Application guide

II. Habitat Conservation Fund Program Executive Summary

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II. Habitat Conservation Fund Program

Executive Summary

Competitive Program Intent

Protecting, restoring, and enhancing wildlife habitat and fisheries are vital to maintain California’s quality of life. The impacts of the increase in the state’s human population results in an urgent need to fund projects that protect rapidly disappearing wildlife habitats that support California’s unique and varied wildlife resources.

In response to this need, the people of California voted to enact the California Wildlife Protection Act of 1990, Chapter 9, Fish and Game Code (FGC) § 2780 through 2799.6, which largely defines the Habitat Conservation Fund (HCF) Program. Other legislation that impacts the program includes Fish and Game Code § 2720 – 2729, Government Code § 7550 – 7550.6 and 13340, and Public Resources Code § 5900 through 5903, 5096.310, 21000, and 33216.
The underlying concepts for the program are derived, in part, from the applicable sections of Proposition 117 as enacted in the following Fish and Game Code (FGC) Sections:
FGC § 2786 (a) through (f):

“…the money in the Habitat Conservation Fund, which is hereby created, shall be used for the following purposes:

(a) The acquisition of habitat, including native oak woodlands, necessary to protect deer and mountain lions.
(b) The acquisition of habitat to protect rare, endangered, threatened, or fully protected species.

  1. The acquisition of habitat to further implement the Habitat Conservation Program pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with § 2721) excepting § 2722 and subdivision (a) of § 2723, and § 2724 and 2729

(d) The acquisition, enhancement, or restoration of wetlands.

(e) The acquisition, restoration, or enhancement of aquatic habitat for spawning and rearing of anadromous salmonids and trout resources.
(f) The acquisition, restoration, or enhancement of riparian habitat.”
FGC § 2787 (a)(3)

“Two million dollars for 50 percent matching grants to local agencies…for the acquisition of wildlife corridors and urban trails, nature interpretation program, and other programs which bring urban residents into park and wildlife areas…”

Annual Allocation

The HCF Program allocates approximately $2 million per year to the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Application Filing Deadline

The application must be either delivered or postmarked by no later than 5:00 PM on the application due date, which will be announced annually on the ogals website,

OGALS has the authority to award any excess funds via additional funding cycles, which would be announced as needed on the ogals website,

Grant Performance Period

The grant performance period for each project is 5 years starting on July 1 of the fiscal year following the application due date, based on final enactment of the state budget. Grantees will have up to three years to encumber the contract, and an additional two to complete the project.

Maximum and Minimum Grant Request Amounts

OGALS recommends that grant requests generally do not exceed $200,000. However, there are no maximum or minimum grant amounts. OGALS will make an effort to provide equitable geographic distribution of funds, provided that sufficient well-qualified proposals exist.

Required Match

There is a required non-state dollar-for-dollar match. See page 15 for more information.

Project Categories

  • There are seven eligible project categories: habitats for deer/mountain lions, rare, endangered, threatened, or fully protected species, wetlands, anadromous salmonids and trout, and riparian, trails, and wildlife area activities.

  • All categories are eligible for funding in each annual funding cycle.

  • There is a separate application guide for each category

This is the “Riparian Habitat” Application Guide.

The meanings of words and terms shown in small caps are in the Definitions Section, beginning on page 48.


Eligible applicants

Cities, counties, the City and County of San Francisco, or districts. The State may request documentation of eligibility for districts (see page 49 for definitions).

Eligible projects

riparian habitat - The acquisition, or enhancement, or restoration of riparian habitat (lands which contain habitat which grows close to and which depends upon soil moisture from a nearby freshwater source).

Ineligible projects

The following is a partial list of ineligible projects or costs in the hcf Program:

  1. acquisition which involves condemnation (eminent domain) or any kind of interest in property or projects without documentation of a willing seller.

  1. projects arising from a mitigation ruling affecting another location.

  1. projects combining acquisition, or enhancement, or restoration projects with any other hcf category.

  1. enhancement or restoration projects without land tenure.

  1. projects that do not clearly speak to enhancing or restoring the species’ environment.

  1. projects that do not comply with all applicable current laws and regulations affecting acquisition, or enhancement, or restoration projects, including, but not limited to, legal requirements for construction contracts, building codes, health and safety codes, and laws and codes pertaining to individuals with disabilities.

  1. projects that are not consistent with the applicant’s general plan or equivalent planning document.

8. projects that focus on plants or animals that are not in the Department of Fish and Game’s Special Animal or Plant lists. See the ogals website at, and follow the link to “Annual Programs” in the shaded box on the right and then to the hcf Program link. Then click on “Website Links” for the link to the dfg.

9. projects outside the State of California’s boundaries.
10. project costs for normal, routine or reoccurring maintenance.
HCF Program Process

The complete hcf program process is on the following page.

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