Federal Land Management:

Federal Land Acquisitions in California Since January 1994

RCED-00-239: Published: Aug 30, 2000. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on land acquired by federal agencies from January 1994 through April 2000 in California for such purposes as restoring ecosystems and protecting wildlife habitat, focusing on: (1) lands acquired through the CALFED program since its inception in 1995 by federal agencies or by nonfederal entities using federal funds; and (2) lands acquired outside the CALFED program by federal agencies.

GAO noted that: (1) since the inception of the CALFED program in May 1995 through April 2000, federal agencies have acquired or are in the process of acquiring full ownership or easements through the program on about 16,300 acres in the Bay-Delta area in California; (2) about 11,700 acres involve full ownership by the Department of the Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service--the remaining 4,600 acres involve easements being acquired by Interior's Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service; (3) in addition to land acquisitions by federal agencies, nonfederal entities--including state and local agencies and nonprofit organizations, such as the Nature Conservancy--received federal funds through the CALFED program to acquire about 6,500 acres; (4) outside of the CALFED program, federal agencies also acquired about 404,000 acres in California from January 1994 through April 2000; (5) federal agencies acquired full ownership of about 336,000 acres--about 257,000 acres are located in the southern California desert and were acquired by the Bureau of Land Management, and about 79,000 acres were scattered throughout the state and were acquired by various agencies; and (6) easements were acquired on about 69,000 acres--mostly located in California's Central Valley--primarily by the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wetlands Reserve Program of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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