DFG Land Funds

Disquieting News from CA Dept of Fish and Game 030911
A worried Fringe Report

The Prospect (and every other newspaper in California) received this press release from the Cal Dept. of Fin and Fur:

Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Feb. 24 meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board earmarked $17.2 million to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. The 23 funded projects will provide benefits to fish and wildlife species, including some endangered species, and increase public access to these lands. The funding for these projects comes from recent bond initiatives approved by the voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources.

I’ve got that “Independence Lake feeling” again.  Again, we’re confronted with people who buy land and easements with public money and then keep the public from traditional uses.  

The press release talks vaguely about an “increase in public access to these lands” but that might be only true for hikers and mountain bikers, who could be considered “public” but don’t represent the aging, trick knee owning public.  We remember that it is against the law to fire a gun on many DFG lands.

Most of the money is going for conservation easements on private land.  This allows landowners to give up some rights in exchange for paying the bills today.  Most of these are not going to impact the public land user.
A few others go to restoring wetlands, repairing watersheds.

All of these projects sound great if they aren’t in your backyard.  

DFG claims that “some” of the money will go for these projects: (copied from the CADGF website
-- San Joaquin River Parkway, Jensen River Ranch II Habitat Restoration, Fresno County. The WCB approved a $563,970 grant to the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust for a cooperative project with the San Joaquin River Conservancy to restore wetland and riparian habitat on the San Joaquin River Parkway just east of Highway 41 in Fresno.
-- Little Shasta Conservation Easement, Siskiyou County. The WCB granted $2.6 million to acquire a conservation easement over 5,929 acres east of the city of Yreka. This project will protect critical winter range for elk and other regional wildlife, as well as range and grasslands that sustain working landscapes in the Little Shasta River’s upland watershed.
-- Charles Mountain Ranch, Phase I, Humboldt County. The WCB approved a $2.5 million grant to the Northcoast Regional Land Trust to acquire a conservation easement over 2,903 acres of land that will conserve and protect an economically sustainable working forest, oak woodlands, grasslands and critical habitat for native fish, wildlife and plants located near the community of Blocksburg in southeastern Humboldt County.
-- North Grasslands Wildlife Area Hunter Check Station, Merced County. The WCB granted $730,000 for a cooperative project with the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) at DFG’s North Grasslands Wildlife Area, approximately six miles north of Los Banos. Improvements include the removal of a dilapidated structure and the construction of a new hunter check station and public restroom in its place, and a renovation of the parking lot.
-- Rubio Canyon, Los Angeles County. The WCB approved a $545,000 grant to the Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy to acquire 18 acres of land for protection of oak woodland, riparian woodland, coastal sage scrub, chaparral habitat and open space areas located in the Rubio Creek watershed, north of the town of Altadena.
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