The Only Organization Working Exclusively to Conserve and Restore

California's Native Grasslands

Grasslands Conservation

The California Native Grasslands Association works to conserve grasslands throughout California through education, advocacy, research, and stewardship.  Is there a grassland near you that needs help? Let us know! Email:

CNGA Conservation Committee Mission Statement

The CNGA Conservation Committee is committed to advocating for the conservation and restoration of native grassland ecosystems, including conservation of native grassland habitats as a part of the 30 by 30 initiative (protection of 30 percent of the earth’s surface by 2030). 

The Case for Conservation

Old-growth grasslands support substantial biodiversity and are slow to recover if destroyed by human land uses. Secondary grasslands supported 37% fewer plant species than old-growth grasslands typically require at least a century, and more often millennia (projected mean 1,400 y), to recover their former richness (Nerleker & Veldman 2020:1).

The economic value of grassland species for carbon storage. 2017. Hungate BA, EB Barbier, AW Ando, SP Marks, PB Reich, N Van Gestel, DTilman, JMH Knops, DU Hooper, BJ Butterfield, BJ Cardinale.  Science Advances: E1601880.  

Grasslands Provide Resilience in a Changing World

Wang, Y, Shipley, BR, Lauer, DA, Pineau, RM, McGuire, JL. Plant biomes demonstrate that landscape resilience today is the lowest it has been since end‐Pleistocene megafaunal extinctionsGlob Change Biol. 2020; 00: 1– 14.

Summary: Reduced resilience of plant biomes in North America could be setting the stage for the kind of mass extinctions not seen since the retreat of glaciers and arrival of humans about 13,000 years ago, cautions a new study.

Take Home Message: Conservation strategies focused on improving both landscape and ecosystem resilience by increasing local connectivity and targeting regions with high richness and diverse landforms can mitigate these extinction risks.

Ongoing Conservation Efforts

Alameda-Tesla Expansion Area

Work Continues to Establish Tesla as a Nature and Culture Reserve

For More Information visit 

Visit the CSP website for information and announcements on the upcoming public input process. Sign up for State Parks’ status emails at on the Participation page.   


California State Parks is undertaking a phased effort to plan for approximately 3,100 acres of land, known as the Alameda-Tesla Property as part of the California State Parks System. The project is anticipated to take three to five years to complete.

April 21, 2024 CNGA Letter of Support

In a letter emailed to several representatives at California State Parks, we restated our support for and request that Tesla be classified as a State Reserve by the California State Parks and Recreation Commission at a hearing tentatively planned for Fall 2024.

July 30, 2021 Joint letter of support. 

April 26, 2021 Our Conservation Committee joined several other organizations to back the Friends of Tesla Park alliance dedicated to establishing Tesla Park as a nature and cultural preserve. Members of the  Committee testified and signed on a letter of support for  AB 1512 (Bauer-Kahan), which  passed out of the Assembly Water Parks and Wildlife (WPW) Committee hearing by an 11-4 vote on April 26, 2021

Support  of 2020 Tesla Park Legislation

CNGA joins many other organizations in letters sent in support  AB 2551 and SB 1147. 

The letters emphasize how Tesla meets the 3 priorities California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Crowfoot has identified:

  • Biodiversity
  • Climate resiliency
  • Access

CNGA Letter to Gavin Newsom, September 24, 2020

Past Conservation Efforts

Protect Walker Ridge 

 Algonquin Power and Utility proposes to build a large wind energy project where scientists have found at least 27 different rare plant species. There are better places to develop wind energy projects. Read more at the CNPS website.  Sign the petition

Read about Walker Ridge in an article by Andrew Fulks published in Grasslands Spring 2013

Point Molate, City of Richmond

CNGA Advocates for coastal prairie conservation at the City of Richmond's Point Molate

Point person: Jim Hanson, chair of the CNGA Conservation Committee, and member of  the Point Molate Community Advisory Committee. 

More information about Point Molate

The Grasslands of the Potrero San Pablo and Point Molate Shore by David Amme, 2013 

Tejon Ranch

CNGA Supports the California Native Plant Society and The Center for Biological Diversity in their efforts to limit the Centennial Development at Tejon Ranch.

