PETALUMA, Calif. — The State of California’s Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) has awarded Petaluma-based non-profit, Point Blue Conservation Science, two major restoration-oriented block grants. In total, the two grants represent $50 million over four years for science-based restoration with particular focus on community engagement, research, and equity building across California. These two grants are among the largest WCB has ever awarded. Point Blue will administer these funds with significant amounts redirected to partner organizations in addition to direct implementation by our own teams.
WCB is a primary implementing agency for Governor Newsom’s bold goal of conserving and restoring 30% of California’s lands and waters by 2030, an initiative known as 30×30. As an integral part of this biodiversity and conservation initiative, WCB has been allocated significant general funds from the recent budget surplus to achieve the goals of 30×30.
“We’re just thrilled to have the support of WCB for these critical projects,” says Manuel Oliva, Point Blue’s CEO. “This is a major win for conservation in California and we’re excited to get to work.”
The restoration of degraded lands is a tried-and-true conservation strategy that brings multiple benefits to wildlife and people and increasing the pace and scale of climate smart restoration is a strategic priority for Point Blue. Restored ecosystems create wildlife habitat, sequester carbon, provide clean air and water, increase agricultural productivity, create recreational opportunities, and generate other cultural values. The two awards approved by WCB will support numerous restoration projects in two land types: 1) working landscapes such as farms and ranches across California (aka Point Blue’s “Roots Program”); and 2) mountain meadows in the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades.
The Roots Program block grant awards Point Blue $26 million over four years to build wildlife-friendly resilience and equity in California’s working landscapes through restoration projects on farms and ranches. Point Blue will prioritize outreach and funds to projects that are otherwise hard to reach through state funding mechanisms, with a focus on reaching disadvantaged communities. The funds will provide resources to support core work in our STRAW Program, through which we engage K-12 students in environmental education and in-the-field, professional level restoration projects.
“One of the most exciting things about the Roots Program award is that it allows us to scale up the community-based restoration model we’ve created over years of development” says Liz Chamberlin, Point Blue’s Director of Innovation and a member of the leadership team for both awards. “We’ll now be able to implement restoration projects on far more farms and ranches, while growing our capacity for equity building and social science research and connecting to major conservation efforts, like California’s ambitious 30×30 goals”
This Roots Program grant has a broad coalition of partner support including California Department of Food and Agriculture; California Association of Resource Conservation Districts; the Yurok Tribe; Amah Mutsun Land Trust; Watts Rising, Compton People’s Garden; and numerous farmers, ranchers, and land trusts.
The Sierra Meadows Partnership Block Grant awards $24.7 million over 4 years to the Sierra Meadows Partnership via Point Blue. The Sierra Meadows Partnership, which Point Blue currently leads, is an established coalition of organizations working to restore and protect Sierra meadows. Of the estimated 280,000 acres of Sierra meadows, roughly 50% are degraded and climate change and development continue to threaten them.
“The Sierra Nevada mountains are an iconic feature of California,” says Ryan Burnett, Point Blue’s Sierra Group Director. “And given the critical importance of Sierra Meadows to California’s water supply, carbon sequestration goals, and the maintenance of biodiversity, it’s fantastic that WCB has agreed on the urgent need to increase the pace, scale, and efficacy of meadow restoration and protection.” This grant will enable the restoration of 12,500 acres of critical meadow habitat. Importantly, this grant helps the SMP reach its target of restoring and protecting 30,000 acres of mountain meadows by the year 2030.
These two grants represent an unprecedented opportunity for Point Blue to partner with WCB to help implement CA’s ambitious 30×30 plans.
About Point Blue Conservation Science:
Point Blue advances conservation of birds, other wildlife and ecosystems through science, partnerships, and outreach. Our highest priority is to reduce the impacts of habitat loss, climate change, and other environmental threats while promoting nature-based solutions for wildlife and people, on land and at sea. Visit Point Blue at www.pointblue.org.
–Point Blue Conservation Science