CNPS Applauds Executive Order Accelerating Governor’s Commitment to Preserving Biodiversity

Contact: Liv O’Keeffe
916-447-2677, ext. 202

Spring bloom on the Carrizo Plain. Photo by Nick Jensen.

Oct. 7, 2020, Sacramento – California is one of the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots, and today Gov. Newsom issued an Executive Order to coordinate intersectional efforts to protect species and habitats while achieving the state’s carbon neutrality goals.

In introducing today’s Executive Order, Gov. Newsom mentioned his grandfather’s decades-long interest in California native plants and species as a source of personal inspiration. San Francisco’s Arthur L. Menzies Garden of California Native Plants, named after Newsom’s grandfather honors his commitment to California’s flora. “I’ve always shared a little bit of that bias,” Gov. Newsom said.

The Executive Order calls on the state’s agencies, tribes, universities, non-profits, community groups, and businesses to collaborate on an ambitious set of goals to bolster California’s biodiversity resilience, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and leverage California natural and working lands’ natural capacity to sequester carbon. The Order recognizes California’s new 30×30 legislation (AB 3030, Asm. Ash Kalra, San Jose), which aims to protect 30 percent of California’s land and waters by 2030 alongside California’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.

“This announcement ties it all together: mitigation, resiliency, sequestration,” California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection Jared Blumenfeld said during an environmental stakeholder briefing this afternoon. “We have really raised the profile of biodiversity and are going to keep it at a very high level with this administration and many administrations to come.”

The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) noted the Executive Order’s call to establish a “baseline assessment of California’s biodiversity” building on existing scientific data and information and incorporating traditional Indigenous knowledge and stakeholders.

“There are a lot of places and species in California we still need to document in order to meaningfully protect them, so we’re especially excited to see this Administration’s commitment to securing that baseline data in a more expansive way,” CNPS Plant Science Director Andrea Williams said. “We think of it as a new ‘Survey of California.’” 

CNPS envisions a statewide effort with the potential to engage Californians of all backgrounds and education in a new work force dedicated toward the common goal of preserving the state’s unprecedented biodiversity.

In the same afternoon briefing, California Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot said the Executive Order marked the Administration’s “double-down” on California’s accelerated efforts to combat climate change and the planet’s current period of mass extinction.

Already, CNPS, partners, and legislators like Asms. Kalra and Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) are focused on a number of biodiversity-related efforts, including the state’s wildfire mitigation efforts, mapping of California’s Important Plant Areas, seed banking rare and endangered species, and conserving threatened wildlands. Gov. Newsom acknowledged the work that organizations like CNPS have underway, and said this Executive Order is meant to support and scale up those efforts across the state.

“CNPS applauds the Governor’s actions today,” said CNPS Lead Conservation Scientist Nick Jensen. “Preserving our native flora has been our mission for more than 50 years, and we couldn’t be more ready to help our partners and this Administration succeed.”

About the California Native Plant Society:

The California Native Plant Society is a statewide organization working to save and celebrate California’s native plants and places via plant science, advocacy, education, and horticulture. CNPS has nearly 10,000 members in 35 chapters throughout California and Baja to promote its mission at the local level.


  1. Just make sure he doesn’t buy the President’s argument that logging is the solution. It’s not; it’s the problem.

  2. Nice words–when will Gov. Newsom & Wade Crowfoot save Tesla/Corral Hollow plant communities from off-road vehicles? Meaning promotion of biodiversity has to include saving plants in their sites of natural populations.

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