Petaluma’s Point Blue awarded $50 million for restoration work
The State of California’s Wildlife Conservation Board has awarded a Petaluma nonprofit two hefty grants totaling more than $50 million – enough for the conservation group to take on key restoration projects around the state over the next four years.
Point Blue Conservation Science, headquartered on Cyprus Drive near Shollenberger Park, announced the “restoration-oriented block grants” in late March, saying they would be “spent over four years to support critical headwaters Sierra Meadow restoration projects, and for community-based restoration on working landscapes across California.”
Point Blue partners with land and water managers, fishermen, ranchers, farmers, cities, counties and others to improve the health of the planet. Besides restoration, the group says the grant money will go towards community engagement, research and equity-building.
“We’re thrilled to have the support of (the Wildlife Conservation Board) for these critical projects,” said Manuel Oliva, Point Blue’s CEO. “This is a major win for conservation in California.”
The grants are among the largest ever awarded by the Wildlife Conservation Board, a key agency in implementing Gov. Gavin Newsom’s goal of conserving and restoring 30% of California’s lands and waters by 2030 – his so-called 30x30 initiative.
Scientists say restored ecosystems can create habitats for wildlife, sequester carbon, provide clean air and water, increase agricultural productivity, and create recreational opportunities, among other benefits.
Point Blue’s new funding is for numerous restoration projects focusing on two land types: working landscapes such as farms and ranches across the state, called the Roots Program; and mountain meadows in the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades, called the Sierra Meadows Partnership.
The Roots Program was awarded $26 million over four years to build wildlife-friendly resilience and equity in working landscapes through restoration on farms and ranches.
The Sierra Meadows Partnership was awarded $24.7 million over four years to restore and protect Sierra meadows, half of which are degraded and threatened by climate change and development. The grant will go towards restoring 12,500 acres of critical meadow habitat – a good part of the state’s target of restoring and protecting 30,000 acres by 2030.
Point Blue says it plans to prioritize outreach and funds to projects otherwise struggling to receive state funding, with a focus on reaching disadvantaged communities and young students.
According to pointblue.org, Point Blue’s “160 scientists work to reduce impacts of climate change, habitat loss, and other environmental threats” while developing solutions in benefit of wildlife and people.
Emma Molloy is an intern for the Argus-Courier. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.