An important next step to stop Centennial

Help CNPS to save an extraordinary California ecosystem

Letter to the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection

Letter emailed on August 9, 2019, with comments on the CalVTP Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) addressing impacts to and mitigations for native herbaceous vegetation, program objectives, and the associated treatment descriptions, especially regarding fuel breaks and Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) fuel reduction. 

CNGA Supported AB 2470 to combat weeds in California

August 30, 2018

The California legislature passed AB 2470 (Grayson and Gonzalez Fletcher) on August 29th. The bill now goes to the Governor, who has until Sept. 30 to sign it into law. The statute would become law on Jan. 1, 2019

Cal-IPC (California Invasive Plant Council) co-sponsored Assembly Bill 2470 in the California Legislature, authored by Assembly Member Tim Grayson (District 14 – Concord). The bill formalizes the state’s interagency Invasive Species Council of California (ISCC). Funding for the council — and for the state’s network of Weed Management Areas (WMAs)

The bill is progressing in the Assembly. Assembly Member Grayson is continuing to gather other co-signers from the legislature on his budget request, which includes $2.5M for WMAs, $5M for the interagency ISCC and its advisory committee CISAC (both of which would be codified by AB 2470), and $2M for UC Dept. of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

CNGA is one of more than eighty organization that wrote a letter of support. 

Grasslands importance noted as Houston flooding subsides

September 1, 2017

As Houston residents began rebuilding their lives, residents, scientists and journalists are asking "why?"This one-in-many-hundreds-of-years flood is  attributed to a stalled storm, more heavily moisture-laden and made stronger by now warmer seas and warmer air, and made more damaging by building more than 7,000 units in the hundred-year floodplain since 2010 ( 

And, while no city is built to withstand a biblical rain, absorption by grasslands and wetlands helps moderate flood levels...and it is finally being recognized.   

A Slate article draws on a Pro-Publica report that "One underlying cause of Houston’s suffering is that developers and town officials in Harris County, which contains Houston, have for years advocated the development of the wetlands and prairies around the city—land that had long served to absorb the rainwater that now overwhelms the region’s sewers and streams every year. The flood-absorbent grasslands of the Katy Prairie have been cut by three-quarters over the past few decades as Houston sprawled west." 

The Katy Prairie is coastal tallgrass prairie in the northwest of Houston. Pro-Publica reports that it was estimated to once be about 600,000 acres of flood-absorbing land (check out the Katy Prairie Conservancy at:

Recognized for taking up rainwater and other "ecological services," grasslands will need to be conserved to serve. 

-Jim Hanson, CNGA Conservation Committee Chair and landscape architect

Conserving Knowland Park Grassland Prairie

In the Summer 2011 issue of Grasslands  we first wrote about the Oakland Zoo’s expansion plan to take 50 acres of Oakland’s Knowland Park for a three-story restaurant, gondola, and exhibits. The development is touted to be about educating kids and families about the importance of conserving California plant and animal life.

As of late summer 2015, the California native prairie at Knowland Park remains. However, the Oakland Zoo filed an application in July to remove over 50 protected oaks (and the native grasslands abiding with them) for this project. CNGA is still pushing for a sensible project.

CNGA is submitted a letter to the East Bay Zoological Society Board of Trustees in late July. CNGA Supports a "California Trail" Zoo project, but one that both celebrates and preserves the diverse plant and animal life present in the park today. 

Read about the Native Grasslands of Knowland Park, by Mack Casterman, March 2012 from Save Knowland Park website. 

Saving the UC Richmond Global Campus Coastal Prairie

UC is planning on developing this area which includes coastal prairie. Over the past two decades, Phalaris has been slowly taking over these prairie areas. CNGA is involved in advocating for smart and safe weed control in the prairie. 

Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Grasslands Management and Protection

President Obama created this new National Monument on July 9, 2015. CNGA will be involved in the publicity, management and protection of the grasslands contained within the new Monument. 

Protecting the Pt. Pinole-East Bay Regional Park District Coastal Prairie through Adaptive Management

CNGA has been advocating for better management of the grasslands at Pt. Pinole. CNGA met with the new Supervisor and Vegetation Manager for the park and learned that they are planning on hiring someone to educate staff on native grasses. In the past eucalyptus debris had been dumped on the native grasslands.  

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