California Executive Order N-82-20 Addressing the Biodiversity Crisis

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order on October 7, 2020 creating a California Biodiversity Collaborative and setting a goal of conserving at least 30% of the state’s land and coastal waters by 2030 to combat the biodiversity and climate crises. The EO also calls for engaging with stakeholders across California to, among other things: prioritize investments to protect biodiversity, habitat restoration, wildfire resistant and sustainable landscapes; protect pollinators, native plants and animals, and soils; naturally sequester carbon; and develop a “Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy.” The EO was written in collaboration and partnership with federal, state, and local governments, as well as Native American Tribes and frontline community stakeholders.

The California Biodiversity Collaborative mandated by the EO is intended to facilitate public-private and multi-stakeholder collaboration to advance efforts to protect the state’s biodiversity. It will require collaboration between the State’s Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), Natural Resources Agency (CNRA), and Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA), as well as other state agencies, the federal and government and local governments, Native American Tribes, academic and research institutions, and other stakeholders such as outdoor recreation groups, fishing and hunting organizations, private landowners including farmers and ranchers, environmental organizations, housing and land use developers, and others. The Collaborative will be led by CNRA and will consult with state agencies on efforts to:

  • Establish a baseline of the state’s biodiversity
  • Assess risks from climate change to California’s biodiversity
  • Inventory current efforts by all stakeholders and land managers to protect biodiversity and highlight opportunities for additional actions
  • Expand the use of information, indicators, and tools to monitor and track progress on protecting California’s biodiversity and natural resources
  • Advance multi-benefit, cooperative, and voluntary approaches to protect and restore biodiversity, while also stewarding natural and working lands, building climate resilience, and supporting economic sustainability.

The EO charges CNRA with reporting to the Governor by February 1, 2022, with a plan that will conserve 30% of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030. The recommended strategies must protect biodiversity, build climate resilience, expand equitable access to recreation, and safeguard economic sustainability, among other goals.

The EO also charges state agencies with taking specific actions to preserve the state’s biodiversity. For example, CNRA is directed to better prioritize investments, improve collaboration with federal and state research institutions and tribes, and streamline approvals for restoration and land management projects. CDFA is directed to coordinate with public and private partners to restore pollinator species, protect native plants and animals from invasive species and pests, and enhance soil health and biodiversity through the Healthy Soils Initiative.

Finally, the EO directs CNRA, CDFA, and CEPA to take actions that will help sequester carbon and build climate resilience in forests, wetlands, urban green spaces, and agricultural soils, and through land conservation activities, and to do so in ways that serve all California communities, but particularly in low-income, disadvantaged, and vulnerable communities. In consultation with state agencies, CNRA is required to develop a Natural and Working Lands Climate Strategy by October 2021, with principles like equity and transparency guiding the development process. The Natural and Working Lands Climate Strategy will be considered by the California Air Resources Board when updating the state Scoping Plan, which identifies strategies for how the state will meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets mandated by state law. 

Publication Date: October 7, 2020

Related Organizations:

  • State of California

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Resource Types:

  • Executive order

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