Conservation Strategy Group is a strategic consulting firm with an innovative approach to improving the sustainability of California’s natural resources, water, energy, and transportation systems.
Conservation Strategy Group is a strategic consulting firm with an innovative approach to improving the sustainability of California’s natural resources, water, energy, and transportation systems. The firm provides a full range of state and federal political consulting services for NGOs, local agencies, and clean tech organizations to advance environmental goals in California. Going beyond traditional lobbying, the firm focuses on long-term political and funding strategies for clients from inception to implementation. CSG specializes in building collaborative constituencies for legislative and budget programs, while also designing policy solutions tailored to individual clients.
Conservation Strategy Group offers a range of governmental affairs services to a diversity of environmental clients, focusing primarily on three issue areas:
Transforming water supply and demand strategies for local, regional, and state systems
Protecting California’s natural resources through collaborative policy and funding solutions
Advancing AB 32 goals through natural resources, clean energy, and clean transportation policy
"CSG gives us an insider view of the political landscape in Sacramento and helps us develop thoughtful and effective strategies to meet our water management goals."
General Manager, Sonoma County Water Agency
"POST's land conservation work on the San Mateo Coast required deep partnerships with agencies in Sacramento. CSG was the perfect group to help us find the right people and keep those relationships on target. If you want to do your work, you can't be in Sacramento all the time -- but CSG is! What a great group to have on your team."
President Emeritus, Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST)
"CSG used their deep experience in the land conservation world to make sure that we fully address all the important issues."
General Counsel, Save the Redwoods League
CSG has assisted NGO’s obtain hundreds of millions in conservation and restoration funding. Projects include working with the Big Sur Land Trust to obtain more than $13 million in public funding for the protection and restoration of the Carmel River floodplain, a multi-objective multi-agency project; and assisting the Monterey Bay Aquarium to successfully obtain a $6 million grant to update and expand exhibits for educational purposes. CSG works with clients on an ongoing basis to secure conservation funding through the legislative and state budget process. For more information on conservation funding programs contact Tasha Newman at email@example.com.
Successfully managed numerous statewide bond campaigns and campaigns for and against other statewide measures including the defeat of Proposition 23 in 2010. Proposition 23 would have suspended provisions of AB 32 (Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006), the bill that established California's landmark Cap and Trade system. Developed the campaign plan, fundraised, built a coalition of supporters, oversaw a team of consultants and managed a $30 million campaign budget. For more information on political campaign management contact Kelly Solov at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CSG has developed ballot initiatives designed for success. We authored and ran a successful statewide ballot initiative, 39, that closed a tax loophole that provided corporations with a tax break for moving their jobs and investments to other states. Drafted the initiative's language, managed campaign consultants, developed a strong base of supporters and coalition members, executed an effective social media campaign, provided legal and reporting assistance and managed a budget of $30 million dollars. For more information on development of ballot initiatives contact Joe Caves at email@example.com.
CSG specializes in developing and coordinating coalitions to accomplish policy goals. In 2014 CSG worked with Sonoma County Water Agency to manage the Water Bond Coalition, a network of more than 40 cities, counties, special districts and non-profit organizations. Advocated for funding in the 2014 water bond that would help meet the unique challenges faced by California’s northern and coastal communities related to water supply, water quality, groundwater, water reuse and water recycling, flood protection, stormwater management and ecosystem restoration. This included providing timely information to coalition members on legislative activity, development of coalition advocacy materials, advising coalition members on messaging and organizing a coalition advocacy day in the capitol. For more information on water policy contact Cynthia Vitale at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CSG has a long history of being at the forefront of designing California’s clean energy and climate policies. CSG helped pass the original AB 32 2006 by Assemblymember Fran Pavley which has successfully capped California’s GHG emissions at 1990 levels. Additionally, CSG lead the effort to defend AB 32 at the ballot box against the industry-backed Proposition 23 to overturn it. CSG is continuing its leadership on clean energy by working to extend the GHG emission cap through 2050, increase the share of renewable energy and expand the use of demand response, energy efficiency and distributed generation to integrate renewables in to the electricity grid. For more information on clean energy legislation contact Mark Fenstermaker at email@example.com.
