California Department of Fish and Wildlife

What do we expect from the landowner?

  • Cooperatively schedule and attend the site visits with CDFW biologists.
  • Follow the Site-Specific Management Plan as provided in the contract, as well as the Annual Work Plan as agreed upon during the spring visit. Typical management includes:
    • Irrigate all enrolled ponds, except as otherwise discussed during the spring site visit.
    • Disc 20-30% of the enrolled ponds annually.
    • Control noxious weeds or rank vegetation.
    • Maintain water in the ponds beginning with fall flood-up, through the winter, and until spring drawdown.
  • Do not expect the annual incentive payment to cover the entire cost of annual maintenance.  The annual payment is not intended to cover a landowner’s entire annual maintenance budget, but rather to supplement a portion of the costs of habitat maintenance.
  • Although we don't require invoices for work completed (the proof of work done will be evident during the fall site visit), we do expect the money to be used for on-the-ground habitat improvements (costs directly associated with habitat management).  This may include diesel to operate a tractor, equipment rental, herbicide costs, water costs, etc.  CWHP funds shall not be used for planting of supplemental food plots, installing hunting blinds, maintaining clubhouses, replacing water control structures, etc.

Geographic Boundaries

Currently, the CWHP is active in California's Central Valley, Suisun Marsh, and the Delta. In the future, this highly popular and successful program may expand to other regions of the state if sufficient interest is generated by private wetland landowners and additional funding becomes available.


Economic Incentives

The CWHP pays landowners $20/acre ($30/acre in the Tulare Basin) annually for enrolled acreage over the course of a 10-year contract for implementing habitat management practices in accordance with the Annual Work Plan and Site-Specific Management Plan.


Limitations & Restrictions

  • The CWHP Standard Agreement (i.e. the State contract) is a non-negotiable State contract that must be signed by all program participants. Each final contract will include a site-specific management plan that is cooperatively developed by CDFW and the landowner.
  • The Site-Specific Management Plan provides immediate and long-term wetland management objectives for the enrolled property. Management plans typically require landowners to implement "moist-soil management& practices such as timely spring drawdowns, spring and summer irrigations, and pond-bottom discing as needed. CDFW also integrates summer brood water, upland habitat, and riparian habitat into plans as appropriate.
  • Enrollment is limited to a maximum of 500 acres per property.
  • The property cannot be enrolled in other programs which have the same or similar requirements, for example: the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the State's Permanent Wetland Easement Program, or if you have received a habitat management plan from the State as part of a project funded by the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB). You are eligible however, if you are currently in a Federal Conservation Easement Program.
  • The property needs to be at least 20 acres, and not in agricultural production (e.g. commercially-grown rice).
  • Properties in the Suisun Marsh are enrolled to provide brood habitat and upland nesting habitat, thus, no seasonal wetlands are eligible.