San Francisco Environment Department

San Francisco Biodiversity Guidelines

The intent of these guidelines (PDF) is to respond to our unprecedented global biodiversity crisis as well as existing local, State, National and international biodiversity plans and policies, and thus to direct project managers to maximize opportunities to bring biodiversity into the built environment.

Currently, the guidelines are required to be followed by municipal construction projects as stated in Chapter 7 of the San Francisco Environment Code, the Municipal Green Building Code.

For municipal projects with landscaping, these guidelines apply to projects proposing new landscapes as well as existing ones that are affected by a project. Since our municipal (City-owned) landscapes are a complex mosaic, settings do exist – including certain historic and cultural landscapes, certain specialty gardens, narrow sidewalks, active recreational landscapes – where some of the guidelines may not apply.

For private sector projects that have to comply with the Green Landscaping Ordinance, the Water Efficient Irrigation Ordinance, the Better Roofs Ordinance, and/or the Stormwater Ordinance, those projects should consider complying with section 1 (Wildlife and Plants) of the biodiversity guidelines (in addition to the other sections).

Project managers should strive to create the best product to help restore local nature and biodiversity everywhere we can in San Francisco.

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