Endeavors by the Tulare Basin Wildlife Partners (TBWP) to create and implement the Tulare Basin Regional Conservation Plan synergize, maximize, and complete several existing partner planning efforts. These partner plans range from the landscape level to regional, national, and international conservation plans, including management plans, habitat conservation plans, and recovery plans for specific plants or animals. Some of the key complementary plans are summarized below:
Central Valley Joint Venture Tulare Basin Plan Update 2005
The Central Valley Joint Venture plan update calls for restoring 21,263 acres of seasonal wetlands, 5,935 acres of semi-permanent wetlands, and 1,500 acres of riparian habitat for waterbirds and songbirds in the Tulare Basin. This plan includes sections with objectives focusing on six bird groups: wintering waterfowl, breeding waterfowl, wintering shorebirds, breeding shorebirds, waterbirds, and riparian birds. When implemented, the Tulare Basin Regional Conservation Plan will help meet these restoration goals.
Giant Garter Snake Draft Recovery Plan
The US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) prepared this draft recovery plan in 1999 for the giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas), with the specific objective of delisting this state and federally threatened animal. However, tasks carried out for the giant garter snake will also benefit several species of concern including tri-colored blackbirds (Agelaius tricolor), white-faced ibis (Plegadis chihi), Southwestern pond turtle (Emmys marmorata pallida), and a variety of waterfowl in the Central Valley. To survive, the giant garter snake needs permanent or summer wetlands in areas that are not subject to flooding, as well as an abundant source of food, such as minnows and tree frogs.
While the plan has not yet been approved, it does call for four re-introduced populations of this species in the Tulare Basin. Two of those locations are in Kern County and could be established within TBWP's Sand Ridge-Tulare Lake, Goose Lake, or Buena Vista Lake-Kern Lake project areas. The proposed permanent wetlands throughout the project areas could be used as additional re-introduction sites to aid in the snake's recovery.
Kern County Valley Floor Habitat Conservation Plan
This mitigation plan proposal, drafted in 2006 by the USFWS, will function similar to the Metropolitan Bakersfield Habitat Conservation Plan below. The land acquisition portion of this plan is linked to the USFWS's recovery plan for upland species described below. While not yet completed, when implemented it will dovetail and complement TBWP's conservation goals for the Goose Lake and Buena Vista Lake-Kern Lake project areas.
Metropolitan Bakersfield Habitat Conservation Plan (MBHCP)
This plan is an on-going program to address the effects of urban growth on state and federally protected plant and animal species within the Metropolitan Bakersfield general plan area. The MBHCP is a joint program between the City of Bakersfield and County of Kern to assist applicants for urban development and construction projects in complying with state and federal endangered species laws.
Some lands in TBWP's Sand Ridge-Tulare Lake, Goose Lake, and Buena Vista Lake-Kern Lake project areas are within the pre-approved mitigation area for this program. Land purchase and conservation through the MBHCP will aid in the implementing TBWP's planning effort. The acquisition plan for the MBHCP is linked to the USFWS's recovery plan for upland species described below.
Recovery Plan for Upland Species of the San Joaquin Valley, California
This recovery plan, produced in 1999 by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), aims to delist 11 threatened and endangered species and ensure the long-term conservation of 23 candidates and species of concern. These plants and animals live in the arid grasslands and scrublands of the San Joaquin Valley and adjacent foothills. Less than five percent of their natural habitat remains.
The Tulare Basin Regional Conservation Plan will help implement this important recovery plan in the Tulare Basin. The Plan addresses many parts of the key recovery tasks and proposes management strategies to conserve natural communities and restore the upland and wetland habitat needed for these threatened and endangered plants and animals to survive.
Riparian Bird Conservation Plan
This plan is a collaborative effort between the Riparian Habitat Joint Venture and California Partners in Flight and was developed in 2004 to guide conservation policy and action on behalf of California's riparian habitats and wildlife. Iintended to provide a source of information on riparian bird conservation, this plan calls for restoring approximately 5,730 acres of riparian habitat for the Tulare Basin. Implementing TBWP's conservation plans for Sand Ridge-Tulare Lake, Goose Lake and Buena Vista Lake-Kern Lake will contribute toward this goal.
San Joaquin Valley Blueprint Planning Process
This planning process, started in 2006 by each of the San Joaquin Valley County Councils of Governments, is a chance to plan for the future of transportation and land use in the San Joaquin Valley. This process will develop a cohesive regional framework that defines and offers alternative solutions to growth-related issues. The process involves integrating transportation, housing, land use, economic development, and the environment to produce a preferred growth scenario through the year 2050. The Tulare Basin Regional Conservation Plan provides critical information and recommendations to those planning for these important aspects in the San Joaquin Valley.
Tulare County General Plan Update
This update to the general plan, currently in draft form, provides guidance for future decisions concerning land use and resource conservation in Tulare County. The plan includes seven elements: land use and urban boundaries; scenic landscapes; circulation; public facilities and services; safety; environmental resource management; noise; and other area plans.
The Tulare Basin Regional Conservation Plan can assist the County when implementing the general plan update by conserving natural resources and open space; enhancing outdoor recreational opportunities; protecting and augmenting water resources; improving air quality; and helping landowners successfully manage wildlife-friendly farms.
Tulare Basin Integrated Regional Water Management Planning:
This effort is a subset of the California Water Plan, overseen by the California Department of Water Resources. Funded through Proposition 84 and other funding sources, this planning process is a local, regional, and statewide initiative dependent on collaborative approach. This planning effort seeks to predict and meet the demand for agricultural, municipal, industrial, and environmental water needs now and into the future. TBWP is concerned about the health of the Kings, Kaweah, Tule, and Kern River watersheds, which flow into the Tulare Basin, and is committed to collaborating and leading efforts to combine the needs of communities, citizens, agriculture, and wildlife to best use these precious water resources.
US Shorebird Conservation Plan
The plan, completed in 2000 by partners from state and federal agencies and non-governmental organizations and managed by the USFWS, charts a conservation strategy for migratory shorebirds and the habitats upon which they depend. Main goals of the plan include: ensuring that adequate quantity and quality of shorebird habitat is maintained at the local level and maintaining or restoring shorebird populations at the continental and hemispheric levels. Accomplishing the national and regional conservation objectives for all shorebird species requires a coordinated effort among traditional and new partners.
Areas within the Tulare Basin are critical to providing habitat used by many shorebirds. In fact, the Tulare Basin is the only region in the Central Valley where water storage facilities, agricultural evaporation ponds, and agricultural canals and ditches support large numbers of stilts and avocets. Restoring, enhancing, and managing large acreages of high-quality wetland habitat will counter historic wetland loss and provide habitat for not only shorebirds, but migrating birds and wintering bird populations as well.
Waterbird Conservation for the Americas
This international partnership addresses the conservation and management of 210 species of waterbirds, including seabirds, coastal waterbirds, wading birds, and marshbirds and the habitats upon which they depend. The Central Valley Joint Venture, Point Reyes Bird Observatory and collaborators recently initiated a regional waterbird conservation plan for the central and southern coastal slope of California, the Central Valley, and northern Baja California. This plan addresses the conservation needs of inland and estuarine populations of loons, grebes, cormorants, herons, egrets, night-herons, bitterns, ibis, rails and coots, cranes, gulls, and terns, which are currently not adequately covered by other waterbird initiatives in this region.
TBWP's conservation plans for Sand Ridge-Tulare Lake, Goose Lake and Buena Vista Lake-Kern Lake propose conserving riparian and wetland habitat critical for breeding waterbirds. Implementing TBWP's conservation goals will help reverse habitat and waterbird species decline.