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Welcome to the Division of Land Resource Protection

Programs to Conserve California's Farmland & Open Space Resources

Californians make their home amidst some of the most productive farmland and diverse open spaces in the world. The Department of Conservation's Division of Land Resource Protection (DLRP) works with landowners, local governments, and researchers to conserve these resources for everyone's future.

Hot Topics

Agricultural Land Mitigation Program - High-Speed Rail Authority

The California Department of Conservation (DOC) is assisting the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) to meet its environmental commitments associated with agricultural land conversion through a mitigation services agreement.  The DOC’s California Farmland Conservancy Program (CFCP) will secure easements on behalf of the Authority by working with local land trusts and other organizations to identify landowners willing to create permanent agricultural easements on land comparable to that taken out of production. The DOC-CFCP is now accepting conservation easement proposals to offset farmland loss associated with the California high-speed rail alignment through the Central Valley.  

Sustainable Agricultural Land Conservation Program (SALCP)

Applications are now being accepted for Agricultural Land Strategy and Conservation Easement grants under the SALCP.  Guidelines for the program were approved by the Strategic Growth Council on January 20, 2015.

This new program will fund agricultural land conservation with revenue from California's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.  The Department of Conservation is working in cooperation with the Natural Resources Agency and the Strategic Growth Council (SGC) to implement the program.     

The Final Guidelines/Request for Grant Applications, application forms, and supporting material are posted on DLRP's web siteProposals for Strategy Grants are due on March 20, 2015, and full applications for conservation easements are due by April 1, 2015.  Please submit applications to this address.  

Open Space Subventions (OSS) - 2014 Survey of Participation

The FY 2014 Survey of Participation in the Land Conservation  Act is now available on the Open Space Subvention Payments page.  Despite elimination of OSS payments in recent years, this information is critical in documenting the level of participation in the program and the impact of the loss of OSS payments on local governments.  It is the basis for the biennial Land Conservation Act (LCA) Status Report, which provides information to the Legislature and general public on the status of the Act among counties and cities. 

Despite the loss of OSS payments, participating jurisdictions may re-capture 10 percent of the property tax benefits that are provided to owners of LCA.  This option was provided under legislation approved in 2011 (AB 1265, Statutes of 2011).  Background on the legislation is available in this updated Advisory Statement (PDF).

Solar-Use Easements (SB 618)

Rescission Fees

Beginning January 1, 2015, Assembly Bill 2241 is in effect.  The bill establishes a new distribution formula for rescission fees assessed on solar-use easements, until January 1, 2020.  The rescission fee for removal of the contract and reentry into a solar-use easement will be 10% of the fair market value of the property for land under a Williamson Act contract or Farmland Security Zone.  The bill also requires that only 50% of the rescission fees collected are to be deposited in the State General Fund.  Please see the Legislative Amendments page for the text of the bill or contact us for more information.

Department Regulations

The Department of Conservation established procedures, fees, standards, and criteria for solar-use easements, under regulations adopted early in 2014 (Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations).  The regulations clarify SB 618 language and the Department’s role in implementing the solar-use easement statute.  Through these procedures, solar-use easement agreements may be approved between cities or counties and agricultural landowners that are parties to Land Conservation and Farmland Security Zone Act contracts.  Please see the Solar-Use Easements page for more information. 

Farmland Mapping - California Important Farmland Finder

An interactive version of the Important Farmland map data. Locate your area of interest, calculate acreage, and other useful features, using this online tool. Introductory material about the site and its features is also available.    

News and Information

Easements and Land Conservation Status

CFCP's newest conservation easement: 160 acres of rice in Sutter County.
Summary of Agricultural Easements and Planning Projects Funded by CFCP

The 2012 Williamson Act Status Report and Enrollment Statistics 
The 2014 Status Report is now under review for release. 

Agricultural Land Use and Farmland Conversion

2012 Important Farmland Maps and Statistics
Butte and Mariposa counties, as well as Sierra Valley area, are now available.  Come back for more postings in the weeks ahead!

The 2008-2010 California Farmland Conversion Report
The most recent statewide and regional breakdown of farmland conversion trends.

Important Farmland Maps in PDF format
Full size maps for viewing your area of interest; new releases are posted regularly.

The LESA Model & Mitigation

The Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) Model  evaluates agricultural characteristics of specific sites, as indicated in California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines.   

The California Council of Land Trusts offers a guidebook titled Conserving California’s Harvest – A Model Mitigation Program and Ordinance for Local Governments, which contains input from experts in the fields of local governance, agriculture, conservation, law and mitigation.  The guidebook's focus is on implementation and evolution of farmland mitigation programs that preserve and protect California's world-class agricultural landscape.

Legal and Policy Information

CFCP legislation, effective January 2011
Creates flexibility for conservation of 'whole farms'

Right to Farm Real Estate Disclosure
2009 legislation relies on Important Farmland Maps to define agriculture in real estate transactions. 

Grant Programs

The DLRP currently administers two grant programs to assist local governments and nonprofits in achieving long-term resource management goals: the Sustainable Communities Planning Grants and Incentives Program (awarded by the Strategic Growth Council) and the Watershed Coordinator Grants.  Both programs are funded through the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Act of 2006 (Proposition 84).