California's riparian, wetland and coastal areas provide critical habitat for diverse fish and wildlife species, many of which are threatened or endangered. Riparian habitats provide nesting, breeding and feeding areas for a vast array of resident and migrating neotropical birds, wetlands shelter freshwater fish and amphibians and coastal and estuarine areas provide nurseries for trout and salmon and wintering grounds for shorebirds.
In addition to benefits for fish and wildlife, these ecosystems also perform important services for humans. They buffer against sea level rise, filter pollutants and sequester carbon to offset the impact of emissions.
Unfortunately, much of this valuable habitat has been degraded, fragmented or destroyed and remaining areas are pressured by increasing urbanization. California’s remarkable biodiversity depends on the healthy functioning and good stewardship of its riparian, wetlands, and coastal ecosystems.
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) partners with NFWF to support community-based stewardship and restoration of vital habitats through PG&E’s Nature Restoration Trust. PG&E provides funding for projects that deliver environmental education and on-the-ground conservation within their service areas in northern and central California and promote place-based commitment to conserving local natural resources.
Funding priorities for this program include:
- Benefits to underserved communities, particularly in the form of contributions to community vitality (i.e., direct support for local businesses and non-profit organizations);
- Engagement with schools and organizations that provide hands-on outdoors experiences for youth and community groups;
- Habitat restoration and enhancement projects that can be evaluated using clearly defined success criteria and that demonstrate a commitment to long-term stewardship and/or monitoring; and
- Benefits for sensitive species (e.g., state or federal candidate or listed species or species of special concern).
Since 1999, PG&E’s Nature Restoration Trust program has invested $1.9 million in 71 projects from Redding to Bakersfield. Grantees have raised an additional $4.4 million in matching contributions for a total investment of over $6.4 million for restoration and stewardship of local natural resources. Many species have benefitted, including the California clapper rail, salt marsh harvest mouse, San Francisco garter snake, red-legged frog, coho salmon and steelhead trout, native Olympia oysters, Western pond turtle, Mission blue butterfly and Bay checkerspot butterfly, kit fox and a variety of native plants on coastal dunes, woodland stream banks and wetland areas.
PG&E’s Nature Restoration Trust is administered by NFWF as a member of the Five Star Program.