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Center for Biological Diversity

Golden State Biodiversity Initiative

by Charles Webber, CA Academy of Sciences

The Golden State Biodiversity Initiative Strategy

Focal Bioregions

Endangered Species

Working in Coalitions

California Conservation Facts

Join the Center for Biological Diversity, Today!


California contains extraordinary biological diversity and a variety of ecosystems including rugged ocean beaches, snowy mountain peaks, oak woodlands, remnant grasslands, scenic deserts, and lush forests.
These diverse areas contain some of the most species rich lands in the world. Despite the environmental advances of the past three decades, California's ecosystems and biological diversity continue to decline at unacceptable rates. Logging, grazing, dam building, road construction, mining, and poorly regulated development are leading California toward irreversible ecological collapse.

Twenty one animal species have been driven to extinction in California in recent years. Another 17 species have been extirpated and at least 34 plants are presumed extinct. 599 plants and 306 vertebrate species are declining or seriously at risk including 64% of the state's native fish. These numbers will only grow as California's population increases to over 15 million people by 2020, increasing pressure on already stressed ecosystems.

"A REP FOR PLAYING HARDBALL... the Center for Biological Diversity has become one of the most formidable activist groups in the nation."

To save California's open spaces, endangered species, and wild places, the Center for Biological Diversity is revolutionizing environmental protection in the Golden State. In just a few short years we have:

  • Obtained over 5.8 million acres and 2,500 miles of river as protected critical habitat for the California red-legged frog, Alameda whipsnake, southwestern willow flycatcher, coho salmon, Peninsular bighorn sheep, Zayante band-winged grasshopper and other species.
  • Obtained federal proposals to protect over 422,000 acres as critical habitat for the Riverside fairy shrimp, San Bernardino kangaroo rat, Bay checkerspot butterfly, and Quino checkerspot butterfly.
  • Won Endangered Species Act protection for 80 species including the Jaguar, San Jacinto Valley crownscale, Quino checkerspot butterfly, San Diego thornmint, Western lily, and Southwestern willow flycatcher.
  • Reduced or eliminated livestock grazing on two million acres of the California Desert Conservation Area.
  • Protected over 3.4 million acres from destructive mining, including the closure of the largest mine within the National Park system.
  • Protected over 550,000 acres of wildlife habitat from off-road vehicles.
  • Challenged logging in the Sierra Nevada with petitions to list the California spotted owl, Sierra Nevada population of the Pacific fisher, and the Northern goshawk as endangered species.
  • Won protection for 25 acres on San Bruno Mountain to protect Native American historical sites and endangered butterflies, and another 575 acres in San Jose's Silver Creek Hills.
  • 49,310 Acres of Algodones Dunes protected from off-road vehicles
  • Secured the closure of the gillnet fishery in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
  • Petitioned to protect 34 California species under the Endangered Species Act including the Yosemite toad, mountain yellow-legged frog, white abalone, California spotted owl, Yellow-billed cuckoo, Pacific fisher, and Pacific red snapper.
  • Negotiated a settlement with the Forest Service to protect over 50 imperiled plants and animals on millions of acres of National Forest in Southern California.
  • Challenged logging and mining which is decimating rivers and endangered salmon.
  • And, challenged urban sprawl in the Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, and S.F. Bay areas.

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