Cutting Green Tape

Overhead view of participants working in small groups at the Cutting the Green Tape roll-out meeting
Cutting Green Tape Roll Out, December 18, 2019

California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot and other leaders have launched the Cutting Green Tape initiative to improve permitting and funding efficiencies for ecological restoration and stewardship. The California Landscape Stewardship Network supported the Natural Resources Agency this effort by convening five visionary and action-oriented roundtables between December 2019 and April 2020.

These meetings brought together the collective wisdom and experience of over 150 regulatory agency staff, local governments, NGOs, public and private land owners, tribes, and a range of other stakeholders. Together, we created specific recommendations for how to increase permitting effectiveness, expedite project review and approval, improve cross-jurisdictional collaboration, and more.

The resulting report, Cutting Green Tape: Regulatory Efficiencies for a Resilient Environment, includes 14 key recommendations to enable good restoration and stewardship projects to happen more efficiently and cost effectively. A blog post from Secretary Crowfoot announcing the report also includes a memo that outlines more details about the Agency's vision for its implementation.  

Please see our new dashboard tool that tracks the progress of each recommendation and offers updates on each: 


Statewide Webinars & Exchanges

Statewide webinars are held regularly to discuss the report’s recommendations, hear from practitioners and agency leadership, and advance Cutting Green Tape, including:

Why Do We Need Cutting Green Tape?

California is leading the way on tackling numerous social and environmental challenges. Nevertheless, the sweeping and rapid changes we face from climate change and biodiversity loss pose grave threats to this and future generations.

And yet, we have not been able to take the kinds of bold and immediate action required to meet the pace and scale of these challenges.

One reason for this is that the laws and regulations created to protect the environment from harmful activities are less suited to those meant to be beneficial. These rules tend to focus on minimizing risk and avoiding short-term impacts, often at the cost of considering longer-term benefits or the risk of inaction. Some of the ways they are written and administered also often have the unintended consequence of limiting the pace, scale, and efficiency of environmental work.

The urgent need to take action to protect California’s vital natural life support system will mean “cutting green tape” to reform these government processes and requirements so that work can happen more quickly, simply, and cost-effectively.

How Will Cutting Green Tape Help?

Momentum is building for transformative and durable changes that remove barriers to restoring, enhancing, and preserving our natural resources and ecological systems. Indeed, a recent paper (Mickel 2023) highlighted how Cutting Green Tape appears to be leading to a paradigm shift in the restoration field. Cutting Green Tape is tapping this momentum to:

  • create efficiencies in permitting and regulatory compliance for environmentally beneficial projects;
  • maintain commitments to California’s environmental regulatory safeguards;
  • and allow for state agencies to meet statutory requirements while more easily permitting efforts that seek to build resilience.

The 2019 – 2020 roundtables created a set of tangible, discrete, and time-bound recommendations, tactics and mechanisms to advance these recommendations, and a list of actions the Secretary is committed to taking. You can find agendas, presentations, and notes from the 2019-20 Roundtables in the Resources Library below.




Kellyx Nelson

Kellyx Nelson

Executive Director, San Mateo Resource Conservation District
Santa Cruz Mountains Stewardship Network Partner
California Landscape Stewardship Network Representative
(650) 712-7765 Ext. 102


Cutting Green Tape Resources