Science for a Blue Planet

Featuring cutting-edge work, discoveries, and challenges of our scientists, our partners, and the larger conservation science community.

Report from Riverside: State Leaders Uniting to Advance CA’s Biodiversity Conservation Goals

By Liz Chamberlin, Director of Innovation; and Mani Oliva, C.E.O.

Point Blue staff conducting soil and vegetation surveys at Hicks Ranch in Nicasio, CA. (Credit: Lishka Arata/Point Blue)

Last week, conservation champions from around the state came together in Riverside, CA to continue collaborating around how we can work together to meet the state’s ambitious biodiversity conservation goals. The 30×30 Partnership Gathering, organized by the California Natural Resources Agency and the California Biodiversity Network, takes its name from California’s bold plan to conserve or restore 30% of the state’s lands and waters by the year 2030.

First issued as an Executive Order in 2020 (see our blog post here) and recently codified as law with the passage of SB 337, California’s Pathways to 30×30 Strategy is one of the most important frameworks driving conservation efforts in California. Additionally, California’s approach to 30×30 provides a comprehensive and inspirational framework that prioritizes not only protecting our biodiversity-rich lands and coastal waters, but also increasing access to the outdoors and enhancing climate mitigation. At Point Blue, we especially applaud the State’s vision in explicitly including the importance of restoration and stewardship on our vast working landscapes that, when managed well, can provide essential “connective tissue” to better support biodiversity, access to nature, and climate resilience.

Key to 30×30’s success will be deep collaboration between state and federal agencies, tribal nations, local governments, scientists, NGOs like Point Blue, and community participants including farmers and ranchers, community groups, and recreation advocates. Point Blue was honored to participate in the gathering through helping to organize the event, and on the second day, Dr. Sam Veloz (Point Blue) led a panel discussion, “Large Landscape Stewardship: Unlocking the Contribution of Working Lands to 30×30” with panelists, Dr. Kristin Byrd (USGS), Councilmember Sherri Provolt (Yurok Tribe), Pelayo Alvarez (Audubon Conservation Ranching Program), Dr. Jeanette Howard (TNC), and Dr. Liz Chamberlin (Point Blue). Point Blue has been working on farms and ranches for over a decade, in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to help producers implement sustainable solutions on farms and ranches. Our recent partnership with California’s Wildlife Conservation Board, through which we’re stewarding $50 million in 30×30 funds, will allow us to dramatically increase our existing restoration and stewardship impact on working landscapes and in mountain meadows over the next fours years.

Another theme of the event centered around the concept of inclusion. How can conservation efforts include the interests of groups that have historically had less access not just to California’s lands and waters, but also to the decision making processes about how they’re managed? Here too, Point Blue has been taking strides to find new ways forward. Through our WCB-supported restoration programs, we’re prioritizing tribal partners and traditionally underserved applicants, including small-scale producers, beginning farmers and ranchers, and under-resourced urban communities. In addition, Point Blue was proud to partner with the California Biodiversity Network to host an equity forum last year to identify equity research gaps to advance pathways to California’s 30×30.

As it has for decades, California has an opportunity to be a real leader in prioritizing conservation and has taken the initiative to seize that opportunity. 30×30 is part of a larger global movement, with countries and sub-national governments all joining in to pledge their commitment. Point Blue is thrilled to be partnering with state leaders to co-create a healthy California that can thrive well into the future.