The Baldwin Hill Conservancy (BHC) is a state agency governed by appointees representing local, regional, county and state interests. The Conservancy’s statutory mandate is to acquire open space, protect wildlife habitat and provide for recreational and educational uses for the public’s enjoyment. Funds were specifically authorized for the Conservancy by voters with the passage of Proposition 84 as well as the park bond act of 2002. Bond funds for Conservancy capital outlay projects are appropriated in the Conservancy’s budget for land acquisitions, planning and improvement projects for the purposes promulgated in the Baldwin Hills Conservancy Act. The Conservancy governing board must approve all state bond fund expenditures for projects within the territory, with bond compliance oversight assistance from the office of the Attorney General. The Conservancy governing board’s meetings and project expenditure approvals are conducted in compliance with the Bagley Keene Open Meeting Act.
The Conservancy is statutorily responsible to prioritize and implement the acquisition of recreational and open space in accordance with the Baldwin Hills Park Master Plan, which was created pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (c) of the Statutes of 1999 and approved by the governing board in 2002. Proposed acquisition and improvement expenditures are presented to the State Department of Finance in a series of Five Year Capital Outlay Plans. The Conservancy’s land acquisition program was developed through and inter-agency agreement with the California State Lands Commission, applying state oil field management expertise and oversight to the Conservancy’s acquisition strategy. All proposed acquisitions are within the boundaries of the Conservancy and may be purchased either directly by the Conservancy with Public Works Board approval, or through local assistance grants to non-profit organizations, state or local agencies, with the capacity to hold title and assume management of the land. All lands must be purchased from willing sellers at fair market value as established by independent appraisers.
Bond funds for projects such as planning, habitat restoration, public access and recreation projects within the territory may be expended with Conservancy board approval and implemented directly by the Conservancy in compliance with state contracting and procurement procedures and authorities. The Conservancy may also award local assistance grants to local and state agencies or nonprofit organizations for the aforementioned projects.
Land acquisitions and capital improvement projects are evaluated and prioritized by the governing board referencing the Baldwin Hills Park Master Plan, recommendations of the California State Lands Commission’s Land Acquisition Program and the Conservancy’s adopted grant procedures. Criteria used to prioritize projects include:
- Consistency with Baldwin Hills Park Master Plan
- Habitat restoration potential
- Servicing multiple stakeholder objectives
- Technical practicality and feasibility
- Near term potential for implementation
Additional information on this program and other activities can be found of the Baldwin Hills Conservancy website.