Celebrating and conserving the ecological richness of California's grasslands
Grassland Restoration and Management Resources

General Management

Barry S, Larson S, George M. 2020 (2006). California Native Grasslands: A Historical Perspective--A guide for developing realistic restoration objectives. Grasslands, A Publication of the Native Grass Association Vol 30(1):5-10. 

Restoration Manual for Annual Grassland Systems in California, ANR Publication 8575, June 2017, written by former CNGA Director, Elise Gornish and Julea Shaw.

A comprehensive ecological application guide for effective restoration in grassland and rangeland systems for California. Developed for use by practitioners of any experience level to inform grassland restoration design and application. 

Includes sections on:

  • Identifying your Restoration Goals - enhancing biodiversity, reducing invasive plant cover, improving pollinator and wildlife habitat, providing forage for livestock, erosion control, and carbon storage
  • Pre-Vegetation Techniques - invasive species management
  • Plant Materials - choosing species, sourcing seeds & plants, seed mixes, seeding amounts
  • Revegetation Techniques
  • Species--descriptions of over 80 grassland species with pros and cons
  • Species Listed by Region and Restoration Goal - with tables for 7 goals for each of 7 areas: southern, desert, central coast, valley, northern coast, northern interior, and basin

Native Grasslands of Coastal California: Landowners Guide to Native Grasses and Management. Hastings Natural History Reservation. 

Former Hastings Reserve Director, Mark Stromberg, and Paul Kephart of Rana Creek Habitat Restoration Inc. put together a detailed packet of information on the native California grasslands and how to handle them as land managers. Hastings Natural History Preserve has made this available for download as eight PDFs.

  1. Introduction & Background to Landowners Guide to Native Grass Enhancement and Restoration
  2. Start Again or Decide to Manage a Native Relict?
  3. Selected Invasive Weeds and Their Management in Native Grasslands - A detailed photo guide
  4. Native Grassland Reestablishment - A step-by-step guide on when and how to plant
  5. Selected Non-native Grasses and Grasslands Plants - Recognizing the problem plants
  6. Selected Native Perennial Grasses - Recognizing the beneficial natives
  7. Appendix - Contacts, Consultants, Seed Sources, Tools, etc
  8. References - Cited references and further readings
    Relevant articles: Stromberg, Kephart, Yadon 2002  Coastal Grasslands Madrono (PDF)Bring Back Native Grasses 2005 (PDF)Kephart 2001 Resource Management Demonstration at Russian Ridge Preserve (PDF).

Restoration Ecology Volume 28, Issue S3. August 2020. Special Issue: Standards for Native Seeds in Ecological Restoration (Open access)

How to Manage and Restore Coastal Prairie: Thoughts From the FieldCalifornia’s Coastal Prairie. A project of the Sonoma Marin Coastal Grasslands Working Group by Claudia Luke, Diana (Immel) Jeffery,  and Kathleen Kraft. Last modified June 2013.  Center for Environmental Inquiry at Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California. Website: www.sonoma.edu/cei/prairie.

Grassland Management Skills Curriculum offers teaching materials for a complete course on teaching grassland ecology, species, and site-specific management planning strategies where student build on initial knowledge by learning to develop and modify their own grassland management prescriptions. 

Managing for Wildlife: Birds, Pollinators, Butterflies and Beneficial Insects

Seed choice affects diversity and activity of pollinators

Bucharova, A, Lampei, C, Conrady, M, et al. Plant provenance affects pollinator network: Implications for ecological restoration. Journal of Applied Ecology.   2021; 00: 1– 11. https://doi.org/10.1111/13652664.13866 (Open Access)

Synthesis and applications. Plant provenances substantially differ in their interactions with local pollinators. Therefore, the selection of plant provenance should be considered when planning restoration projects for the support of pollinators.

Bees, Pollinators, Insects

Hofmann MM, Renner SS (2020) One-year-old flower strips already support a quarter of a city’s bee species. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 75: 87-95. https://doi.org/10.3897/jhr.75.47507

Tonietto, RK & DJ Larkin. 2017. Habitat restoration benefits wild bees: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Ecology Vol.  55 (2).  https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13012

Forister Matthew L., Emma M. Pelton, Scott H. Black. 2019. Declines in insect abundance and diversity: We know enough to act now. Conservation Science and Practice (online) First published: 22 June 2019. https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.80.

