Collaborative Project: the Williamson Act




Trainees in the REACH IGERT will address the role of
the Williamson Act in rangeland conservation and
ranching economies. Top photo: spring at El Chorro
Ranch near Lompoc, CA -- © Sally Isaacson; middle:
cattle at El Chorro Ranch -- © Sally Isaacson;
bottom: speakers at the Williamson Act workshop

Overview: The Williamson Act and Rangeland Conservation in California

The Williamson Act enables local governments and private landowners to restrict specific land parcels to agricultural or open space use. Landowners receive property tax assessments lower than market value, which enables them to continue ranching or farming, and simultaneously preserves the land for conservation. Local governments receive a stipend from the state to help them recover lost property tax revenues. Under the current budget climate in California, the state government has reduced funding to this historic program, and concern is growing that the program may not be renewed in the future.

On September 14th, landowners, scientists, and policymakers met to discuss the implications of the potential loss of Williamson Act funds for conservation of California rangelands.


Workshop: The Williamson Act and Rangeland Conservation in California

14 September 2010, 9am-4pm
Plant and Environmental Sciences Building 3001
UC Davis

This workshop brought together scientists from agencies and non-profits, government representatives, and landowners to discuss their perspectives on the Williamson Act and its impact on conservation and ranching in California. In addition, students in the REACH IGERT will present their work on the impact of the Williamson Act on ranchers and ranch economies, preservation of open space, and implications of the loss of agricultural land for conservation. Other speakers include...

  • Lynn Huntsinger, UC Berkeley
  • John Gamper, California Farm Bureau Federation
  • Brian Leahy, California Department of Conservation
  • Jaymee Marty, The Nature Conservancy
  • Ken Tate, UC Davis

Sponsored by the REACH IGERT at UC Davis, with funding from the US National Science Foundation, in partnership with the California Cattlemen's Association.


Participation is free and open to all, but we require preregistration.


Directions to UC Davis and location of the Plant and Environmental Sciences Building (PES)

Visitor parking costs $6 for an all-day permit. The most convenient visitor parking is in the North Entry parking structure on Howard Way, or in visitor parking lot 15, north of PES and west of the tennis courts.

For more information, contact Carole Hom (clhom [at] ucdavis [dot] edu).

" keep our agricultural heritage in California, we desperately need the Williamson Act...Otherwise our land would be sold in small parcels for the increased value -- and we already have an abundance of subdivisions that clutter prime agricultural land." - California cattle rancher

photo credits: left -- angus heifer, © Lone Oaks Farm, Middleton TN;
top: Suburban sprawl in Clayton, CA -- © Matt Jalbert (