Successfully advocated in the state budget process for additional state funding to help protect California's fish and wildlife populations affected by drought conditions. Amended state law to streamline the permitting process for land owners who want to improve or restore habitat for fish and wildlife (AB 2193). For more information on fish and wildlife policy contact Mark Fenstermaker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CSG now provides federal consulting services for clients to improve relationships with Congressional representatives and agencies, secure federal funding, and impact joint federal/state/regional efforts. CSG offers strong connections to California’s Congressional delegation, including key policy-makers and appropriators in the United States House and Senate. CSG provides clients direct engagement with federal agencies. Key focus areas include: federal policy and appropriation issues including Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), and the Farm Bill. CSG’s federal practice is led by Senior Policy Advisors Mark Smith and Graham Chisholm, who bring decades of strategic experience on federal policies and funding programs. For more information on federal services contact Mark Smith at email@example.com or Graham Chisholm at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Principal and Founder
Joe is an attorney and registered lobbyist in California specializing in environmental and natural resources law and policy. He served in the California State Legislature for more than a decade as a committee consultant and legislative staff director. Joe has extensive experience negotiating, drafting and lobbying legislation, and working the state budget. In addition, he specializes in developing public funding sources and crafting political strategies to advance environmental and natural resource protection. Joe was the principal author of Propositions 50 and 84, and was also instrumental in the development of Propositions 12, 13 and 40. He has expertise in a wide array of natural resources areas including land use, water policy, land conservation, coastal protection, CEQA, climate change, and forestry. He is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara and of Hastings College of the Law. He is a member of the Environmental Law Section of the California State Bar Association. For more information on long-term political strategies to advance environmental policy contact Joe Caves at email@example.com.
Director of Conservation Programs
Tasha specializes in the development and implementation of strategies for funding multi-million dollar natural resources projects. In this capacity, Tasha works with clients and state agencies to help facilitate the project funding process. In addition to her exceptional skills as a public funding strategist, she also handles all aspects of client management including priority setting, project management, reporting, and contracts. She provides consulting assistance to clients related to funding program requirements and procedures. She assists clients with grant proposal development and submission. Tasha has worked in the environmental consulting field for more than 20 years and prior to joining CSG, served the Toxics Assessment Group as manager and project assistant. She is a graduate from the California State University, Sacramento with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. For more information on conservation funding programs contact Tasha Newman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark advocates on behalf of CSG clients in the areas of the state budget, land and habitat conservation, local government, renewable energy and climate change. He specializes in identifying opportunities in the state budget and legislative processes that help secure millions of dollars in program and project funding for conservation efforts. Most recently, he developed coalitions to advocate in the state budget for the creation of a local government program funded by cap-and-trade and focused on reducing greenhouse gases. In addition, Mark was the lead consultant on AB 2188, legislation that streamlines permitting processes for solar energy projects, and AB 2193, legislation that streamlines the permitting processes for habitat restoration projects. Mark is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a B.A. in Political Science. For more information on the state budget or climate, energy and conservation policy contact Mark Fenstermaker at email@example.com.
Cynthia works with clients to achieve their legislative and administrative priorities related to water and land conservation policy. She represented CSG clients in the development, drafting, and successful campaign in support of Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion water bond on the November 2014 ballot. She also has experience with coalition building and management, strategic planning projects with individual clients, campaign management and planning and executing legislative advocacy events at the state capitol. Cynthia received a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations, with an emphasis on Global Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, from the University of California at Davis. For more information on water policy contact Cynthia Vitale at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alfredo works with clients to develop successful legislative and regulatory strategies to achieve their policy goals. Previously, Alfredo served as Assemblymember Mark Stone’s primary staff for the Committee on Public Safety and the Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, where he provided analysis and recommendations on legislation. Alfredo organized hearings for the Select Committee on Coastal Protection focused on ocean threats, the impacts of seawater desalination on marine ecosystems, offshore oil well stimulation and fracking, marine debris and its abatement and coastal access to under-served communities. During his tenure with the Assemblymember, Alfredo shepherded legislation in a wide variety of issue areas including: providing a funding mechanism for outdoor education to reach under-served students in park poor communities; establishing and expanding California’s first earned income tax credit for the working poor; reducing plastic pollution by specifically targeting cellulose acetate cigarette filters; and providing reliable access to broadband internet for all Californians. Alfredo earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social-Cultural Anthropology from the University of California at Davis.
