Partners in Restoration

Simplifying Restoration on Private and Public Lands

Agricultural runoff from farms and ranches is one of the biggest sources of pollution in California’s rivers and streams. When rainfall runs off into waterways, it carries sediment, fertilizer and chemicals that harm water quality.

Many ranchers and farmers want to restore their land and the waterways that flow through their properties; however, the process to do so is complicated and expensive.

When wanting to restore an eroded creek, for example, landowners must apply to as many as eight agencies for permits, spend more than $1,500 of their own money in fees and wait at least a year for approval. As a result, many farmers and ranchers forego opportunities to restore the natural resources under their care.

Statewide Programmatic Permitting

Sustainable Conservation launched Partners in Restoration more than a decade ago because we saw the vital role individuals play in protecting California’s natural resources. Through the program, Sustainable Conservation develops “pre-approved” permits for small-scale restoration efforts. These permits eliminate the need for landowners to gain case-by-case approval from multiple regulatory agencies, making it faster, cheaper and easier for stewardship-minded landowners to keep farmland and ranchland from eroding into waterways, clean up murky water and promote wildlife like imperiled fish.

Because more than 50% of California is privately owned and a vast majority of California’s rivers and streams flow through or along private property — engaging these individuals is of vital importance.

Sustainable Conservation is actively partnering with federal and state agencies to develop statewide permits for projects that improve water quality, and enhance fish and wildlife habitat. By avoiding the cost and time involved in developing single, project-specific permits, Sustainable Conservation will greatly accelerate and expand the scope and impact of voluntary restoration throughout the state.

Impact

Launched in 1996, Partners in Restoration:

  • Covers nearly 4,500,000 acres of farmland and ranchland, and hundreds of miles of rivers and streams across California
  • Is established in nine counties and 50 key watersheds from Mendocino to Santa Barbara
  • Has resulted in more than 200 projects, preventing over 200,000 tons of sediment from entering waterways and fish habitat
  • Received the 2004 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award

Highlights

From our blog

San Francisco Chronicle Letter to Editor

Salmon photo courtesy of the National Marine Fisheries Service/Southwest Fisheries Science Center. Sustainable Conservation recently submitted a San Francisco Chronicle letter to the editor in response to its story, “Lion in San Francisco a Testament to Big Spike in Wildlife.” We wanted to educate readers about the population and habitat struggles many of the state’s hundreds…

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2017 Leopold Conservation Award Finalist: C. Jeff Thomson International

When Jeff Thomson thinks about conservation, he doesn’t just think about his individual fields. From the people you work with to the practices you implement, stewarding the land and its resources for the future takes constant care and balance. C. Jeff Thomson International’s diversified operations and wetland management make them a fantastic candidate for the…

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Making it Easier to Restore California

Be it our coastlines, our desert vistas or our redwood forests, California lands are known and loved for their wide variety of natural wonders. We’re also a hot spot for biodiversity, with many plant and animal species flourishing here that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, many of these landscapes, and the…

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