Joanne Kerbavaz

Joanne Kerbavaz, Senior Environment
Scientist, State of California

Joanne Kerbavaz (ker•BA•vaz) has been essential to spreading a broader understanding of the importance of the environmental issues and the urgency of addressing them. In the past year, her insights have been sought and shared by media ranging from the Voice of America and UK’s The Guardian to the New York Times, CBS News, and National Public Radio.

Kerbavaz is a Senior Environmental Scientist for the State of California, based in Half Moon Bay. For decades she has built a solid reputation for her expertise on the Coastside ecosystems. That knowledge, and her ability to clearly articulate her thoughts, made her a go-to source for leading news media. A quick Google search will find her explanations, concerns, and optimism for the future published in The China Post of Taiwan and the New Delhi Times.

Butano State Park

An October 2020 San Francisco Chronicle piece by Tom Stienstra reported Kerbavaz’s damage survey and optimism for Butano State Park, one of the parks supported by Coastside State Parks Association. She noted that while the fire destroyed the water system of the redwood-populated campground, the campground itself was largely preserved. The fire’s heat triggered the opening of knobcone pine cones, giving them “a huge advantage now to reproduce from seeds on the bare ground.”  Since then, the park has partly re-opened with parking areas, a picnic area, and six hiking trails ( The water systems, campgrounds, visitors center, and interpretive programs remain closed.

Coastside State Parks Association has previously supported Butano State Park’s docent program, trails crew, interpretive signage, and bridge reconstruction. Please consider donating to CSPA as we plan support for the recovery and improvement of Butano, Año Nuevo, and all of our 15 Coastside state parks and beaches.

Kerbavaz, The Media, and Wildfire Recovery Funding

Joanne describing how fires were fought
and nature regenerates the forest.

News websites and print papers worldwide have quoted Kerbavaz’ wildfire damage assessments, “The biggest loss is the human side. This park is not going to be the same place that I saw as a little girl,” invariably followed by expressions of optimism, “But as an ecologist, part of me is thrilled by the opportunity to watch how the redwood forest recovers” (, 6/4/2021). The leading news sources that quoted Kerbavaz have all supplemented the stories with dramatic photographs of CZU Lightning Fire destruction as well as uplifting images of new growth. We believe that the widespread reporting of Kerbavaz’s assessments and optimism have been critical to gaining support for wildfire recovery funding. As a result, the State of California has allocated —$217 million for Wildfire Restoration, “for planning, removal of remaining post-fire hazards, and rebuilding the parks in a manner that reflects the best science to ensure these parks are more climate-resilient, while also addressing access and equity issues.” (