Senior Policy Advisor
Graham Chisholm brings more than 20 years of experience working in executive and leadership positions in the land and water conservation movement. He works assisting a range of clients on conservation policy, complex land and water conservation projects, avoiding conflicts over environmental issues, renewable energy, land-use, strategic planning, securing private and public funding for conservation and supporting efforts to diversify the conservation movement. He has served as Executive Director with The Nature Conservancy (California and Nevada Programs) and Audubon California. He was a lead architect of the Tejon Ranch Conservation and Land-Use Agreement, an innovative settlement that protected over 240,000 acres. Graham served on the Executive Committee for the Proposition 84 campaign. He has led large organizations to successful results and created small and effective non-profits, and has a strong appreciation for strategic partnerships. He served as an assistant to U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey (Nebraska) in Washington D.C. Chisholm holds a BA in Political Science from Creighton University, and a MA and PhD in Political Science from the University of California Berkeley. To discuss conservation strategy projects and policy contact Graham at email@example.com.
Senior Policy Advisor
Mark has an extensive background in California state and federal policy and politics, including over 14 years of experience in California land use, conservation and water issues. Prior to joining CSG, Mark was the Director of Public Policy for Ducks Unlimited, a national wetlands conservation and sportsmen’s organization. At Ducks Unlimited, Mark covered a territory of nine Western states and coordinated state and federal policy relative to Western region priorities. Mark was also instrumentally involved in the successful passage of Proposition 1, California’s $7.5 billion water bond. After bond passage, Mark served as an appointed member of the California Water Commission’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee on Proposition 1 bond implementation. Prior to Ducks Unlimited, Mark served a registered lobbyist in California for a variety of clients, with a focus on transportation and water infrastructure, land use and contracting. Mark previously served as a Legislative Director in the California Senate and Assembly. Mark received his MBA and B.S. from the University of California, Davis, and serves on the faculty of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. Mark is also a graduate of the California Water Foundation’s Water Leader program, and Sacramento Metro Chamber’s Leadership Sacramento program. For more information, contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jaymee provides support to the water and conservation teams at CSG. She is primarily focused on state funding and legislative assistance. Before joining CSG, Jaymee worked at several environmental justice non-profit organizations in the Bay Area including Literacy for Environmental Justice, where she oversaw their youth program designed to empower at-risk youth in South San Francisco, and Communities for a Better Environment, where she worked on community outreach efforts with regards to waste in Oakland. Jaymee graduated from the University of California at Davis with a Bachelors of Arts in International Relations with an emphasis on Global Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, and a Minor in Philosophy.
Kelly is responsible for all business operations of Conservation Strategy Group, including human resources, financial management and contract coordination. She also manages CSG’s work on statewide campaigns, including establishing campaign committees, overseeing campaign finance reporting and coalition management. Kelly has played an essential role in Defeating Proposition 23 in 2010, and the successful passages of Proposition 39 in 2012, and Proposition 1 in 2014. Prior to joining Conservation Strategy Group, Kelly worked for the California State Legislature for five years in the Office of Assemblymember Dave Jones and the City of Sacramento City Council. She has a degree from California State University Sacramento. For more information on political campaign management contact Kelly Solov at email@example.com.
Camille ensures that the day-to-day needs for all CSG clients and staff are met. This includes assisting Principal and Founder Joseph Caves, general administrative support and contract coordination. Camille also serves as CSG's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) Coordinator, assisting clients with quarterly FPPC filings and registration. Camille has extensive experience in scheduling, event coordination, and logistics management. Prior to joining CSG, Camille worked for a political fundraising firm in Sacramento. Camille is graduate of Humboldt State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics. For more information, contact Camille Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conservation Strategy Group focuses on long-term political and funding strategies for clients from inception to implementation. We are eager to hear about your project.
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