Land Use and Growth Management
In 2001, Defenders of Wildlife worked with Senator Byron Sher (Palo Alto) to pass legislation that inserted new standards into the Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP) Act. Defenders is working to promote the use of NCCPs statewide, and continues to participate in and monitor ongoing state conservation planning efforts.
Defenders works with economists, universities, agencies and conservation groups to advance the creation of incentive-based programs to compensate private landowners for ecosystem services (e.g., providing wildlife habitat, protecting water resources), to assess the fiscal impacts of conservation and to apply socio-economic science and principles to the protection of species and ecosystems.
Protect the California Desert
The California desert comprises more than 25 million acres of fragile ecological resources, including habitat for the threatened desert tortoise and Mohave ground squirrel. Defenders is working with conservation organizations, scientists, local officials and the public land managers to plan, implement and enforce on-the-ground conservation efforts, develop an economic analysis of the benefits of preserving desert natural communities, and conduct outreach to educate the public and local officials about the importance of desert conservation. In particular, Defenders is promoting conservation and recovery of the threatened desert tortoise, including serving on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tortoise Recovery Implementation Team.
Recover the Endangered California Condor
Defenders continues to advocate for the full protection and recovery of the endangered California condor. We have formally opposed wind energy projects that pose a significant threat to a recently expanding condor population in the Tehachapi and Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. In 2007, Defenders successfully passed state legislation banning the use of lead ammunition within condor range (Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act). Lead poisoning is one of the main causes of death for California condors.
Protect and Conserve the Pacific Fisher
The Pacific fisher is a rare and declining forest mesocarnivore unique to the Pacific Northwest. Defenders is working to protect California fishers through participation in the Dinkey Landscape Restoration Project, Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project, and the Southern Sierra Nevada Fisher Working Group.