Natural Resources

Cattle grazing at Wright Hill Ranch Regional Park and Open Space Preserve

Sonoma County is a globally significant “hotspot” for biodiversity, with its Mediterranean climate supporting an array of ecosystems and species. Redwood forests, coastal prairies, oak savannas, rivers, estuaries, and beaches provide habitat and refuge for birds, mammals, amphibians, insects, and more.


Regional Parks works to protect, restore, and steward these world-class resources. Our goals are to:

  1. Ensure the parks contribute to the ecological function of natural systems throughout the county. 
  2. Use the parks to inform and inspire visitors about nature and the link between environmental health and personal wellness.


Regional Parks has an ongoing program to manage Sonoma County's natural resources.  Examples include:

Climate Change

Parks are a key line of defense against climate change. Our more urban parks cool and clean the air, improve and modify wind circulations, regulate precipitation, and mitigate the impact of urban heat islands. 


Regional Parks stewards several populations of threatened and endangered species. We monitor species such as the California red-legged frog and adapt our management to protect and recover the species. 

Invasive Species

There are 195 invasive plant species in Sonoma County, making up 8 percent of the total vegetative cover.  We engage our staff and volunteers in efforts to control the most problematic weeds. 


All of Sonoma County’s forests and grasslands have enjoyed thousands of years of regular burning. The challenge in today’s built environment is to manage increasingly dense vegetation due to the exclusion of fire.


Because Sonoma County’s grasslands are adapted to disturbance from fire and large herds of animals, they quickly lose their vitality without active burning or grazing. 


Sonoma County Regional Parks works to enhance the function of our ecosystems through active restoration. We endeavor to “keep our common species common” by planting oaks and other native species iconic to the Sonoma County landscape.