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Beautiful. Sustainable. Sonoma.

Tolay Lake Regional Park

Sonoma Ecology Center works to address challenges related to water supply and quality, open space, rural character, biodiversity, energy, climate change, and a better quality of life for all residents.

Since 1990, we’ve worked to increase appreciation and stewardship of Sonoma Valley’s natural heritage and create measurable benefits in areas of land, water, climate change and biodiversity.


We envision a future where people, land, water, and wildlife thrive.


Our mission is to work with our community to identify and lead actions that achieve and sustain ecological health in Sonoma Valley.


We embrace and practice the following values in order to achieve our vision:

Education: Sharing science-based information equips people to make the best decisions for themselves and the earth. We provide education programs for youth, teens, and adults to support an informed and empowered community.

Stewardship: Every action counts. Individual participation is essential to protect and restore our natural resources. We engage community members and other organizations as partners in our work.

Collaborate: Most problems have common-ground solutions that can be discovered through open discussion and innovation. We strive to work with all stakeholders—including residents, government, agriculture, academia, and business—to help solve our community’s complex problems.

Respond to Change: We are an alert and agile organization, recognizing and responding to the evolving opportunities and needs of Sonoma Valley and the world beyond.

Ecological Foundations: We value ecosystems, and the biodiversity and human systems they support. We are inspired by the beauty of Sonoma Valley. We work to protect and restore native species and habitats of our region for future generations.

Science-based: Watershed management actions should be informed by science and local empirical data. We conduct environmental monitoring to inform local and regional decisions. Adaptive management improves our effectiveness over time.

Sustainability: Economic vitality rests on a foundation of social well-being, which in turn rests on a foundation of ecological health. We seek multi-benefit solutions to the environmental, social, and economic challenges facing our community.

Lead by Example: We learn from others, and create and share models, techniques, and tools that others can use.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: All people benefit from the beauty and services provided by the environment around us. We know these benefits have been unfairly distributed in the past, and still are today. All people should feel connected to and have access to the natural world around us, be empowered to act, to benefit from our work, and be protected from climate threats and natural hazards.

Our programs include

  1. Research to understand the condition of Sonoma Valley and the Sonoma Creek watershed, which informs projects and priorities for the ecological health of the region.
  2. Education to support sustainable practices and create future leadership for Sonoma Valley.
  3. Restoration to repair damage to waterways, natural habitats, and publicly accessible open spaces.
  4. Preservation to protect our natural heritage and public lands.
  5. Data & Mapping (GIS) Services using technology to manage and share environmental information for greater efficacy and impact.

What’s important about Sonoma Valley?

Sonoma Valley is home to amazing variety of species living in a small space. As many as a quarter of California’s species exist in this compact area, a place that comprises only a tenth of 1% of California’s entire land area! Since the Valley is mostly privately owned over thousands of parcels, it needs all of us to be good stewards to sustain this amazing legacy for the future. Our valley is also a watershed–a basic unit around which life on earth is organized. It’s also economically and socially diverse. In short, it offers a lot of what other places offer in a small, human scale valley. It’s a place that may be just the right size to get important things done together. And as we learn more about how to take care of our special place, we may help others do the same in theirs. Please join us!

For more on our activities and successes, see the past 30 Years In Milestones.

Sonoma Ecology Center does its work on the traditional territories of the Wappo, Miwok, and Pomo peoples, who have stewarded this land for generations.