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San Joaquin River Parkway Program

Administrating Agency: Resources Agency
Bond: Proposition 84
Department Name: San Joaquin River Conservancy
Bond Statute: 75050(f)
Implementing Statute: Public Resources Code 32510 et seq.

  • Front-end
  • In-Progress
  • Follow-up

The San Joaquin River Conservancy is a regionally governed state agency mandated to develop and implement the San Joaquin River Parkway Master Plan. Funds were specifically authorized by the voters for the Conservancy’s program in Proposition 84 as well as previous parks and resources bond acts. Bond funds for Conservancy capital outlays are appropriated in the Wildlife Conservation Board budget to be used for land acquisitions and projects at the discretion of the Conservancy governing board; therefore, both the Conservancy governing board and Wildlife Conservation Board must approve all state bond fund expenditures for the Parkway. The Conservancy governing board's meetings and project approvals are conducted in compliance with the Brown Act.

All Conservancy projects must be in conformance with the San Joaquin River Parkway Master Plan and Program Environmental Impact Report approved and certified by the Conservancy governing board in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act in 1997. Phased development of the Parkway is presented to the State Department of Finance in a series of Five Year Capital Outlay Plans.
Land acquisitions for the San Joaquin River Parkway must be within the Conservancy’s planning jurisdiction (the San Joaquin River floodplain from Friant Dam to Highway 99). All of the lands acquired to date have been held in state ownership and managed by the Conservancy or other state agencies. The Conservancy may award funds to assist local agency and nonprofit partners in acquiring lands, where this would more effectively accomplish Parkway development and management objectives. All lands must be purchased from willing sellers at fair market value as established by independent appraisers.

Bond funds for habitat enhancement, public access and recreation projects within the Parkway may be expended directly by the Conservancy pursuant to state contracting and procurement procedures and authorities. Funds for Parkway projects may also be awarded by the Conservancy governing board to local agency and nonprofit partners.

Land acquisitions and capital improvement projects are evaluated and prioritized by interagency partners, stakeholder committees, ad hoc Board member committees, and the Conservancy governing board. Criteria used to prioritize projects include:

  • Consistent with Parkway Master Plan
  • Serves under-served population
  • Achieves long term goals
  • Promotes and demonstrates Parkway success
  • Meets interagency and partner needs
  • Project readiness
  • Connectivity
  • Independent function
  • Public demand and acceptance
  • Environmental Impacts/Benefits
  • Capital cost
  • Potential outside funding, in-kind support
  • Potential operating entity
  • Potential concession operation, revenue
  • Net operations costs

More information on the Conservancy and its projects may be found on the San Joaquin River Conservancy website.



Working cooperatively San Joaquin River Conservancy (Conservancy) and Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) oversee appraisals, environmental site assessments, title documents, and negotiate purchase agreements to facilitate land acquisitions to accomplish the Conservancy’s mission. The projects are subject to approval by the Conservancy’s and the WCB’s governing boards. The State Lands Commission provides surveys of state sovereign lands to protect the state’s rights to the San Joaquin River.

Improvement Projects

San Joaquin River Parkway habitat enhancement, public access and recreation improvement projects approved by the Conservancy governing board and confirmed by the WCB for funding must be conducted in accordance with an agreement among the Conservancy, WCB, and contractor or local assistance grantee. The objectives, scope, and budget are developed under the direction of the Conservancy and WCB.



Following the close of escrow, final bond fund expenditures for project planning (appraisals, environmental assessments, title and escrow fees) and the purchase price are totaled and accounted for by the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB). Jurisdiction is transferred from the WCB to the San Joaquin River Conservancy for management and for development (habitat enhancement, public access and recreation) in accordance with the San Joaquin River Parkway Master Plan. The WCB prepares all accounting documentation, ensures bond fund act accounting requirements are met, and coordinates responses to routine audits. All funding sources and amounts for each purchase are documented by the WCB.

Improvement Projects

Final documents for all habitat enhancement, public access and recreation planning projects funded via San Joaquin River Conservancy-directed bond funds are maintained by the Conservancy and WCB and are made available to the public. All construction projects funded via San Joaquin River Conservancy-directed bond funds receive a final inspection by the WCB and Conservancy when the project is complete and prior to releasing final grant funds. The purpose of the inspection is to ensure all project components were completed according to the terms of the contract or local assistance grant agreement, including project scope and budget. All contractors and grantees must comply with all current laws and regulations which apply to the project. Grantees are required to submit to the WCB documents summarizing total project costs and all additional funding sources.