wildlife viewing, hunting and fishing. This partnership between wildlife managers and private landowners helps conserve and maintain wildlife habitat in our state.

Facts about the PLM Program:

  • There are currently 101 PLM properties.
  • The program encompasses over 1,003,627 acres of wildlife habitat.
  • California has about 101 million acres of land, about half of which is privately owned.
  • The largest PLM property is 270,000 acres; the smallest property is 400 acres.
  • The average PLM size is about 9,936 acres; half have fewer than 5,000 acres.
  • Many wildlife species benefit, including deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, wild turkeys, quail, waterfowl, as well as threatened and endangered species like the bald eagle and red-legged frog.
  • The program began in 1979 as a three-year pilot program with five ranches in five counties. In 1983, the California Legislature voted to make it a long-term program.
  • Participation in the program requires the submission and acceptance of a sound management plan. PLM areas are licensed for five-year periods; annual reviews ensure that agreed-upon habitat improvements have been made.
  • Many PLM properties offer expanded hunting season dates and/or bag limits.
  • Wildlife do not recognize property boundaries between public and private lands, so improvements to a PLM property can benefit adjacent public land as well.

Click here to view a list of ranches that market their tags to the public. (PDF)

PLM Application Forms

2014 License Fees (PDF)

PLM Annual Report Form (PDF)

Harvest Report Form for Private Lands (PDF)

PLM Program Policies and Procedures Handbook (PDF)

PLM Tales (PDF)

If you would like information about making your land part of the PLM program, please contact Victoria Barr at (916) 445-4034.