The Wildlife Conservation Board has been buying thousands of acres of land in California through grants and non-profits. Now those transactions may face greater scrutiny.

The WCB will now require independent review of any purchase worth more than $5 million or that involves more than 5,000 acres of land. The change came about after several failed attempts to evaluable purchases before they are made, including assessments of property value. The legislation that created the agency exempted it from public records requests.

However, shrinking budgets have caused more people to look more carefully at how the state is spending money. And over the last 12 years, the agency has spent more than $1.2 billion purchasing 460,000 acres of land across the state to set it aside for conservation purposes.

From the California Watch:

A state conservation agency’s new policy on transparency and public disclosure is drawing mixed reviews, from lukewarm approval to condemnation.

The Wildlife Conservation Board’s new policy outlines the rules for the public disclosure of appraisals for land acquisitions and conservation set asides.

Read the full article here.