California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Wildlife Branch

Programs of the Wildlife Branch include:

A number of Wildlife Branch grant opportunities are available to support California native species conservation.

Conservation Policy

The general wildlife conservation policy of the State is to encourage the conservation and maintenance of wildlife resources under the jurisdiction and influence of the State (Section 1801, Fish and Wildlife Code). The policy includes several objectives which include:

  • To provide for the beneficial use and enjoyment of wildlife by all citizens of the State;

  • To perpetuate all species of wildlife for their intrinsic and ecological values, as well as for their direct benefits to man;

  • To provide for aesthetic, educational, and non-appropriative uses of the various wildlife species;

  • To maintain diversified recreational uses of wildlife, including hunting, as proper uses of certain designated species of wildlife, subject to regulations consistent with public safety, and a quality outdoor experience;

  • To provide for economic contributions to the citizens of the State through the recognition that wildlife is a renewable resource of the land by which economic return can accrue to the citizens of the State, individually and collectively, through regulated management. Such management shall be consistent with the maintenance of healthy and thriving wildlife resources and the public ownership status of the wildlife resource;

  • To alleviate economic losses or public health and safety problems caused by wildlife; and

  • To maintain sufficient populations of all species of wildlife and the habitat necessary to achieve the above-state objectives.


Game Management Programs

Game Management Programs

The Wildlife Branch Game Management Programs includes bear, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, pronghorn, pigs, upland game (10 species), and waterfowl (21 species). These Programs are responsible for game species conservation including: developing management plans and recommending and conducting management actions; designing, conducting and overseeing contracted resource assessment, monitoring, and research; coordinating habitat enhancement projects; developing hunting regulation recommendations, as well as providing special hunting opportunities.

Game Management Programs



Lands Program

Lands Program

The Lands Program is responsible for assisting Regional staff in the management of over 1,000,000 acres of fish and wildlife habitat. In total the CDFW manages 711 properties throughout the state. These properties provide habitat for a rich diversity of fish, wildlife, and plant species and comprise habitats from every major ecosystem in the state. In addition, the Lands Program also administers several private lands conservation programs designed to assist landowners with the management of wetlands, riparian habitats, native grasslands and wildlife-friendly farmlands.

Lands Program



Nongame Wildlife Program

Ring Necked Snake, Sierra Foothills

The Wildlife Branch's Nongame Wildlife Program includes native mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians (except in circumstances where these are considered nuisance species; they then become the responsibility of the appropriate regional CDFW office). Nongame Wildlife Program conservation actions focus on Threatened and Endangered species and Species of Special Concern, and include: planning and implementing species conservation and recovery, preparing and reviewing listing/delisting petitions, developing conservation strategies, overseeing research contracts, writing research permits, and developing regulations.

Nongame Wildlife Program



Wildlife Investigations Lab

Resource Assessment Program

The Wildlife Investigations Laboratory (WIL) of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was established in 1941, and is mandated by Fish and Willdife Code Section 1008 to conduct wildlife disease investigations. Over the years WIL's responsibilities have increased to include the statewide investigation of all wildlife mortality events, studies and surveillance of diseases (enzootic and epizootic), wildlife health and condition monitoring, prevention of zoonotic diseases, wildlife rehabilitation, injured and nuisance wildlife, safety training, and investigations of public safety wildlife such as mountain lions, black bears, coyotes, large exotic carnivores, and deer.

Wildlife Investigations Lab