California Wildlife Conservation Board Approves Acquisition of Ranch to Improve Management of Waterways for Listed Anadromous Fish Species

In May, the California Wildlife Conservation Board approved the acquisition in fee of approximately 5,849 acres of land in Siskiyou County by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (“CDFW”). The property, known as Shasta Big Springs Ranch, includes 18.11 cfs of pre-1914 appropriative rights from the Shasta River Adjudication. The price is $2,400,000—or about $410/acre. The Board approved expenditure of an additional $40,000 administrative and other project-related costs.

CDFW would use the property to protect critical cold-water aquatic habitat for anadromous fish species, including state and federally-listed Coho salmon, and to protect migration corridors for plants, birds, and mammals.

In May 2010, the Board approved acquisition of a conservation easement on the property at a price of $10,300,000 that gave CDFW control of the ranch’s water resources and a right-of-first-refusal for future sales of the property. CDFW is exercising its right-of-first-refusal. Once the current acquisition is approved by the Department of General Services and closes, CDFW will possess the fee title to the property and will be able to streamline management of property and improve management of spring-fed waterways.

Written by Marta L. Weismann