Habitat Restoration & Enhancement Act

Accelerating Restoration on Private, Public Lands to Boost Clean Water and Habitat for Struggling Fish

Over 350 fish and wildlife species in California are considered threatened or endangered under state and federal law. In order to not only protect but recover these species, we must speed up the pace of habitat restoration across the state. However, despite the urgent need for these environmentally beneficial projects, many landowners and managers forego opportunities to restore the natural resources under their care as a result of the difficulties they face in obtaining the necessary permits.

Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Act

Signed into law in 2014, the Sustainable Conservation-sponsored Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Act expedites the permitting process with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) for small-scale, voluntary projects that improve rural habitats, urban watersheds and coastal water quality. By simplifying the permitting process with DFW, landowners, state and local government agencies, and conservation organizations can increase the number of restoration projects completed each year — without reducing environmental safeguards or assurances.

Getting the Word Out

Getting the Act passed was just the start.


Click to see our Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Act video.

Effective outreach, education and implementation are vital to the long-term success of restoration and species recovery programs furthered by this landmark legislation, and Sustainable Conservation continues to work with regulatory agencies to ensure their staff are able to effectively partner with landowners and restoration proponents on successful project applications.

Through our efforts, agency staff are encouraging use of the Act statewide in restoring and protecting habitat, improving water quality, and stewarding the resources we all depend on – all while maintaining strict environmental and species protections.

We also provide applicants with technical resources and assistance to help them learn and adapt to these new permitting effort. Contact us to schedule a programmatic permitting consultation for your upcoming projects. Check out Technical Resources for application information and more.


  • In 2015, the state’s first restoration project was completed under the Act, a fish-passage improvement in Santa Barbara County
  • The project was the final piece in a decade-long effort to remove all barriers to steelhead migration in this important watershed that flows from the Los Padres National Forest to the sea
  • Fish in the region now have access to more than a mile of rare, high-quality habitat that was off limits for more 50 years
  • The Act has already provided swift approval for numerous restoration projects around the state



California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Assemblyman Rich Gordon (D- Menlo Park)

South Coast Habitat Restoration

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