What is the Safe Harbor Agreement?
The California Tiger Salamander (CTS) Safe Harbor Program is a voluntary program available to certain properties with existing vineyards in the Santa Rosa Plain. In June of 2022, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the North Bay Water District executed an agreement to create this program in order to enhance CTS habitat and survival, and to protect grape growers performing legal farming activities.
Participating landowners of qualifying properties agree to use specified best management practices on their land to provide restoration or enhancement of CTS habitat. Participating landowners will be issued an Enhancement of Survival Permit that will allow them to conduct legal viticultural activities (such as replanting and ongoing farming operations) and will protect them from third-party claims should an incidental “take” of a CTS occur while conducting these activities.
Who can participate?
Landowners with existing vineyards on non-federal lands located within the boundaries of the CTS Critical Habitat in the Santa Rosa Plain (See map).
How do I enroll my property?
Qualifying landowners enter into a Cooperative Agreement with the North Bay Water District to implement best practices to create or enhance habitat to benefit CTS. Landowner must be able to demonstrate authority to enter into such agreement.
What’s expected of me after I sign the Cooperative Agreement?
The Cooperative Agreement outlines the responsibilities of the qualifying landowners, and includes the following:
- Work with Sonoma County Farm Bureau to complete a Baseline Habitat Worksheet.
- Carry out best management practices, and optional habitat creation or enhancement activities as detailed in the Cooperative Agreement.
- Complete an annual report by January 31 of each year.
Is there a cost to participate?
Yes. The participating property (not per parcel, but per ranch property) will pay a one-time enrollment fee of $375, and an ongoing annual fee of $375. Fees collected will be used on administrative and technical reporting to meet regulatory compliance.
How long am I required to participate?
Ranches must enroll for a 10-year period. If they choose to terminate the agreement early, full payment of the remaining annual fees through the end of the 10-year period will be due.
Who do I contact if I want to find out more?
The Sonoma County Farm Bureau via email at email@example.com or (707) 544-5575.