Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program
What is the Agricultural and Working Lands Conservation Plan?
Mariposa County applied for and won the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) Planning Grant to fund the creation of a County Agricultural and Working Landscape Conservation Plan (AWLCP). The AWLCP is key to the implementation of specific General Plan tasks, while reinforcing established County policies for the protection and longevity of the County’s long-cherished Ag lands and achieving the State's Greenhouse Gas reduction and climate goals.
With roughly half of the County’s 1,463 square miles designated as Agricultural/Working Land Use under the County’s General Plan, Agriculture is an essential element to the identity of rural Mariposa County. Preserving, nurturing, and enhancing that character is at the heart of the community’s General Plan. While Mariposa County has established policies for conservation of Agriculture and Open Space, agricultural lands are still likely to face conversion risks in the future. The AWLCP reinforces these policies by prescribing a value to agricultural and working lands and demonstrating the importance of conservation planning and related programs (Land Conservation Act).
Additionally, there are fundamental, yet not fully understood, impacts of climate change on all of Mariposa County’s landscapes, including its agricultural ones. As warmer temperatures, changing wildlife behaviors, and catastrophic events like wildfire, drought, and flooding continue to reshape the environment, the sustainability and viability of current agricultural practices becomes increasingly uncertain. Through the SALC project and AWLCP development, the hope is to better understand the critical contributions that Mariposa County’s agricultural lands both currently make, and could make later, to our economic and ecological future.
Who is creating the AWLCP?
The Mariposa County SALC project partners and core team include the Mariposa County Resource Conservation District, California Cattlemen’s Association, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension, Sierra Foothill Conservancy, Mariposa Future Farmers of America, and the County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office. The team is playing an important and active role in creating the AWLCP alongside the selected consultant, Cultivate LLC, in order to fulfill the project objectives and tasks for the plan’s creation and adoption.
Who is funding this project?
This project is being funded by the California Department of Conservation’s SALC Program which protects at-risk agricultural lands from sprawl development in order to promote growth within existing jurisdictions, ensure open space remains available, and support a healthy agricultural economy. To learn more about the State of California's SALC Program, follow this link. The resolution to apply for the SALC Program grant was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors on September 10, 2019.
What are the next steps for this project?
The second draft of the AWLCP was completed in July 2023. The Core Team will collect community input on the draft during Fall 2023. Following the community input period, the consultants will incorporate the feedback in to the third draft of the AWLCP. Once the Core Team agrees on the final draft, the AWLCP will go to the Board of Supervisors for adoption.
Please direct any questions to Hannah Harrison, Community Design and Development Planner, Mariposa County Planning Department. email@example.com // 209.742.1343