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Policy Solutions for a Greener California


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.

About CSG


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.

What We Do


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




Conservation Funding Programs


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

Campaign Management


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

Ballot Initiatives


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

Water Bond Coalition


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

Clean Energy Legislation


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

Fish and Wildlife Protection


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

Federal Consulting & Advocacy


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 or Graham Chisholm at .



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.

  • 1100 11th St., Ste 200
  • Sacramento
  • CA 95814
  • 916.558.1516
  • Fax 916.553.3071

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