With 100,000 acres of rivers, sloughs, marshes and ponds, the Tulare Basin was historically a major hub in the Central Valley wetland system, critical for the survival of many plant and animal species. For more than 15,000 years, humans have valued this important place and used the natural resources available from the diversity of habitats found there. During the past 150 years, human use of the land has changed from a hunting and gathering economy to a highly-impacted, highly-engineered landscape designed to meet the needs of our complex society today. As a result, the natural parts of the Tulare Basin, such as plants, animals, habitats, and water, have been reduced in size, significantly altered, and limited to just a few areas.
To address current and potential land and water management challenges, Tulare Basin Wildlife Partners (TBWP) under took a massive conservation planning process resulting in the five-volume Tulare Basin Regional Conservation Plan. This plan proposes an impressive program of conservation and restoration by protecting existing natural wildlife habitat, travel corridors, and habitat provided by wildlife-friendly agriculture, while restoring areas that no longer provide economic benefit from agriculture or resource extraction. Through this conservation planning effort, TBWP aims to protect and restore upland and wetland habitats in the Tulare Basin.
Due to its large-scale nature, the Tulare Basin Regional Conservation Plan helps synergize, maximize, and complete at least 10 existing landscape, regional, national, and international conservation plans. These complementary plans, managed by a variety of agency and non-profit partners, range from those that examine quality of life aspects to those that focus on a particular plant, animal, or habitat type.
TBWP utilizes a variety of conservation strategies, including: voluntary conservation agreements or conservation easements; purchasing or receiving donations of land; or forming cooperative management agreements with private landowners. These conservation tools will re-establish and sustain wetlands; protect and restore upland areas; re-establish wildlife travel corridors; aid in the recovery of unique plant and wildlife species; protect wildlife-friendly farms and prime farmland; and improve the quality of life for residents, visitors, and future generations.
* * *
Read the TBWP "Tulare Basin Wetland and Riparian Water Supply Needs" statement, issued on February 16, 2010, prepared by Stephen A. Laymon, PhD for Tulare Basin Wildlife Partners.