The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting proposals for the California Winter Rice Habitat Incentive Program (CWRHIP). For Fiscal Year 2021-2022, a total of up to $3,001,190 in CWRHIP funds will be available for new one-year agreements under this proposal solicitation notice.
In response to the recent decline of winter-flooded rice acreage in the Central Valley and the ecological importance of this habitat base, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 2348 in September of 2018. AB 2348 established the CWRHIP, which is designed to continue and further encourage the winter-flooding of harvested rice fields in the Central Valley of California.
Winter-flooded rice fields provide a significant portion of the caloric needs of ducks and migrating shorebirds in the Sacramento Valley.
CWRHIP provides economic incentives to landowners or lessees who agree to manage their properties in accordance with a management plan developed in consultation with biologists from CDFW’s Comprehensive Wetland Habitat Program. Management plans will require landowners to flood harvested rice fields for a minimum of 70 continuous days during the winter months (October through March). Properties that can maintain water during critical months (January through mid-March) will be given additional points in the ranking process. Properties located within five miles of an active airstrip on a military base or international airport are not eligible to enroll in the program.
The program pays landowners an annual incentive of $15 per acre for the winter-flooding of harvested rice fields. The management requirements of the program will start after the 2021 harvest and continue through early 2022.
CDFW staff will be hosting an online meeting on Thursday, Sept. 15 at 10 a.m. to explain the program requirements and application process and answer questions regarding CWRHIP. For information about how to participate in this meeting, please visit the Private Lands Incentive Program page on CDFW’s website.