The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The continuing population growth in California will result in increasing demands for dwindling natural resources and result in the continuing decline of the states wildlife.
(b) There is a need for broad-based planning to provide for effective protection and conservation of the states wildlife heritage while continuing to allow appropriate development and growth.
(c) Natural community conservation planning is an effective tool in protecting Californias natural diversity while reducing conflicts between protection of the states wildlife heritage and reasonable use of natural resources for economic development.
(d) Natural community conservation planning promotes coordination and cooperation among public agencies, landowners, and other private interests, provides a mechanism by which landowners and development proponents can effectively address cumulative impact concerns, promotes conservation of unfragmented habitat areas, promotes multispecies and multihabitat management and conservation, provides one option for identifying and ensuring appropriate mitigation that is roughly proportional to impacts on fish and wildlife, and promotes the conservation of broad-based natural communities and species diversity.
(e) Natural community conservation planning can provide for efficient use and protection of natural and economic resources while promoting greater sensitivity to important elements of the states critical natural diversity.
(f) Natural community conservation planning is a voluntary and effective planning process that can facilitate early coordination to protect the interests of the state, the federal government, and local public agencies, landowners, and other private parties.
(g) Natural community conservation planning is a mechanism that can provide an early planning framework for proposed development projects within the planning area in order to avoid, minimize, and compensate for project impacts to wildlife.
(h) Natural community conservation planning is consistent with, and will support, the fish and wildlife management activities of the department in its role as the trustee for fish and wildlife within the state.
(i) The purpose of natural community conservation planning is to sustain and restore those species and their habitat identified by the department that are necessary to maintain the continued viability of those biological communities impacted by human changes to the landscape.
(j) Natural community conservation planning is a cooperative process that often involves local, state, and federal agencies and the public, including landowners within the plan area. The process should encourage the active participation and support of landowners and others in the conservation and stewardship of natural resources in the plan area during plan development using appropriate measures, including incentives.