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Landowners and farmers are the backbone of the conservation strategies at the core of the Yolo HCP/NCCP and Local Conservation Plan. The Yolo Habitat Conservancy seeks landowners interested in selling or donating conservation easements on their property to help fulfill the goals and objectives of the Yolo HCP/NCCP. Landowners with actively cultivated agricultural land, rangeland, and/or natural lands (e.g., riparian corridors, wetlands, oak woodlands, etc.) are encouraged to apply.

All proposed sites must be consistent with the Yolo Habitat/Natural Community Conservation Plan (Yolo HCP/NCCP), a countywide conservation plan that preserves habitat for the following species:



The YHC is accepting applications for properties that provide habitat for any of the species listed above to be evaluated for inclusion on the Conservancy’s candidate conservation easement site list on an on-going basis. The YHC is currently prioritizing the acquisition of conservation easements on actively cultivated agricultural properties that are 160+ acres.

For more information about conservation easements, please contact Conservancy staff

at (530) 848-6211 or

  • western burrowing owl

  • Swainson’s hawk      

  • white-tailed kite   

  • least Bell’s vireo 

  • bank swallow

  • giant garter snake    

  • California tiger salamander            

  • tricolored blackbird         

  • western pond turtle  

  • valley elderberry longhorn beetle      

  • palmate-bracted bird’s beak      

  • western yellow-billed cuckoo 

Emphasis on Agriculture

Yolo County’s long history of responsible land use planning has directed growth to cities, thus resulting in contained urban areas and the preservation of extensive agricultural and open space lands. Many of the working farms and rangelands within the county provide important habitat for the Yolo HCP/NCCP’s covered species by providing foraging, cover, and nesting habitat. Given the significant role agriculture plays in the provision of covered species habitat in Yolo County, the Yolo HCP/NCCP conservation strategy places a strong emphasis on the voluntary establishment of habitat conservation easements on agricultural lands from willing landowners.

Conservation Easements

The Yolo HCP/NCCP relies on the voluntary establishment of conservation easements on lands that provide habitat value for HCP/NCCP covered species and their habitats. The primary types of land that comprise the conservation commitments of the Yolo HCP/NCCP include: cultivated lands (non-rice row crops), rice, grasslands, valley foothill riparian, fresh emergent wetland, lacustrine and riverine, oak woodland, and alkali prairie.

The Conservancy recognizes that most the lands identified for conservation are actively managed agricultural lands that provide habitat value due to existing management practices. While all conservation easements associated with the Yolo HCP/NCCP will prohibit the planting of orchards and vineyards, conservation easements placed on existing agricultural lands are intended to encourage ongoing operations that provide habitat value to the 12 HCP/NCCP covered species with minimum disruption to routine agricultural practices. The Conservancy will work with willing landowners to jointly agree to wildlife-friendly agricultural practices in a management plan that accompanies each individual easement. Conservation easements typically sell for 30%-60% of the fair market price of the property, depending on the specific site conditions and location.


See Section 7.5.5, Conservation Easements for additional information about conservation easements. 

New Conservation Compared to Plan Area

While the Yolo HCP/NCCP conservation strategy will help provide a more comprehensive network of lands to protect covered species relative to standard project-by-project mitigation that would occur in the absence of the HCP/NCCP, the total acres committed to new conservation is still only a fraction of the total acreage of each land type identified for conservation.


In addition, 8,000 of the total acres identified as Yolo HCP/NCCP conservation commitments are lands with established conservation easements. These lands are identified in the Yolo HCP/NCCP as pre-permit reserve lands and are included in the Yolo HCP/NCCP in part to acknowledge existing conservation commitments in Yolo County. By including these pre-permit reserve lands as part of the overall Yolo HCP/NCCP conservation commitment, the properties also are eligible to participate in any grant programs and/or incentive programs for which other HCP/NCCP conservation lands are eligible if the landowner decides to enroll their property in the HCP/NCCP reserve system. This may include programs that provide funding for hedgerow establishment, payments for farmers that plant specific crop types, or other incentives for conducting specific wildlife enhancement practices. Landowners are not obligated to enroll their property in the HCP/NCCP reserve system.


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