Grassland disturbance increases monarch butterfly oviposition and decreases arthropod predator abundance. Biological Conservation, Volume 233, May 2019, Pages 185-192 by Nathan L.Haan, Douglas A.Landis. Also see Mowing for MonarchsScience Direct's summary of above article. March 12, 2019.

Establishing Pollinator Meadows from Seed, Xerces Society, 2013. 

Grassland Birds

Enhancing Grassland Restoration for Grassland Birds, Rodd Kelsey, Grasslands Winter 2010

Keeping Grasslands Healthy: Using birds to measure the health of your California Grassland (PDF) NRCS, Point Blue Conservation Science (Accessed June 9, 2021).

Grassland and rangeland management for grassland birds. NRCS, Wildlife Habitat Management Institute,1999. See page 5, Grassland and Rangeland Management for birds. Page 7 has a summary table of habitat requirements for grassland-nesting birds.

Pollinators in Natural Areas: A Primer on Habitat Management, Xerces Society, 2014. Contains information on managing grazing, fire, mowing, and insecticides.  See page 12 for a graph with the recommended management window for North American bees and bumblebees. 

California Partners in Flight and the Point Reyes Bird Observatory recommends avoiding mowing or burning until after July when breeding season is over (pp 22-23)

Livestock grazing supports native plants and songbirds in a California annual grassland. PLoS ONE 12(6), 2017: By Sasha Gennet, Erica Spotswood, Michele Hammond, James W. Bartolome.  An 8-year study in central California finds livestock grazing can be compatible with or support grassland bird conservation. --Michele Hammond is a current serving on the CNGA Board of Directors. 

Weed Control

Native perennial grasses, once established, provide long-term suppression of noxious weeds, even in highly-favorable years.   -Valerie Eviner, Cal-IPC Conference October 2020.

Cal-IPC 2020. Best Management Practices for Non-Chemical Weed Control. Report to California Department of Pesticide Regulation under grant number 18-PML-G002. 291 pp.


  • Removing Whole Plants (5 techniques)
  • Controlling Plants by Cutting (6 techniques)
  • Controlling Plants in Place  (3 techniques)
  • Covering Plants with Sheet Barriers  (3 techniques)
  • Controlling Plants at a Plant Community Scale (4 techniques)
  • Biological Control (general introduction and descriptions of agents for 18 weed species/species groups)

UC Weed Research and Information Center

Managing Weeds in Grasslands and Rangelands webinar

Selected Yellow Starthistle Treatment Options, Livestock & Range News, by Devii R. Rao, September 20, 2017. Grazing, mowing, herbicide options to control yellow starthistle. 

Use of Fire as a Tool for Controlling Invasive Plants -2006, California Invasive Plant Council. By Joseph M. DiTomaso, Matthew L. Brooks, Edith B. Allen, and Ralph Minnich. Edited by Joseph M. DiTomaso and Douglas W. Johnson

This report captures the current state of knowledge on the use of fire to manage invasive plants in wildlands, so that better information can facilitate improved decision making when considering the use of prescribed burning for the management of invasive plants.


Soil Community

-Not All Micorrhizal Amendments are Equal

Native plant abundance, diversity, and richness increases in prairie restoration with field inoculation density of native mycorrhizal amendments. Liz Kozial, Timothy E. Crews, & James D. Bever. 2020. Restoration Ecology Early View. 

The authors found that native mycorrhizal inocula increased native plant abundance, richness, and community diversity. 

A Field Test of Commercial Soil Microbial Treatments on Native Grasslands Restoration, Lora B Perkins & Joe R. Bennett. Restoration Ecology 26 (5).

The authors found soil microbial additives had no effect on seedling performance during the 2 years after restoration. They conclude that the treatments are designed for agriculture or home gardens and are not appropriate for wildland systems. 

Grassland Restoration & Management Bibliographies

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