Chapter 4.1. California Riparian Habitat Conservation Program of California Fish And Game Code >> Division 2. >> Chapter 4.1.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the
California Riparian Habitat Conservation Act.
The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) California's rivers, wetlands, and waterways, and the
fisheries and wildlife habitat they provide, are valuable and finite
resources that benefit the people of the state and are threatened
with deterioration or degeneration that may endanger the natural
beauty and productivity of these valuable resources.
(b) The public interest requires the coordinated protection of
rivers and riparian resources in order to maintain an equilibrium
between the natural endowment of, and manmade alterations to,
California's river environment, and in order to preserve the scenic
beauty of these natural resources and the recreational and economic
benefits they provide.
(c) By virtue of the special conditions and circumstances of the
natural ecology, the increasing human populations and needs in the
state, and the numerous governmental agencies with an interest in
coordinating activities which affect rivers and riparian habitat
resources, there is a need for a coordinated state rivers and
riparian habitat protection program.
The Wildlife Conservation Board shall establish and
administer, through the department, the California Riparian Habitat
Conservation Program pursuant to this chapter and Chapter 4
(commencing with Section 1300). The purpose and goal of the program
is to protect, preserve, and restore riparian habitats throughout the
state by the acquisition of interests and rights in real property
and waters to the extent deemed necessary to carry out the purposes
of the program.
The board, pursuant to this chapter, shall approve projects
to acquire, preserve, restore, and enhance riparian habitat
throughout the state, and coordinate its activities undertaken
pursuant to this program with other resources protection activities
of the board and other state agencies.
The preservation and enhancement of riparian habitat shall be
a primary concern of the Wildlife Conservation Board and the
department, and of all state agencies whose activities impact
riparian habitat, including the Department of Conservation, the
Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Water
Resources, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the State
Coastal Conservancy, the California Conservation Corps, the
California Tahoe Conservancy, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy,
the California Coastal Commission, the San Francisco Bay
Conservation and Development Commission, and the State Lands
In order to accomplish the objectives of this chapter, the
Wildlife Conservation Board may authorize the department to do all of
(a) Acquire interests in real property and water rights through
gift, purchase, lease, easement, and transfer or exchange of
easements, development rights or credits, and other interests in real
(b) Coordinate its activities under the program with any
governmental program for surplus real property sales in the state.
(c) Award grants and loans to local public agencies, state
agencies, federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations for the
purposes of this program.
(d) For the purposes of this chapter, "nonprofit organization"
means any private, nonprofit organization which qualifies for exempt
status under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue
Code of 1986, and has among its principal charitable purposes the
preservation of real property for scientific, historic, educational,
recreational, scenic or open-space values, the protection of the
natural environment, or the preservation and enhancement of fisheries
and wildlife or their habitat.
(e) Exercise any authority and comply with requirements contained
in Sections 1348 and 1350, as appropriate, to preserve and enhance
riparian habitat for purposes of this chapter.
Grants to nonprofit organizations pursuant to Section 1390
for the acquisition of real property or interests therein shall be
subject to all of the following conditions:
(a) The purchase price of any interest in real property acquired
by the nonprofit organization may not exceed fair market value as
established by an appraisal approved by the Wildlife Conservation
(b) The Wildlife Conservation Board approves the terms under which
the interest in real property is acquired.
(c) The interest in real property acquired pursuant to a grant
from the Wildlife Conservation Board may not be used as security for
any debt to be incurred by the nonprofit organization unless the
board approves the transaction.
(d) The transfer of real property acquired pursuant to a grant
shall be subject to the approval of the Wildlife Conservation Board
and the execution of an agreement between the board and the
transferee sufficient to protect the interest of the State of
(e) The state shall have a right of entry and power of termination
in and over all interests in real property acquired with state
funds, which may be exercised if any essential term or condition of
the grant is violated.
(f) If the existence of the nonprofit organization is terminated
for any reason, title to all interest in real property acquired with
state funds shall immediately vest in the state. However, prior to
that termination, upon approval of the board, another public agency
or nonprofit organization may receive title to all or a portion of
that interest in real property by recording its acceptance of title
in writing. Any deed or other instrument of conveyance whereby real
property is being acquired by a nonprofit organization pursuant to
this section shall be recorded and shall set forth the executory
interest or right of entry on the part of the state.