California Wetlands Information System

Remainder Interests


Dedication of a remainder interest transfers full or partial interest in a property to an appropriate grantee, such as a nonprofit conservation organization, after the death of the landowner and of any subsequent title holders whom the landowner names. Thus landowners continue to enjoy all rights to the property during their lifetime (except uses that degrade natural resource values) while providing for permanent protection in the future. Donation of a remainder interest for conservation purposes will qualify the landowner for a tax deduction, discounted in proportion to the anticipated length of time that will pass before the grantee takes over the interest. Whether sold or donated, dedication of a remainder interest will also lessen the burden of estate taxes. Remainder interests are predominantly the domain of land trusts. Refer to the information below for sources of additional information.

Field staff of the groups listed below are available to assist landowners interested in creating, improving, or restoring wetland areas. Assistance can be focused on any of a variety of issues, including: improving the health of on-site wetlands, integrating wetlands into farming or ranching operations, and modifying practices that damage wetlands downstream. In most cases, staff will make field visits to evaluate sites and talk with the landowners about what they have in mind. If desired, staff can recommend practices or improvements appropriate to the property and direct the landowner to sources of financial assistance. They can also refer the landowner to other types of technical assistance that might help in getting started, or provide follow-up assistance for projects already under way.

Wetland Management and Enhancement Resources Conservation Districts Providing technical assistance is one of the principal tools used by most Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) to foster sensitive use of local natural resources. At a minimum, the structure of all RCDs provides for technical support from Soil Conservation Service specialists, but many RCDs have augmented this source of expertise with a large reservoir of technical knowledge from both private and public sources. With respect to wetlands, RCDs can provide assistance in any number of ways, including: advice on which incentive program or combination of programs might be best suited to the landowner's situation; connecting the landowner with the appropriate scientific or engineering expertise to address a special difficulty in integrating wetland restoration with agricultural production; establishing demonstration projects; and perhaps most important, providing an ongoing local presence to which landowners can bring questions, concerns, and ideas. Contact: In most counties the Resource Conservation District and the Soil Conservation Service are located in the same offices, and the phone number can be found in the telephone directory under the U. S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service. The California Association of Resource Conservation Districts at (916) 447-7237 can also direct you to your local RCD office.

University of California Cooperative Extension Service The University of California Cooperative Extension Service was developed to apply the resources of the University to the needs of local communities. It serves every county in the state and can provide technical assistance on a wide array of conservation-related topics, including: enhancing wildlife use of farm and forest lands; designing range systems that minimize effects on watersheds and protect riparian and other wet areas; and developing soil and water conservation practices. Contact: Local Cooperative Extension offices are located in each county seat, and are listed under county government in the telephone directory; statewide specialists are located at the Berkeley, Davis, and Riverside campuses of the University of California and at the U. C. San Joaquin Valley Research and Extension Center in Parlier.

USDA Soil Conservation Service The USDA Soil Conservation Service (SCS) works with RCDs on the local level to promote wise use and management of natural resources. SCS specialists provide technical expertise to address the practical difficulties of conservational land management, including integrating wildlife habitat with agriculture. The SCS also provides technical assistance independent of the RCDs. Contact: District Conservationist under USDA Soil Conservation Service in your local telephone directory.

US Fish and Wildlife Service The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for the conservation and management of the nation's wildlife resources. It can provide technical assistance in managing private lands for the benefit of wildlife. Contact: The State Private Lands Coordinator in Sacramento, at (916) 978-4420. california department of fish and game The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) is the state agency responsible for the protection and management of California's fish and wildlife resources. In late 1994 CDFG will be publishing a "how-to" handbook describing a number of "wildlife-friendly" management and farming practices suited to the Central Valley. Contact: Wetlands specialists for the Colusa and Butte basins at (916) 934-9309 and for the San Joaquin Valley at (209) 826-3464. Regional offices in Redding, (916) 225-2300; Eureka, (707) 445-6493; Rancho Cordova, (916) 355-0978; Yountville, (707) 944-5500; Fresno, (209) 222-3761; and Bishop, (619) 872-1171. Any of these can refer you to the local unit biologist for other areas.

California Department of Forestry The California Department of Forestry is charged with management and stewardship of the state's forest resources. It can provide landowner assistance in enhancing forested areas, including stream and slough edges. Contact: The Forestry Assistance Hotline, at 1-800-738-TREE.

Ducks Unlimited Ducks Unlimited is a private, nonprofit, international organization dedicated to conserving wetland habitat for waterfowl. It works with landowners and agencies to encourage habitat development and protection on private and public lands; secures funding for habitat development projects; and conducts biological research. Contact: Ducks Unlimited's Western Regional Office at (916) 363-8257.

California Waterfowl Association The California Waterfowl Association (CWA) is a nonprofit, membership-supported, statewide organization whose principal objectives are the preservation, protection, and enhancement of California's waterfowl and wetland resources and the recreational opportunities they provide. CWA provides technical assistance to landowners, conducts research, and lobbies state and federal governments to promote protection of waterfowl and provision of habitat. On occasion, limited funds are available to provide cost-share assistance to private landowners for innovative wetland projects. Contact: CWA Outreach Biologists can be reached at (916) 648-1406.

Permanent Protection of Wetlands Land trusts vary in their breadth of experience and areas of expertise, but as a general rule they are an excellent source of assistance and advice regarding land transactions and estate planning. Given your interests and the characteristics of your property, they can describe and help analyze the available alternatives, pointing out the immediate and long-term implications of each option. The organizations listed below can provide technical assistance or help you locate land trusts in your area. Other sources of assistance regarding land protection are the state and federal agencies that have land acquistion or conservation easement programs. Contacts for these agencies can be found in the section headed "Long-term or Permanent Protection" (pp. 27-42).

American Farmland Trust The American Farmland Trust (AFT) is a private conservation organization dedicated to protecting the nations's farmland resources. AFT provides assistance to landowners and nonprofit conservation organizations, accepts agricultural easements and interests in land, and promotes public policy that supports both a healthy agricultural community and a healthy environment. Contact: The American Farmland Trust has two offices in California; the one in Davis can be reached at (916) 753-1073, and theVisalia office can be reached at (209) 627-3708.

The Trust for Public Land The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national land trust that focuses on preserving land for open space and public recreation, with an emphasis on urban areas. It also provides training and technical assistance to other land trusts and private landowners, and can refer you to the land trust nearest you. Contact: The Trust for Public Land's Land Trust Program at (415) 495-4014.

The State Coastal Conservancy Either the agricultural program or the resource enhancement program at the Coastal Conservancy can provide technical assistance regarding wetland property on the coast or on property that affects coastal wetlands. The Conservancy's nonprofit assistance program can also refer you to a local land trust. Contact: The State Coastal Conservancy at (510) 286-1015.