Endangered Species Protection

The voice for plants

Chloropyron maritimum. Credit David Magney.

For more than 50 years, the California Native Plant Society has worked tirelessly to protect rare and endangered native plant species and their habitats. We believe that to save a plant, we must save its habitat – a focus that makes CNPS one of California’s most influential and long-standing advocates for land conservation. By saving plants, we save places.

State and federal endangered species acts

The California and federal Endangered Species Acts (CESA and FESA) remain two of the strongest laws in place to protect wildlife (plants and animals both). However, California’s law, which uses clear thresholds and a permit process, more effectively secures protection for plants than does FESA. The Native Plant Conservation Campaign (NPPC) is actively working to address this inequity.

Endangered species protection requires ongoing vigilance. With each new development project, it is up to the public and non-governmental organizations to invoke the protections of CESA and FESA. Nobody will do it for us. Please support CNPS and NPCC in our efforts to secure maximum and lasting protection for our endangered native plant species.

Monolopia congdonii. Credit David Magney.
Monolopia congdonii. Credit David Magney.

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How We Protect Endangered Species

CNPS works to protect rare and endangered species through a number of key initiatives:

Astragalus pycnostachyus lanosissimus
Astragalus pycnostachyus lanosissimus. Credit David Magney.

The Inventory of Rare Plants

CNPS manages the the review and ranking of California’s rare plants through its online Inventory. This process helps make it possible for CNPS to identify and advocate for new endangered species candidates.

Relocating the Franciscan Manzanita
Relocating the Franciscan Manzanita, discovered after presumed extinction. Credit Estelle.

Endangered Species Listings

In partnership with experts on the CNPS Rare Plant Committee, CNPS has developed a model for drafting state and federal petitions. Read about recent listing victories.

Credit Becky Reilly.

IPA Initiative

As proposed projects like the Delta Tunnels and high speed rail trigger a new a wave of development, CNPS is building a priority plant conservation map using best-available science to identify and protect species before the bulldozers get rolling.

Woody Elliot MTL field trip.

Advocacy and Public Comment

CNPS regularly joins environmental coalitions to help draft, amend, and influence laws and other public plans. We invoke state and federal endangered species acts to support our positions and recommendations.

Vernal Pool Botanizing - Carol Witham
Vernal Pool Botanizing – Carol Witham

Botanist Certification

When a development project is in the works, the environmental review process is critical. That’s why we worked with experts statewide to develop a curriculum and process that sets environmental reviewers up for success.

Woody Elliot MTL field trip
Woody Elliot MTL field trip.

Local Action

CNPS chapters know the endangered species in their area and help determine conservation priorities to protect them.

Join us!

When you save plants, you save places.

Join CNPS!